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The Pursuit of Pleasure Beyond Tradition and Style


A very attractive and interesting calligraphy event was held in Asakusa, Tokyo, one of the most famous places in Japan, from July 27th to the 29th, 2012. The event was the 11th Annual Calligraphy Exhibition by “Yūyū”, (Calligraphy friends from all over Japan). As it states in its name, there were works presented by people who love calligraphy across Japan (and we had a British friend too!).

This exhibition consisted of works of calligraphers which expanded beyond their styles. The concept of the group, led by Master Yamada Shūya (山田修也, やまだしゅうや) from Niigata Prefecture, was to pursue the theme and exhibit works of “what one wants to express.”

There were many works, each representing its own world. The works were done by calligraphers ranging in age from 8 years old to their 50s, all expressing themselves regardless of their age and their calligraphy career and styles. ・

The works ranged from the powerful and youthfully ebullient to a work expressing the sending of encouragement to a son about to reach the age of adulthood, to works of favorite words, to a work with a special frame, to a work honoring the memory of a mother, to a work which was his or her first piece, and more.

I could fully feel the depth and meaningfulness of this exhibition.

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First, let me introduce the work with a special frame.

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Next, let me introduce some works which express thoughts for the calligraphers families.

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Here is a work which uses both sumi-e and calligraphy.

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Here is one from England.

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On July 28th there was a live demonstration of calligraphy. Some masters wrote guests’ favorite words on Japanese paper fans. The guests chose their favorite words, such as the names of their children, personal mottos, or cool words that helped us to forget about the heat. The venue was filled with smiles of those who received a fan with their favorite words to keep.

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In the next article we will present an interview with Master Yamada Shūya, leader of this event and the group. Stay tuned!

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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.

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