Tag Archives: Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art

The 66th Mainichi Shodo Exhibition Tokai: You have to calculate to make something look beautiful…


IMG_0001     Are you interested in calligraphy? Actually, I am not so much either writing or appreciating letters. But I like the atmosphere of its exhibitions. This might sound contradictory but calligraphy exhibitions have both energetic and calm airs. It was the end of last month when a friend of mine and I went to see the Mainichi Shodo Exhibition at Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art. My friend’s sister showed one of her calligraphies at the exhibition, too. IMG_0002

     It was the 66th Mainichi Shodo Exhibition. They began in 1948 three years after the end of World War II. I think they decided, despite many difficulties to hold the exhibition in the chaos of the post-war period, when people were still struggling for their lives. They also struggled to hand over the torch of Japan’s calligraphy culture to the post-war generation. 毎日

     There are many kinds of calligraphy in Japan. In fact, the Mainichi Shodo Exhibition has nine categories: Chinese Character I (more than 21 letters), Chinese Character II (3 to 20 letters), Japanese kana Character I (more than 3 Japanese waka poems or more than 5 haiku poems), Japanese kana Character II (1 or 2 Japanese waka poems or 1 to 4 haiku poems), modern poetic calligraphy, large character calligraphy, seal engraving, wood carving, and avant-garde calligraphy (they are not “letters” anymore…) The exhibition had 8 rooms and more than 1200 works this year.

     To tell the truth, I cannot understand them when I look at calligraphies. I cannot tell a big difference between one which has received a prize and another one which has not. They look almost the same for me as letters written in black ink on the white paper…So, I usually walk around the big exhibition place, looking up at calligraphies with my mouth open, and then get tired and become a zombie two hours later. But the situation was different this year. I joined a guided tour. 2毎日

     Some judges picked up some exhibits and explained them. Especially, Mr. Tosen Sato’s lecture was interesting. According to him, the most important thing is to think about the composition carefully. In his case, it takes him nearly half a year to decide the structural outline for showing a work at an exhibition. Then he writes letters on the paper only two or three times. He said, “You don’t need to waste much paper,” and showed some classic works by an ancient calligrapher. There were many lines on the examples like engineering drawings. He studies many things, such as angles, from those classics. I was very surprised at his lecture because I had thought that they must have written letters from their hearts…It seems that you have to “calculate” to make something look beautiful…Some calligraphy works looked different after the guided tour!

The Relation of Misho-kan Orange and Chagall: Would you like some fruit?



       “Would you like some fruit, Ma’am?”
A young man was standing holding a big cardboard box when I opened the door…

     That day, I was going to visit Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art , in which an exhibition of Chagall was being held. June is the rainy season in Japan, but it was not raining when I went outside at that time. There were even some blue patches in the sky. So, I was walking feeling good to the nearest bus stop. All of a sudden, however, the sky became overcast and the next moment it began to rain. I retreated into a building nearby and took out a folding umbrella from my bag. But the rain gear was too small to walk in the downpour. I got soaked in no time when I started walking again.

     I need a much bigger umbrella! I decided to withdraw to my home. After getting home, the rain stopped and the blue canopy began expanding while I was changing drenched clothes. What was that rain?! I was discouraged to go out and decided to assume that God or my guardian angels had stopped me going out with the heavy rain for some reason.

     Opening the umbrella to dry at the bathroom, I heard someone rang the doorbell. When I opened the door, a young man was standing with lots of fruit. A fruit-vender came to my apartment. Mind you, it is not common that fruiterers come to your house in Japan. It seems that a fruit store near Nagoya Station send their recruits to town to sell their commodities as a kind of training.

     He had some melons, fruit-tomatoes, passion fruits, and citrus fruits called Misho-kan. It was my first time to hear and look at Misho-kan oranges. “What a name!” I said because “Misho” means “born beautifully” or “beauty is born” in Chinese character. But the fruit’s name has nothing to do with the meaning. According to the fruit-vender, the oranges are produced only in a village named Misho in Ehime Prefecture. I bought some Misho-kan after all. He said one cost 150 yen, but sold four for 500 yen. The fruit was sweet and incredibly juicy. Although I had to give up going to the art museum that day, I was able to have an interesting experience at home. シャガール

     As to the exhibition of Chagall, I managed to make time the next day and was able to go to see it. And I had a great time! I’ve had some opportunities to see Chagall’s paintings before, but this exhibition showed his other art works, such as, drafts of ceiling paintings, stained-glass, wall mosaics, sculptures and ceramics. I was able to see the big images on the ceiling of the Paris Opera House and the Metropolitan Opera House, stained-glass of churches, and other big works on the screen in the theater room of the exhibition, and was touched so much. Ah…I want to see the real things! Chagall’s 3D works, that is, his sculptures and potteries are humorous and have a relaxed air as if donkeys or goats in his paintings just came out from the 2D world and fell asleep. Ah…I want one!