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Sekiro no Shibusa

Something about Sekiro makes it seem particularly Japanese. You probably haven’t heard it used before, but there’s actually a term for this - shibusa.

The concept of shibusa frequently comes up in conversations about Japanese culture. The term is tough to translate, but it refers to a sort of subtlety which strikes the perfect balance between the opposing principles of simplicity and complexity. (The term literally means “austere elegance,” but it’s almost always left untranslated). Situated somewhere in the middle ground between style and substance, the best example of shibusa would have to be Honami Koetsu’s pottery. While it’s frugal in form, his pottery is never plain. There’s a wealth of depth and detail in its decoration, but his work is far from flashy. Everything is just right.

The developer behind Sekiro, FromSoftware, imbued every aspect of the game with a strong sense of shibusa. This comes through in its mechanics, aesthetics, and story.

The concept of shibusa is clearl…

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