Art of brush and ink
Shodo is an art of expressing the beauty of letters on paper using a brush and ink. During the Showa era (1926-1989), shodo established itself as a form of modern art. Various new techniques were developed and shodo performance artists increased in number. In the following interview, Kyoto-based calligrapher Tomoko Kawao offers her personal view of shodo:
1. History of shodo
Shodo was introduced from China with Buddhism and kanji (Chinese characters). There have been many shodo superstars in China. I wanted to learn the classics before moving on to explore my own style.
2. Live performance
Shodo shouldn’t be taken so seriously as some sort of discipline for writing words on hanging scrolls. It can be something more accessible. Just like our lives, paper has one life. Once you set the tip of your brush on a sheet of paper, there’s no turning back. The message of shodo is to enjoy life to the fullest. That’s what I like about it. That’s what I want to tell people.
3. Latest work
We will not be the same person tomorrow as we are today, in our cells and all. I wish to cherish every moment, so I chose the phrase shogyo mujo (literally, “Nothing remains the same.”).