• 02/10/2022
  • 08/08/2022

Shodō Artist Tomoko Kawao

Tomoko Kawao is one of the most high-profile shodō artists in Japan today. She began her practice of the art at age six, when her parents decided to make their tomboyish daughter take shodō lessons, in the hope that this might make her more meek and feminine. Although their hopes were dashed in the sense that she never lost her knockabout personality, these lessons her parents gave her the opportunity to discover her talent and find her true purpose in life. Another factor had an enormous influence on her life and career. Kawao battled illness throughout the six years she attended junior high and high school. Up until junior high school, she had been an active and sporty child, but her inability to participate in […]

  • 02/04/2022
  • 08/08/2022

Kojima Shōten: Kyoto-style Lanterns

The history of Kojima Shōten: The flame undying for 220 years. The history of Kojima Shōten, the venerable Kyoto lantern makers, stretches back approximately 220 years, to around the year 1800. In fact, while the oldest documents on record of Kojima Shōten date back to this time, it is believed that the store actually opened its doors even earlier. Indeed, around the time when Kojima Shōten first opened for business in the late 18th century, Marie Antoinette was executed, Thomas Jefferson was elected as the third President of the United States, and the ukiyoe artists Sharaku was wowing Japan with his woodblock prints. With this perspective, we can appreciate the weight of the history the Kojima family members have inherited. The lanterns crafted by Kojima […]

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