Spreading World of Art
Japanese Calligraphy is recognized as a high art, and many exhibitions and solo shows are held in- and outside of Japan. There are organizations that carry out promotional activities so that calligraphy is learned not only in Japan but also by people overseas.
However, calligraphy not only exists in this traditional style inherited from ancient times. It is also incorporated into a variety of applications, such as clothing and advertisement, as a modern art form that expresses unique strength and energy with a brush.
"E Kanji" work expressing a mixture of the Kanji "Ai" and the corresponding English word "Love" © KIYO IMAIZUMI
Another style of such modern calligraphy is "E Kanji," which has an amusing design created by combining Kanji and letters in the English alphabet. The distinctive feature of E Kanji is that its meaning can be recognized at a glance even by foreigners, through a scheme of combining alphabets within the kanji font to express the same meaning as a certain kanji. Characters with momentum as if leaping forward, as well as characters written with soft and gentle expression, burst into view like a picture.
Students practicing their calligraphy performance with a large brush (Cooperation with Tokyo SOKA Senior High School)
Traditionally, calligraphy is written in a quiet room while calming the mind. Recently, however, calligraphy performances are gaining popularity among children and young people. At these performances, on stage or at a street corner, a calligraphy work is completed vibrantly while dancing to music. The "Shodo Performance Koshien," a competition participated by high school calligraphy club members, is held every summer. In 2010, a movie titled "Shodo Girls" was released, depicting the story of high school students hosting the event for the first time.
Work made by students at the "Shodo Performance Koshien" (Provided by Tokyo SOKA Senior High School)
Team of elementary school students undertaking a calligraphy performance at an event (Provided by Ichijyukai, Souryu Koshio)
In this competition, 20 teams selected from preliminary rounds held all around Japan each produce a single piece of work with the dynamic strokes of a large brush, on an extensive sheet of paper spanning 4 meters in length and 6 meters in width. It is a unique tournament that is based not only on the beauty of the work, but also the performance of the students such as their dance to music. These cool calligraphy works shown by such performance teams have won the admiration of children and, in recent years, performance teams joined by elementary and junior high school students are also vigorously carrying out activities.
Calligraphy, rooted in Japanese culture in various styles, is nurturing the spiritual and physical wellbeing of children.