Kobo does not choose a brush

Kobo Daishi is a most founders Japanese calligraphy.

“Kobo does not choose a brush” is one of the famous stories of Kobo Daishi. It is said that Mr. Kobo will write any character brilliantly regardless of the brush, and it is generally used to mean that “a master has an skill that is not influenced by tools”.

People who not enough learn blame easily the tools quality and others, so it seems to be often used as a word to warn them about that.

I have a bitter experience myself.

I will never forget it

A dexterous person is good at imitating a model and can easily “make it nice “. I was a disciple like “the sample”. My teacher said to me often “you are dexterous”. The words, It is looks like a Praise but also despise.( laugh )

My grades were good, my colleagues were interested in me, and I was proud of myself. One day, when I had my teacher correct it, I blamed the brush only once. Then the teacher said, “Bring your brush,” and he wrote a wonderful letter in front of me with that brush.

Speaking of embarrassment at that time … I will never forget it.

After that, I firmly vowed, “Never blame the tools again!”. It went a little too far, I didn’t change my brush until the teacher pointed out, and my teacher gave me a ink-stone that he made it by himself, because I used a chipped ink-stone very long time.( laugh )

As a result, I can now write with most tools. Now that I’ve done that, I’ve become very interested in the taste and orientation of tools.

The meaning of polishing your skills

There are actually good and bad tools. Brushes that are mass-produced and whose brush tips are not aligned. It may be interesting to use for avant-garde paintings that do not require a brush tip, but it may not be suitable for making penmanship, calligraphy works, or learning SHO. But that’s it.

I think that polishing your skills means having diversity.

When a person encounters a defect, he or she first wants to blame the other person’s fault. I think it can’t be helped because it come from one of the self-defense. However, if I can find my own improvement points through the defects, I’m sure there will be better and also fun things to do, in learning calligraphy and also for other .

By the way, the real point of “Kobo does not choose a brush” is that “Mr. Kobo knows which brush is suitable for which character and immediately selects a brush and writes the character nicely ,In the eyes of an amateur, he seemed to be able to write without choosing a brush.”

The scenery you can see from the top of a high mountain cannot be seen from the foot of the mountain (laughs).

Struggle to make works for the Kakizome-exhibition

Around November every year, you will receive a text for the next KAKIZOME exhibition. Each person decide which model will challenge and practice. For the exhibition held in the latter half of February, it is usually finished in January.

The Kakizome-exhibition once a year is an opportunity to write big letters on big paper with a big brush. And also it will to check the progress of the year with both oneself and others. Everyone is looking forward to do it. So originally, I want to they finish it with a good practice and with satisfie.

under the Lockdown

At the end of 2020, there was a concern about delivery during a severe lockdown, so we had to finish the Kakizome work in December and shipped to Japan.

In addition to being busy during the Christmas season, also there is a limit to the number of people in the classroom, so we made a schedule with people who come to the classroom and practice on Skype.

2021 was calm until around November, and based on the delivery information obtained at that time, I planned to finish of the works of Kakizome in January as usual. Even if the number of infected Omicron strains is increasing, if I was careful that there would not be such a strong limit as far as I heard the actual damage information … Unexpectedly, a sudden severe lockdown in December! Extended even after the year-end and New Year holidays.

When I called DHL and confirmed that “the shipping fee is high, but it seems to arrive in about a week”, the delivery schedule is currently one week to one month (!) And the shipping fee is about three times that of Post.nl!

I can talk with everyone if it arrives in 2 weeks, but I can’t rely on it.

It was January 4, 2022 that I learned of that fact. The first lesson is Friday the 7th.

Hard decision of the limit

Everyone is looking forward to “finishing it nicely” and I am also looking forward to it. However, I was worried enough to say “what is the highest priority”, and I decided that “it is essential to be in time for the exhibition”. The students heard during the New Year’s lessons that “everyone will basically finish the kakizome-works in today’s lesson.”

Oh … the reliable thing of everyone’s “I have no time to be upset!” !! (tears)

The seven people who scheduled of exhibit are skilled people at the Waran Mizukukikai, who have come to practice for a long time. The reason why I can decided to “pass through” like this is because I believed in them “skill”.



we could change the pinch to chance

Various things have created “unusual methods” in the corona whirlpool. For us , this time became a memorable Kakizome-exhibition that challenged “creating unprecedented speed works”.



About half a month after shipment, I was informed that the work had arrived safely at the Tokyo headquarters. And finally I could enjoy the meal.



Start writing

It started in 2022, happy new year.

This year, I plan to update my blog as well.

I hope you enjoy in this blog.

It’s like New Year’s Eve as usual, and it feels “strangely” new.

