Japan Society of Fairfield County
Calligraphy at Byram Library, March 18, 2006

Calligraphy Class

On a bright crisp Saturday morning, a dozen participants began their study of calligraphy by writing the Kanji character for “one”. This event was led by the Japan Society of Fairfield County and its vice president, Mr. Harry Sakamaki, on March 18, 2006, as requested by Mr. Miguel Garcia-Colon, Branch Librarian of Byram Shubert Library in Greenwich.

After an opening speech by Miguel, Harry introduced our members and made a brief presentation on the history of calligraphy and the differences across East Asia. Calligraphy originated in China where it is called 書法 (hand-writing method). Koreans call it 書芸 (hand-writing art) and the Japanese call it 書道 (hand-writing way to technical, physical, and spiritual mastery).
Our calligraphy instructor was Ms. Sanae Asai, a new member of JSFC. Ms. Asai graduated from Meiji University in Tokyo with a major in business and commerce. Her fascination with Japanese calligraphy began in her youth and has led to awards at calligraphy competitions. She holds a Japanese teaching license and was given the pseudonym “Suiho” by her teacher, a master calligraphy instructor. Ms. Hiromi Kubo from JHC Foundation decorated the class room with Japanese calligraphy, paper umbrellas, kites, etc. Mr. & Mrs. Uezumi and Ms. Naomi Shima also helped participants practice calligraphy.

The JSFC team prepared the calligraphy equipment: brushes ( / fude), black ink (墨汁 / bokujyu), ink stone ( / suzuri), and Japanese paper (半紙 / hanshi). For most participants, this was their first attempt at calligraphy.

kanji mother Ms. Asai explained the equipment and how Japanese enjoy calligraphy. She asked participants to continue by writing (mother), (love), and (spring). It was quite interesting to see that the participants had unique styles; some strictly followed the original while others added their own artistic flourishes. Each participant picked their best example and pasted it onto a board with a sample of origami, Japanese paper folding. The participants not only gained the basic techniques of calligraphy, but also an appreciation of its profoundness.

We are looking forward to additional calligraphy programs.

Harry Sakamaki
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