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"Writing and Teaching Japanese Calligraphy" Interview with Takashi Araki

The fifth interview is with Takashi Araki. In fact, Araki was a my calligraphy teacher when I used to learn calligraphy (laughs)

The charm of his work is full of humanity.. It is understood well by seeing the poem of Mr. Araki who is a poet. This time, I heard various stories focusing on the charms of writing and teaching Japanese Calligraphy.

"書を書くこと、教えること" 荒木崇インタビュー

by 菱田篤司

January 08, 2020

-When did you start calligraphy? Can you tell me why you started learning calligraphy?  

I started when I was in third grade. I would have wanted to do it myself. But it wasn't fun (laughs). Because my teacher was a local celebrity and a very strict teacher. But at the end of elementary school, the teacher died, and once I quit calligraphy there.

I resumed calligraphy when I became a company employee. I was about 25 years old.

I got a job at a cram school as a new graduate, and at first I was promoted to a full course, management, student gathering, and so on, but I retired and became a part-time lecturer at the cram school there for about four years.

At the same time, I started writing calligraphy again as a hobby. I wasn't learning calligraphy from anyone at that time. At that time, I wanted to be a poet, so I wrote my own poetry with a brush, exhibited at art events, and sold quite a bit at that time. However, I thought that the letters I was writing at that time were bad, and I wanted to learn calligraphy again, so I arrived at Takeda Souun.

My boss at the cram school I worked at started a consultant business specializing in educational institutions, so I quit my job as a part-time teacher and worked there for about 10 years. The president was delivering an e-mail magazine of the world's famous words and their commentary every day. It was Mr. Soun who sent a message of impressions there. At that time, He was not famous yet, and I thought that there was such a person in the calligrapher, but when I thought that I would study calligraphy again, I remembered that, and I started going to Soun's classroom.

-When did you start a calligraphy class?  

In April 2011, we first started a children's class and started an adult classroom in September 2012.

-Could you tell us how and when you thought calligraphy was your business?  

It was still a side job when I only ran a children's classroom. When I started an adult classroom, I decided to go to my main business. I was also a cram school teacher, so I was good at teaching people something. I felt limited to salaried workers, so I wanted to do what I liked and what I was good at as my main business.

-When I first started going to the classroom, you said you were a calligrapher poet, but what about now?  

I guess I've become a calligrapher recently. (laughs) Both poetry and calligraphy are self-expression, but nowadays the calligraphy is more interesting and sometimes connected directly to my work, so my awareness of the calligraphy is stronger.

-Do you keep creating original works?  

Of course I do it, but recently I have a lot of time to study classical calligraphy. It is also to teach people, and of course there is a good influence on my work, such as how to put a soul and the line quality. The recent theme of my creation is death.

-Why is it death? 

Because my child is overwhelming existence, and it approaches by the life force, I often feel death on the contrary. I feel strongly that growing up my child is approaching my death.

-Does "death" mean negative or positive?  

Life and death are not the opposite, but the same way of thinking. In that sense, it is positive.

-I think some people like the work "Death". Do you think anyone wants to decorate it at home?(laughs)  

I think there are people who think so. I think there are definitely people who think like me.

Takaoki Araki"Death" Non-Sale

-There are certainly positive factors that have a positive influence on how to feel life by being aware of death, and to enrich life.

The story changes, but i was impressed that students who have been attending the classroom since they were little enter the calligraphy club in high school and are trying to make a calligraphy club in a school that doesn't have a calligraphy club on the teacher's Facebook page recently. I think this joy of teaching is also very great. On the other hand, can you tell us the difference between the joy of making a work?  

The joy of being able to see people growing up is still great. On the other hand, making a work is self-satisfaction. However, there are some people who don't have anything to do with people's evaluations, but what I think lately is that I'm happy that people recognize me. Even if I think I'm good, sometimes I don't appreciate it at all (laughs)

-Your poems are a little funny, and there are a lot of words that are ingrained in my heart, so I think it would be good if I made it into a collection of works, but don't you have any plans for that?  

There were about two stories about publishing in the past, but the person in charge who liked my poem seems to have been rejected at the meeting as "I'm not famous, so I can't sell it" (laughs) I think I want to do it because self-publishing is cheap these days.

-Do you have any poets that you have been influenced by or like?  

I wonder if I like Murou Saisei and Kotaro Takamura. I'm not reading a poem that much.

-How about Mitsuo Aida?  

I try not to look at it. Because I'm influenced (laughs)

-Do you have any favorite artists who were influenced by the calligraphy?  

I wonder if I'll be a classical writer. I wonder who is a contemporary writer. At first, I was studying with Soun Takeda, so I was influenced by it at the time. After all, I was shocked and influenced by Yuichi Inoue. I like Koji Kakinuma, too. Recently, there are a lot of people who send it out on sns, so I see it, but there are salaried workers, but I think that person is really amazing. As with technology and knowledge, there is a spirit in writing.

-What are you particularly aware of in your creations?  

I'm conscious of the margins, that is, where to leave white. I'm thinking of not ruining the white part. I was conscious of the white that "the heart (the work that i exhibited)" was opened down and brought up.

Takashi Araki"Heart" -03

Takashi Araki"Heart" -02

Of course, I also think about the color of ink. I think I have to use my head these days, but in the end it's often gone. It's a contradiction, though. There are many things you can do to do good works when you write quite a few and decide that you have the last one or two. I'm the type to write quite a bit.

-Please tell us the charm of writing, the charm of writing, and the charm of seeing.  

I think that writing is "Why is it so much fun?" When I think of it as art, painting takes a long time, but writing doesn't take long, so it's a good fit for me who's short-tempered.

-But in order to write a work that is satisfactory, if you write dozens or hundreds of sheets, it takes a lot of time in total, so isn't it the same?  

Oh, sure (laughs).

-I think that the charm at the time of the writing and the creation is different even if it is the same writing work.

I think it's like answering and looking for answers. I feel like I'm solving a problem. I feel joy when I can absorb it and reproduce it.

Of course, the creation is good, and it is happy and fun when the line as I intended comes out. It's fun to have more than your intentions. When I write a work, I have a blueprint in my head, but it's also fun to have a coincidence element. If you become a great teacher, you may be able to predict all of that, but I haven't reached that level yet, so that's why I'm looking forward to it.

-What do you think is the pleasure of seeing a calligraphy?  

What I feel these days is a different feeling of air in a good work. It's a soul or an aura. There is an aura that cannot be explained. That's not the reason.

-At first, I spent hours looking at it while thinking about "All of them are good" at the calligraphy exhibition every day, but now I'm looking at it at a fairly fast pace, and now I'm just looking at the works that suddenly caught my eyes and watched them carefully. I think the power of the work that makes you stop in the line of such a good work, the aura is amazing.

That's what it is, isn't it? It's not logical, is it?

-Do you have any future prospects? What do you want to do?  

I wonder if it is recognized to write a classic and traditional work. For some reason, I'm in a position where I teach calligraphy, so I think I have to pursue it all the time. Ultimately, I want to write my work as I like for a long time (laughs)


I was the same age as Araki-san, so i went to drink from time to time when I went to the classroom, but this time it was fun to talk with him for the first time in a long time. As I wrote at the beginning, the human smell in a good sense is also shown in the calligraphy, and that is the great attraction of Araki's work. It is said that books are people, but you can realize that attractive books are attractive. I want you to look at the poem by all means. I'm sure you'll be hooked on that charm (laughs)

And Araki's poemInstagrambut you can see it.

List of Araki Takashi works

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