Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Kana

む (mu)


The origin of  a hiragana む is 武.   武者(musha) and 武士(bushi) mean samurai, but the meaning wasn't so important when developing Japanese letters from Chinese characters.   無 is also む which means nothing.   In one of Nishida Kitaro's books, he wrote that 無 is love when he compared with the western concept.  I agree.  
無 holds everyting else.  

Talking of love, I fell in love with the letter Iida Kazuko Sensei wrote for one of Basho poems.  I asked her to draw that particular む in the same way.  She brushstroke in red ink right then and there a few times and gave me that as you see above photo.  It is just a む.  But it has characters.  Don't you think?  They are, in fact, two kanji characters,  and the character, in other sense,  is nothingness but in a samurai way.   We call this kind of arts, playful.  Yes!  Playing is the key.  You can interpret your own way, and choose your own brushstrokes.   I've uploaded kana shodo blog spots again because my past "Kana Shodo" blog spot is the most popular so far.   Thank you for appreciating our traditional art!  

Below is my Japanese blog, and the second photo shows the old pond and a frog poem by Basho in which that same む appeared.  http://keiko-booksandtalksfromlosangeles.blogspot.com/2010/12/blog-post.html 

14 comments:

ZACL said...

Hello,

I clicked on a link eventually arriving here (not with my usual link) and thought I was still connected to the previous Kana Shodo Post! I selected another pathway link to you and find I am still here. (Ah me of little faith).

The interpretation of the lettering is not just artistic, it is a style and a personal signature. Here the skill of graphology can undoubtedly be used.

keiko amano said...

ZACL,

I don't know how you exactly access my site, but have you hit the button of update? On my cell phone, I needed to do that in order to get to your most current blog. But I guess this is too fundamental, so probably this is not your problem.

A good thing about kana shodo is that tiny women can make dynamic male-like bushstrokes if we choose. Iida sensei is a tiny woman, always smiling, but when she draws, she can make a precise, dynamic lines in one breath without ever rushing. And one of our male classmates writes beautiful and very feminine kana. Iida sensei has been often surprised with his works. So, yes, graphology exists in it, I guess, but not in a conventional way. I would say, in front of kana shodo, we are all equal. Men, women, children, skin colors, cultures, and so on.
I think all the arts relating writing are quite democratic. I think that's why I like anything to do with writing.

ZACL said...

"All arts are democratic". That is a large thought and would require a lot of consideration. I simple assessment might be, that like with all active elements of our societies and lives, what we do is as democratic as society allows it to be within its mores and regulation.

Graphology can, even within any cultural and societal constraints that exist, read the character of the writer. Used honestly and sincerely, graphology is an interesting skill (or tool).

The letters have a strength and flow in their signature.

keiko amano said...

ZACL,

I said that because some of Japanese traditional arts are bit aristocratic or closed-up, such as kabuki, Nihonbuyou (Japanese dance), and some way, chanoyu (tea). To keep up the lessons, they are not only expensive, but also require a class-sort of behaviour.

ZACL said...

With the comparisons you give, I can understand completely what you say about the relative democracy of certain art forms.

ashok said...

Keiko, I am completely ignorant about all this. What is a Kana and what is Mu?

Just as a work of art it is indeed very beautiful though.

ashok said...

And yes, what is kana Shodo?

keiko amano said...

ZACL,

Like Kabuki, a number of families own the tradition. Some do get in, but not easy. Costumes are very expensive, and I'm sure many things and protocols are handed down from generation to generation, so it's difficult to get in. Those traditional arts, I have never wanted to get in! I had enough with chanoyu. Sometimes, those people become bizarre. Like Kabuki, it was originally a rather low art, but over the years, it heightened their status. Now, they are cerebrities, and their young generation mix up and act like princes or princesses. Class things in Japan is bizarre. Just this week, one of such prince, so to speak, was involved in an assault when drinking. I can pick up the kinds of behavior and speeches he's been throwing at people by just looking at him in his interviews. If people don't know what I'm talking about, they are visually impaired. The class things never stop. It continues in subtle but obvious way to me.

keiko amano said...

Ashok,

Kana is basic Japanese letters. We use katakana and hiragana. I love hiragana. For detail, please look it up on the web. Also, I have "Kana Shodo" from the beginning or middle of this year. I might have provided those site in that blog.

Shodo is 書道. 書(sho) is writing. 道 (Do or tao in Chinese) is way. I'm taking a kana shodo. Most Japanese traditional arts have suffix of Do, such as Kendo, Karate-do, Judo, Kyudo, Kado, Chado, Kodo, and so on.

keiko amano said...

So, Do (道)means a disciplined art.

ZACL said...

Learning and class do go hand in hand. Social mobility is mostly determined by access to education.

Your description of the minor 'royalty' obtained through closed learning, (a secret society perhaps or a sect) by handing down traditions selectively, is suggestive of position through a certain knowledge conferring power.

There is a saying here, that 'knowledge is power'. It is so true.

ashok said...

Thanks for the explanation Keiko.

I have interpreted Kana Shodo then as an artistic writing style based on the use of certain letters.

keiko amano said...

ZACL,

Yes, knowledge is power, and there is no end to it.

keiko amano said...

Ashok,

One of mu in Japanese is written as 無。  This means nothing.