Graduate Summer School in Japanese Early-modern Palaeography

I had a series of lectures at Emmanuel college; university of Cambridge in the class of fourth Graduate Summer School in Japanese Early-modern Palaeography.

This was the third series of lectures for me at the summer school, but it was the first time I helped to put a Kimono on a lady! and this was more difficult for me.

There were 28 trainees from ten countries.

One of the trainees from Japan had to return half way through the curriculum, he said that he enjoyed the time he spent with us.

On a free day, we went sightseeing in Cambridge.

King’s College

Queens’ College

River Cam

We wanted to see “Newton’s Apple Tree”, so we asked at the information centre.

I enjoyed my expearience in Cambridge.
I was offered an opportunity to lecture next year.

道 Calligraphy for the British Kendo Association

For the magazine of British Kendo Association(BKA), I wrote an article.
At the AGM of BKA on 8th July, the magazine was distributed to all members.

Mr. Masashi Chiba who has three titles of All Japan Kendo competion asked me to write the kanji for Do道, which means ‘way’ in English. I wrote it in front of him and he said that I had written it correctly and that it looked like the kanji used by the Tokyo Kendo Association with a long extension on the final character.
The photo was taken by Mr. Terry Holt(founder of Mumeishi Kendo Club) , it shows the Mumeishi Kendo Club flyer left side 🙂
Do道 is used for many Japanese arts like Kendo剣道, Shodo書道, Sado茶道(Tea ceremony) and Kado華道(Flower arrangement).

I should explain that Do道 is made from two characters:
Kubi首 which means ‘neck’.
I have shown how it was derievd.
Kubi首 is used as there should be a feeling of ‘Kubi wo Kakeru首を賭ける, this is difficult to translate but means something like “to put one’s neck on the line”,or one is prepared to die to complete the task.


The second character is Shinnyou meaning ‘to move forward’, sometimes with a pause, but always forward. Again I have shown its derivation apposite. It is combined with moving forward, as on a road, and to ‘stop’止(which is why there is a foot).
Although Shinnyou uses stop止 in its kanji, Mr. Chiba wanted to emphasise the feeling of continuing, and that kubi首 was included in the kanji, this is why he liked the long extension on shinnyou.

I taught Shodo at the University of Cambridge and, as Mr. Chiba told me, I have tried to show the meaning of the kanji from how it was derived.

Inshuu-Washi ; Traditional Handmade Japanese Paper

Aoya city in Tottori prefecture is famous for traditional handmade Japanese paper.
There is about thirty minites from Tottori staion by JR train.
I saw Mr Taniguchi he is a paper maker, he guided me around Aoya.

On the 4th June, there is a local festival.





His friends orgnized the making of a handmade fan made using the Japanese paper.






Mr Taniguchi helped me to make my owm fan.






My next visit was to “Aoya Washi Kobo” .









It is a museum for traditional handmade Japanese paper.
We can see and learn how to make it.

After visiting the “Aoya Washi Kobo”, Mr Taniguchi took me to his home.

“The well’s water comes from that mountain,so we can make a nice paper here.” he says.








His mom; Mrs Taniguchi is also paper maker, her job is to iron the paper.







Her work is quick and efficent.

It may look easy… BUT!!!
They charenged me to iron the paper.
OK, I will try..,I said.









They said,”You should try again!”





It is HARD and DIFFICULT !!!
The ironing board is very HOT !
You need to practice for a long time to master the technique.

Here is my Inshu Washi for calligraphy.
I bought it in Tokyo.
The price is six hundreds yen for forty sheets.

Europein people think that Inshu Washi is too expencive.

I was asked to use newspaper for calligraphy in the UK.

But I would not use newspaper for Japanese Calligraphy.

I want to use Japanese traditional paper for calligraphy because it has the paper maker’s spirits.

Many thanks to Mr and Mrs Taniguchi and his friends in Aoya.