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Taito City’s Calligraphy Museum: The art of writing



2023.01.19 (Thu)

By Dan Lewis, long-term Japan resident & outdoor activity enthusiast.

Calligraphy, or shodō in Japanese, is an art form that has a long and rich history in Japanese culture. It is an important aspect of traditional Japanese aesthetics and has been highly valued as a cultural and artistic pursuit for centuries. At Taito City’s Calligraphy Museum, you can learn about Japanese calligraphy and its connection to Japanese culture.

The Calligraphy Museum displays cultural items and artworks related to Japanese and Chinese calligraphy. It also holds materials important to the history of calligraphy from ancient times to the present.

The museum was founded by Fusetsu Nakamura, a calligrapher, using his own collection. Nakamura was a significant figure in both Western-style painting and calligraphy during the Meiji, Taisho, and Showa eras. The museum was maintained by the Nakamura family for 60 years after its foundation in 1936, but was donated to Taito City in 1995 and reopened as the Taito City Calligraphy Museum in 2000.

On March 3, 353, Wáng Xīzhī, a Chinese calligrapher, politician, general and writer during the Jin dynasty and best known for his mastery of Chinese calligraphy, invited distinguished guests to a banquet at Lanting. Sitting on both sides of the river, they drank wine and composed poems as cups flowed down from the upper stream. The preface to a collection of poems written by Wáng Xīzhī at this time is the Preface to Lanting.

From the end of January to mid-March, in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the collaboration with the Tokyo National Museum, the Preface to Lanting Pavilion, Wáng Xīzhī’s masterpiece will be on display as well as other related calligraphic works.

A dance of ink and paper, Japanese calligraphy's artful caper -
Japanese calligraphy, a work of art, Beauty and meaning it imparts.

Each stroke conveys a message clear, Words of wisdom, love, or cheer.
A tradition steeped in history, Its cultural value, plain to see.

Come see the beautiful history of Japanese calligraphy today!

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