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Everything You Need To Know About The Japanese Tradition Of “Dou”

Masters devote their entire lives to the practice of dou. Learn about it from ANA, an airline devoted to sharing the inspiration of Japan.

ANA is a Japanese airline dedicated to enriching people’s lives by connecting them to the world and giving them once-in-a-lifetime moments that excite and inspire.

When the 2011 earthquake and tsunami led to a decrease in visitors to Japan, ANA created a project called Is Japan Cool? (spoiler: it totally is) to help promote Japan’s unique destinations and cultures.

As part of Is Japan Cool?, ANA has now launched a new project introducing the tradition of dou.

With visitors to Japan now reaching an all-time high, Is Japan Cool? has launched a new project focusing on the ancient tradition of dou, with the aim of providing a deeper understanding of the nuances of Japanese culture and way of life.

The project introduces dou via nine masters who have each attained excellence in martial arts, fine arts, or performing arts.

It uses cutting-edge data viz and interactive demos in an attempt to get across what is really an intangible “way of life” — highly valued in traditional Japanese culture — hereafter referred to as dou.

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Here you can learn more about dou and watch interviews and 4D demonstrations of each master's practice — which use data to give form to some of the intangible cultural assets of Japan.

So what even is dou?

The philosophy of dou begins and ends with respect.

In any competition, it's important to remember that without your opponent, there is no competition.

Meticulous attention and dedication to a craft — for your entire life — is necessary but will only get you so far.

There is a consistent pursuit of beauty in one's art.

A master understands that the way she lives her life is always reflected in her performance.

Self-discipline is everything.

Great joy and beauty can be achieved through minimalism and grace of movement.

Cooperation is essential both with other people and between your own body and spirit.

And so is having a deep awareness of the beauty in the space around you...

Always sincere, always humble, and always polite.

That is the dou way, and it's the ANA promise.