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The 11th Annual “Yū yū Calligraphy Exhibition (calligraphy friends from all over Japan).

Dates: July 27th (Fri) to July 29th (Sun), 2012
Hours: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm (4:00 pm on the 29th)
Place: Asakusa Public Hall
   1-38-6 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Open to the public free of charge
Access: 5 minute walk from Asakusa Station

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第11回 全国書の仲間展「佑友」

“Yū yū (佑友)”, a calligraphy organization of people from all over Japan, is presenting its 11th annual exhibition. Led by Master Shuuya Yamada, the group was started 10 years ago with 40 budding calligraphers ranging in age from their 20s to their 40s. One of the Chinese characters in the name of our group “佑” means “to help”, therefore, “佑友” means “to help (佑) friends (友)”. “佑友” was established to improve our skills as calligraphers through friendly competition while helping each other.

Our first exhibition and subsequent ones were held in Omotesando, a lively neighbourhood appealing to the young. We presented calligraphy works that were easy and friendly to understand and read, written in “modern Japanese language”. There were many youthful works that were free-spirited, unusual and fresh. Usually a calligraphy exhibition consists of many works based upon old Chinese and Japanese poems and written in a very unreadable writing style for young people. Thus, young people often think that it is boring to go to the exhibitions unless they are familiar with calligraphy.

Because calligraphy is an art written in words with definite meanings, the person who views calligraphy works craves the ability to read what is written. As a group we are very aware of this and thus, we exhibit works that do not belong to any specific genre. We think of calligraphy as a language of the art of ink. Our work is readable to everyone, bringing a warm resonance to those who look. Our exhibition has a good reputation among young people.

The noteworthy thing about our organisation is that we do not stick to specific styles. Many Japanese calligraphy organisations are hierarchical, a world where there are only a few masters who are at the top and below them there are many many learners.

Our group, “Yū yū”, on the other hand, is like a concentric structure, with Master Yamada at the center. Since its inception, more calligraphers from different organisations and varied styles have joined us. Our focus is not to try to write the same characters as the masters do but to search for what we would like to express and how to express it. In this regard, I believe that our exhibition should be very interesting.

The organiser, Master Yamada, is originally from Niigata Prefecture. He studied calligraphy under Master Saisui Ishibashi. Subsequently, he has led a full life embracing calligraphy. His storied activities include being on the Judges Panel as a member of the Mainichi Shodou exhibition, being a representative of the Yuuiku Shodou Society, presiding over our group “Yū yū”, being a lecturer of calligraphy and handwriting at Ito Citizen’s college (Shizuoka Prefecture) and a Buddhist sutra lecturer at the Uehara Museum of Buddhist Art (sponsored by Taisho Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.), among others. He has also had more than 20 one-person exhibitions in Tokyo, Shizuoka, Niigata, Toyama, Kyoto, and Akita. Most of us joined him not only because we fell in love with Master Yamada’s works but also because we greatly respect his attitude of cherishing human relationships.

Yū yū, led by Master Yamada, has been presenting exhibitions annually, first in Omotesando and more recently in Asakusa, a Tokyo neighborhood famous since the Edo Period, site of famous temples, a delightful and festive area of historical interest.

As this, our 11th year exhibition is presented, we sincerely hope that you will come and enjoy works presented by calligraphers who truly love calligraphy.

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On Saturday, July 28th at 2 pm, we are going to present a calligraphy performance.
Summer in Tokyo is very hot, thus, we would like to present to you a Japanese fan. We will write your favourite words on a white fan on the spot and give it to you. You may enjoy our performance and keep it as a souvenir.

On Sunday, July 29th at 2 pm, Master Shuuya Yamada will view and present an appreciation of our work. Each calligrapher will comment on what they tried to express in their work and Master Yamada will explain further and comment about each work.

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Rona Conti

Rona Conti is a painter and calligrapher whose artwork is represented in numerous public, private and corporate collections and museums in the United States and internationally. English editor for Beyond Calligraphy, in 1999, she began studying Japanese calligraphy with (Mieko) Kobayashi Sensei of Gunma from whom she received her pen name (魂手恵奈). Invited to exhibit calligraphy at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art with the International Association of Calligraphers for the last five years, she received the “Work of Excellence" Prize three times. She was invited to demonstrate Japanese Calligraphy at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in 2009. Her handmade paper artwork is produced in New York City at Dieu Donne Papermill.

4 Comments

  1. Rona Conti on 24/07/2012 at 22:09

    Congratulations to Master Shuuya Yamada, Sakiko Yanigisawa san and all exhibitors to what will surely be a must see exhibition by a group formed around a wonderful premise of accessibility, education and passion for calligraphy. 

  2. Rona Conti on 24/07/2012 at 22:27

    Yanagisawa san, 

    Could you please explain or identify the four characters in your delightful poster for the event in order for readers in English to understand them. So many people find calligraphy to be inaccessible, but with just a little education and your fine intentions, many will be informed and eager to see more. 

    • Ponte_Ryuurui on 26/07/2012 at 07:08

      I reckon it reads 遊墨民旅, literally – fun with ink is people’s journey, but it may have a hidden meaning. 遊墨民 could be a name of a store or organisation.

  3. Sakiko Yanagisawa on 27/07/2012 at 14:21

     遊墨民族 is a play on words of “nomadic people(遊牧民族)”.
    墨’s sound is ”boku”, 牧’s sound is same sound “boku” in Japanese.
    We chanaged “boku” from “牧” to ”墨”, and express “freedom organisation” like  nomadic people.

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