I’ve written before on my fascination with words with no direct translation in english.
Kamiwaza, a japanese word, is another one of these. I asked my friend to describe what it means and she said it’s “something only god can do”. Here’s a longer explanation from Kenji Tokitsu’s book, The Katas: The Meaning behind the Movements:
“In each domain of traditional Japanese art, the expression kamiwaza, meaning ‘technique’ (waza) of the ‘god’ (kami), refers to a technique that seems perfect, or is at least close to perfection. This term expresses both admiration for and fear of the technician. He practices the art in a way that is familiar because the art is widespread, but at the same time, in a way that is inaccessible because the difference in level makes it seem unattainable. The simple fact of putting together the two words ‘god’ and ‘technique’ already seems to be an explicit indication.”
Lebron James playing basketball is Kamiwaza, Miles Davis playing the trumpet is kamiwaza, Thomas Keller cooking a dish is kamiwaza.
When you think of Kamiwaza, whose the first person that comes to mind?