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Love letter project “Sisyu Kakizome Event”

Sisyu’s annual kakizome event (a tradition in which people write the first piece of calligraphy of the year), always anticipated by many fans, was held on the 8th of January, 2022. We spoke to Sisyu about this workshop.

On the Love letter project

Sixteen years ago, I began this project because I wanted people to remember that there was someone who loved them, someone who needed them. I wanted them to feel the warmth of this realisation.

I think children were deeply affected by the coronavirus pandemic in recent times. School, after school activities… because of the decisions that adults made, many children had fewer opportunities to experience cultural learning or contact.

Our country has a wonderfully rich culture, and I would like children to experience that for free.

Plans for this year

Until now, my professional activities were often in Europe or America. This year, I’d love to work more with people in Asia. As for my practice, I’m always thinking about creating a great piece of art that is larger in scale every year. This year, I’ve already begun work on a mural of a dragon on a ceiling that measures seven metres on all sides.

On kakizome

For kakizome, you carefully reflect on what kind of year you want it to be, and from that, you weave out a word and put it down upon washi paper. You can then hang up this piece of calligraphy and look at it daily. This will guide your path towards the aspiration you wrote down over the year. I believe that the power of words is instilled in paper. It’s like the wooden talismans or o-mamori (good luck charms, often from shrines or temples, made with inscribed fabric) that we bring back from our first visit to the shrines on New Year’s Day—perhaps that’s one case where we subconsciously believe in the power of the written word.

The word I chose for my kakizome this year is “yūbō” (有望), which means there is always hope for the future. In the face of any adversity, there is always hope. This word is a message for myself, to make this year a bright one.

At the event, there were a hundred participants, each of them contemplating their hopes for the new year and enjoying the kakizome calligraphy. We would like to invite you, too, to take some time to reflect on your aspirations or messages to yourself for this year. We are looking forward to seeing Sisyu’s future projects.


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