I have been practicing SHO since New Year’s Day this year.

Kakizome- exhibition

Every February, there is the first exhibition of KAKIZOME . It sponsored by the Nihon Shu-ji Gakkai . Students from the Waran Mizukukikai also participate. The teachers in each classroom often exhibit as supporting works that are not subject to judging. I also participate every year.

This time, I was late to start. So I gave up my JIUN and decided to “RINSHO” to my exhibit.

Rinsho and Jiun

Put simply,

“RINSHO” means “copy” . “Imitating a classic work or a masterpiece sincerely”.

“JIUN” is a character or work that you create yourself.

“RINSHO” is not only a technical improvement, but also a discipline that captures the author’s thoughts. There are many “things to see” and “things to notice”. It is an indispensable training method for learning SHODO.

JI-UN works tend to be “self-satisfied” and “selfish”, but by doing a “RINSHO”, you can reconfirm “what you want”, a really deep and endless “thing”. Discovery work “.

I used to finish the work (RINSHO) for the competition every month. But after the publication of the magazine stopped that I was subscribed, I was lazy. since that I wrote a RINSHO as a just study.

same example but different

I chose for the KAKIZOME- exhibition the SHO from the works of a master which published in the magazine . More than 10 years ago , when I still learned in Japan , Minamisawa- sensei made the example from same SHO for me. At first, I wrote directly from the works of “famous master” without looking at “it”, but I could not feel it. I was a little impatient, so it’s … not very fine.

I write a few sheets and look at the examples of Minamizawa-sensei side by side.

Then, I could understand “the work” surprisingly. The feeling that “the heart is in focus”.

I can hear Minamisawa-sensei’s voice from the example … Oh, I was really carefully raised… I feel crying.

SHO connected to …

The “calligraphy” seems to be connected to the deep part of the soul. Raising “calligraphy” with the help of a reliable person has a deep meaning more than ” just learning letters”. Now that I feel it even deeper. I want to see my teacher … (tears)

Now it’s my job to teach people, and I’m growing up with them. I would like to become a teacher who can leave a “view of the work” among the students. It was the New Year in 2022, I thought about it again.

Origin of the home exist in yourself.

The phrase of the tekst of the 行書(Gyosho-style) for adults in July is 家之本在身  “I e no moto wa mi ni aru ” ( Origin of the home exist in yourself).

This is an excerpt from Mencius’s “Minpon Setsu”. ( … perhaps ).

This book is based on the claim that “those who control the nation must respect the people and gain the will of the people.” This “people” doesn’t seem to be the general public, I though (laughs)

In normal ,the text for the adults of the Nihon Shu-ji Gakkai are excerpts from Chinese poetry. When we learn from the old and new wisdom each time, we make to think about the powerful words of the pioneer from long long time ago.

「家之本在身」

This is the last part of the section from “The origin of the world is in the country, the origin of the country is in the home, and the origin of the home is in the body “. It may be different from the intention of this book, which seems to be written for a monarch or a politician, but my impression from this word is “my way of being” in the current world situation.

The world is swayed by “viruses that can’t see the truth,” and there is sometimes controversy over the truth of each.

“If you want to talk about the nation, at first you must look back at yoursef.”

These words are important because of we are in such a chaotic time …I think.

Thanks again for Nihon Shuji Gakkai,

We will work hard where we can learn all together in the classroom ♪

exhibition of KAKIZOME 2021

Nihon Shuji Gakkai organized an exhibition of new year

The KAKIZOME exhibition organized by the NIHON-SHUJI-GAKKAI. Since 5 years ago, we have been exhibiting every year. At last , all of the works of my students at exhibition of 2021 is returned from Japan, so I would like to introduce it ♪

What is KAKIZOME ?

In Japan, it is customary to put the “HATSU” (mean ‘First time’) on your first times actions and things in the new year. When you go to say hello to God at the first times in new year, it call ” Hatsu Moude”. The first dream of new year is ” Hatsu Yume”, and if you laugh at first times, it is ” Hatsu Warai “. The word of “Hatsu” you may say also “Some/zome”. “Kaki zome” means ” you wrote it with a brush at the first times in the new year.”

This time, considering delivery to Japan, the Kakizome works of Mizukukikai will be finished in December and shipped in early January. It is ” Tenji-zome ” (Beginning of exhibition) rather than ” Kaki -zome ” (beginning of writing) (^o^). At the end of the year when everyone was busy, everyone worked hard to finish it.

photo from 2019

The venue of the Kakizome exhibition is the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum in Ueno, Tokyo.

It seems that more than 2000 people exhibit every year.

