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Team Calligraphy Brushes Into Nisei Week Lineup

Demonstration of art form inspired by popular Japanese comic book.

Calligraphy is presented during a school festival at Yoshida High School in Yamanashi Prefecture on July 16.

 

Eight calligraphy artists will put ink to giant squares of paper, while simultaneously scripting kanji characters to the flow of J-pop music, on Saturday, Aug. 13, the first day of the Nisei Week Japanese Festival.

The Nisei Week Foundation announces that for the first time, a “team calligraphy” performance will be hosted by the local Yamanashi Kenjinkai, to include two high school students from Yamanashi along with other high school students from Torrance. This special cultural event, which is free to the public, will be held on the second floor of the Little Tokyo Galleria, 333 S Alameda St., Los Angeles, from noon to 2 p.m.

Inspired by the Japanese comic book “Tome-Hane!”— a story about a high school calligraphy club on the verge of breaking up before entering a major competition — team calligraphy competitions are gaining more and more international recognition as a new and unique way of blending the traditional method of calligraphy study and progressive pop culture. Typically, there are eight people per team. The paper size is the most surprising element — 30 by 40 feet.

“This is such a great way to get the spotlight on the younger generation, while focusing on the compulsory subject of calligraphy,” said Mike Okamoto, Team Calligraphy chairperson and Nisei Week Foundation board member. “This ultimately preserves our Japanese culture through the beautiful movement of calligraphy to music.”

Calligraphy was brought to Japan in the 8th century from its origins in China. Three calligraphy masters developed what would become the first Japanese calligraphy style, wayou (also joudaiyou). Calligraphy continues to be an art form widely practiced and admired globally.

The Nisei Week Japanese Festival is a nine-day event that is recognized as one of the nation’s longest-running ethnic festivals. It will take place in Little Tokyo from Aug. 13-21. For information, log on to www.NiseiWeek.org or call (213) 687-7193.

 

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