CALLIGRAPHIC STUDIES
Online ISSN : 1884-2550
Print ISSN : 1883-2784
ISSN-L : 1883-2784
ARTICLES
An Introduction to the History of Japanese Calligraphic Theories
An Effort to Systematize the Calligraphic Theory by the Sesonji Family
Norio NAGAYOSHI
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2018 Volume 2018 Issue 28 Pages 29-42,103

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Abstract

This article tries to construct “A History of Japanese calligraphic theories.” When observed from the perspective of the history of calligraphic theories, calligraphic theories in Japan have three distinctive periods: “budding of calligraphic theories” in the early Heian period, “establishment of the theory of Jubokudo” from the late Heian to the Nanbokucho periods, and “prosperity of the theory of Karayo” in the Edo period. In the process of writing the article titled “An Introduction to the History of Japanese Calligraphic Theories” based on these three periods, the following three themes were identified:

1. Systematization of calligraphic theories in the Mid-Ancient/Middle ages centered on the theory by the Sesonji family

2. Relevance between calligraphic theories in the Mid-Ancient/Middle ages and those in the Early-Modern age

3. Relationship between the theories of Wayo and Karayo in the Early-Modern age

  This article addresses the first theme—systematization of calligraphic theories in the Mid-Ancient/Middle ages centered on the theory by the Sesonji family. Focusing on Yakaku Shosatsusho written by the 8th head of the Sesonji family Yukiyoshi Fujiwara and its supposed source text Yakaku Teikinsho written by Koreyuki Fujiwara, the 6th head of the family, this article discusses the differences between the two texts and illustrates the nature of Yakaku Shosatsusho as a plainer version of the calligraphic theory by the Sesonji family. In contrast, Shinteisho by Tsunetomo Fujiwara or the 9th head of the family, remained a mere list of formalities and old practices, revealing the situation that the familyʼs calligraphic theory had fallen into formalization. It is inferred that the stereotypical view of Japanese calligraphic theories such as “humble books of hijisodens preaching family calligraphy with a list of formalities and old practices” originates mainly from their emasculation following Shinteisho.

  The author intends to continue dealing with other themes such as the relevance between calligraphic theories in the Mid-Ancient/Middle ages and those in the Early-Modern age, as well as relationship between the theories of Wayo and Karayo in the Early-Modern age, to complete “A History of Japanese calligraphic theories” from the perspective of “Identifying the aesthetics of the Japanese people.”

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