Komorebi : Memories of the Cambrian Period》

Mokuhanga (Woodblock Printing), 2021–

Why do we feel comfortable when we see 'Komorebi ' the sunlight filters through the trees? The "1/f fluctuation" has been famous research on comfort for a long time, but I wanted to add another perspective to it, so I created this work.

The Paleozoic Era (575 to 250 million years ago), long before the birth of the dinosaurs. In the Paleozoic era, all living things, including our ancestors, still existed in the sea. The Cambrian period in the early Paleozoic era is known as the "Cambrian Explosion," when most of the animal phyla we see today appeared at once.

Why did so many forms of life emerge during the Cambrian period? One theory is that the Cambrian period was the first time life had eyes and that this was the catalyst for the explosion of life and its evolution ('The Light-Switch Hypothesis').

Date of appearance of the trilobite eye by Euan Clarkson. Andrew Parker,眼の誕生ーーカンブリア紀大進化の謎を解く,p281

According to Andrew PARKER, a British zoologist in the field of biomimetics, unlike the gradual evolution of other stimulus receptors such as hearing and smell, there is a strong possibility that we made a quantum leap from "invisible" to "visible" after the Cambrian period.

Compared to other sensory organs, vision is likely to have evolved in a single step. Andrew Parker,眼の誕生ーーカンブリア紀大進化の謎を解く, p356

If these theories are true, then our ancestors must have seen the sunlight coming in between the waves, and the caustics of light and shade that the swaying waves created on the seafloor.

komorebi in the sea
An image of what an animal that acquired eyes in the Cambrian era would have seen. Andrew Parker,眼の誕生ーーカンブリア紀大進化の謎を解く, p340-341

I would like to move on to my pet theory that the reason why people today feel comfortable when they see the sun shining through the trees is that 'Komorebi ' is similar to what we saw in the sea during the Cambrian period when life acquired eyes.

According to the Japanese anatomist and embryologist MIKI Shigeo, there are similarities between the Paleozoic egg that lived in the sea and the implanted egg of the Cenozoic era, and he states that human egg cells have an earth-historical life memory.

In the Paleozoic era, seawater entered the egg, but in the Cenozoic era, amniotic fluid plays a role instead of seawater. Shigeo Miki,胎児の世界, p65

If the ultra-small cassette tape called DNA has the scene of when we first acquired our eyes engraved on it like an original landscape, it is no wonder that we feel nostalgia and familiarity when we see 'Komorebi ' .   -Translated with DeepL

Andrew PARKER『目の誕生ーーカンブリア紀大進化の謎を解く』 草思社, 2006
MIKI Shigeo『胎児の世界 人類の生命記憶』中央公論新社, 1983


-This is the word the Japanese have for when sunlight filters through the trees ‒ the interplay between the light and
the leaves.
― Ella Frances Sanders, 11 Untranslatable Words From Other Cultures

-This word refers to the sunlight shining through the leaves of trees, creating a sort of dance between the light and the
― OxfordBlog, 15 Japanese words that English needs

Mokuhanga, Water-based woodblock printing, 2021
Hatsu Katsuo, HIDAKA-WASHI
Gouache“IRODORI”, Holbein
edition: 1/1
paper size: 535x420mm
image size: 430x350mm
number of blocks: 3
number of colors: 5
number of passes: 5
Year Completed: 2021 July