Kana Shodo

In Hitsuzendo, the way of Zen-calligraphy I teach, and most other Japanese calligraphy, Kanji (Chinese characters) are written. It is worth noting that in Japan a special set of characters, the Kana, were derived from the Kanji for a phonetic transcription of mainly poems and love-letters, written by female court nobles.

The other day I attended a vernissage in Düsseldorf, where the Japanese Kana Artist Kaoru Akagawa displayed some of her works (also shown on her webpage).

irohaThere is much beauty and sublimity in Kana, so I wonder if that way of writing, which was also used to compose ancient novels like the Tale of Genji (源氏物語) and the Pillow Book (枕草子), isn’t also suitable for Zen Calligraphy. The poet, calligrapher and Zen Monk Ryokan once wrote some Kana for an illiterate farmer, which later became a most famous piece of art: いろは (I-RO-HA, as much as A-B-C in Latin alphabet).

Maybe we will practise いろは in the next seminar …

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