It is divided into each calligraphy school, and the works of Mizukukikai are well displayed. Always I ask the carry in and carry out of our works in Japan to the headquarters. I am grateful.

Seven people exhibited this year ♪

Some people tried the five-letters works. The difficulty level is gradually increasing.

笑門来福 warau kado niwa fuku kitaru [Fortune comes to the laughing gate : if you laughing , happiness will come to you ]. (楷書=kai-sho)、雪月風花 Setus getsu Fu Ka [ snow, moon, wind, flower : It mean beautiful landscape in four seasons, also mean the elegant life that you make a poem from that.](行書=gyo-sho)

笑門来福(楷書=Kai-sho)、新年好春色 Shin Nen Kou Shun Shoku [ It is a nice spring scenery in a good new year](草書=Sou-sho)

澄心静慮 Chou Shin Sei Ryo [Clear your mind and think deeply and quietly ] (草書=Sou-sho)、 花柳春全盛 Ka Ryu Haru Zen Sei [it is a landscape of spring field. A blossom bright, a willow become green, now is the top season of the spring] (楷書=Kai-sho)、雪月風花(行書=Gyo-sho)

Good news ‘ Award ‘

This time, Sachiko-san (Netherlands, left) received the “Specialty”, Else-san (Netherlands, right) received the “Recommendation Award”, and Lichih Lin -san (Taiwan, Central) received the “Tokyo Art and Culture Association Award”♪ wow!!

everyone started leaning from Hiragana

improved step by step every month

in the mean time

everyone became that they can well make a work with Kaisho, Gyousho, and Sousho.

Kanji ( Chinese character ) is familiar for Lichih-san , but

what nice that she got a reward.

Probably my teachers had same feeling when I sat in the school・・・maybe?

I remembered the time that they tried to make a best works

every one by one

during I watched them works.

everybody [ very very good job !! ]

Examiner of HAMAKOYA exhibition

It was honored, I got a chance the role of a examiner at the calligraphy exhibition of “HAMAKOYA” in Yokohama. It is a calligraphy school from calligrapher Mr. Shihou Fukui. He is a senior in both of music and calligraphy for my.

Next to the each works , there is an card it conveys the background of the works for the viewer. This card will tell you their opinion of the works, self-introduction from writer, and photographs of students in the calligraphy school . He has a profound affection, I feel.

About works of the exhibition

The works are almost half size ( Hansetsu ). There are writings as “I like cats” or “The enemy wait me in Honnou-ji ” and so on. Some calligraphy has some picture by he or her self draw it. Thar are some smile-faces between letters, torn things are laid out well and displayed. It looks like that you can hear the laughter of in the HAMAKOYA classroom. And also I got the impressing by the serious efforts to make the works with the free and relaxed calligraphy.

The HAMAKOYA Award was voted by the viewers. Friends of Shihou-sensei and calligraphers selects many other awards. I also sent the Waran Mizukuki-kai Award.

Waran Mizukuki-kai Award

All of the works are very energetic and interesting , so it is hard to choose the best one. After all , I sent the Waran Mizukuki-kai Award to the work of Mr. KIchi, who wrote “Kacho Fugetsu” (花鳥風月). I heard that he seems to be “disrespected by the girls because of his KIZA ( affectedly behavior) “. He must be very unique man. He wrote also at the top of the name ” I am a man who loves nature” … nice !! (laughs). It look like the wind is blowing on all over the his works, I like it ♪

I feel from the works that students learned ” penmanship” in his school. I got a opportunity to deep my understanding once again about to learn the ” basics “, that has been studied and inherited over a long history. And also it give me a chance of free thinking about SHO and impressesion. Once again, congratulations to Shihou-sensei for the success of the HAMAKOYA exhibition. I was glad to do, really . Thank you for your wonderful mind , calligraphy , and hard works.

( left ) Yumi, ( mid. ) Kou-shou-hi-sensei, ( right ) Shihou-Fukui- sensei

Someday , I want to do a exhibition with my students too…

The lesson in April

Unfortunately, lock down is going on still in April. So special lesson style of WARAN MIXUKUKI-KAI also same as last month that one student come to the classroom for lessons, and the rest take the lessons on Skype. I miss normal style of the lesson in the room with all ・・・

Fortunately, almost all of my students have more than two years experience of SHODO. Of course it is so different in normal lesson and with Skype lesson, but I hope that they can learn and practice. Kana-style ( wright with small brush) is difficult to correct only by the screen, so I asked everyone that they send to me them works of Kana-style after each lesson. We can find out some new way to learn in every situation.

I am grateful to my students those who want to continue SHODO-Lesson in such a special situation. So I will do my best to make an example it will make you want to continue the lesson of Shodo ♪

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