NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2007/6/18


岩野市兵衛(人間国宝) Iwano Ichibee Ichibee Iwano (Living National Treasure)

Jp En

Ichibee Iwano was born in 1933 in Imadate in Fukui Prefecture. He is known as the son of the 8th Iwano Ichibee, who was designated a Living National Treasure for his work making washi (Japanese paper) in Echizen.

His son, the 9th Ichibee Iwano, was also designated a Living National Treasure in 2002. The paper he crafted was beloved by many artists, such as Picasso. He inherited his temperament for this work from the 8th and, for 60 years, worked hard to make the best washi.

Ichibee Iwano's paper is stiff, and is not easily torn. Its thickness prevents the paper from blotting. He also created an extremely thin paper for publishing reprints of Katsushika Hokusai's woodblock prints. To print these, it is necessary to rub the back of the paper with a special burnishing implement called a baren a few hundred times. To be sure, it is difficult to make a thin paper that withstands these rubbings. However, the 9th smiles and asserts that 'The harder it is, the better it is.' The spirit of craftsmanship may even exceed that of his father.
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2007/2/19


習字 Shuuji Shuji, Japanese Calligraphy

Jp En

The purpose of shuji, Japanese calligraphy, is to write the correct word.

Shuji differs from shodo in that, while shodo shows the beauty of a written word, letter or character, shuji is about learning the word and improving one's concentration.

It is said that the art of shuji came from China and the Korean Peninsula. Later, the writing of shuji impacted the aristocracy and warrior class. The aristocrat wrote unfussy words. In contrast, the warriors wrote powerful words.

Shuji is a necessary aspect of a liberal arts education in Japan, which affects all other aspects of Japanese culture.
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2007/1/25


井山宝福寺 Iyama-houfuku-ji Iyama Hofuku-ji Temple

Jp En

Iyama Hofuku-ji is a temple of the Rinzai Zen Buddhist sect, and is located in Soja, Okayama Prefecture.

The Sangharama monument here is said to be very rarely seen in this area. Within the temple precincts is the second oldest three-tiered pagoda in the prefecture and it is designated as an important cultural asset.

Iyama Hofuku-ji is associated with a legend about a 'rat' and Sesshū, a famous ink-landscape artist. Sesshū was put in the temple for ascetic training when he was young. However, he only liked to draw pictures and did not like to recite sutras. One day he was punished and tied to a column by a senior monk. When the monk decided to forgive Sesshū and untie him, he saw a large rat. The monk tried to chase the rat away, but it stayed still. Staring at it closely, he saw it was a rat drawn by Sesshū using his foot and his tears. The priest began to understand that the boy had an extraordinary talent for drawing and later he did not reproach Sesshū from drawing any more.
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NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉 - 日本語に切り替える NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉 - to english

"Nippon-kichi" leads you to places, people and things that reveal a certain Japanese aesthetic.

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