Saturday, December 1, 2007 at the downtown public library in Ann Arbor, were treated to a marvelous afternoon of calligraphy and a quick study of the Japanese language.

In association with the Consulate General of Japan in Detroit, the library hosted Keiji Onodera, Master Calligrapher and President of the Shodo Research Institute. Speaking through a translator, Mr. Onodera explained the characteristics and history of contemporary Japanese calligraphy while examining its distinctive features.  Vital to a Western understanding of calligraphy, Mr. Onodera covered calligraphy both from a personal and from professional viewpoint.

The live calligraphy demonstration by a calligrapher currently living in Japan then provided a multi-national audience an opportunity to feel the active movement of contemporary Japanese calligraphy.  The question and answer period that followed showed a deep level of interest in the subject, with pointed discussions about minutia of calligraphy as well as a broader scope of questions on the state of the art in modern Japanese writing techniques.

Ken Raynor of Ann Arbor District Library Community Relations Department offered the Visionalist crew an overview of the program in advance, which allowed us to take special focus on portions of the demonstrations that were particularly fascinating to the non-Japanese portion of the audience.

Widely viewed as an art form as well as a writing technique, Japanese calligraphy is on display throughout the mass media, galleries, museums, and in public architecture.  A vital part of lecture covered the various ways that Western people absorb and evaluate Japanese calligraphy.

The International Culture Promotion Foundation of the Shodo Journal Research Institute was established twenty five years ago to encourage dialogue and sharing of information among the various schools of calligraphy, to provide information about exhibitions and new developments within the modern calligraphy world and to promote the appreciation and creation of fine works of Shodo calligraphic art.