The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles:FOREST OF WORDS: Origin of Japanese KANJI Ideogram lecture & demonstration

The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles

topics_0711_02_01.jpg On September 29 (Sat), FOREST OF WORDS: Origin of Japanese KANJI Ideogram lecture & demonstration, presented by The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles (JFLA) and Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (JACCC), was held at the Aratani/Japan America Theatre in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles.

Kanji, or "words from the Han Dynasty," attracted not only Japanese language learners but also those who love animation and martial arts, which resulted in non-Japanese native speakers making up over half of the 300 guests in attendance.

The event opened with a cellist accompanied by a Turkish guitarist playing a melody which was reminiscent of Kanji's eternal history. As the music playing, Mr. Hirokazu Kosaka, Artistic Director of JACCC appeared on stage and demonstrated calligraphy on a 32' X 8' canvas with a large brush made with Mongolian horsehair.

Prof. Tetsuji Atsuji, a renowned Kanji master at the Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studies in Kyoto University, was invited from Japan to give a lecture on various aspects of Kanji. He explained the origin, history and uniqueness of Kanji, which was found on tortoise shells and ox bones dating back to around 1300 B.C. He also discussed how Kanji was transmitted from China to Japan. During the second half of the lecture, Mr. Kosaka introduced the visual world of Japanese characters and a large variety of rare calligraphy tools.

Besides this event, many guests enjoyed the free traveling exhibition, presented by The Japan Foundation Headquarters, titled Bugu: The Spirit of Samurai Warrior (September 15 - November 10), at the JACCC gallery adjacent to the Aratani/Japan America Theatre.

After the lecture in Los Angeles, Prof. Atsuji, Mr. Kosaka and two JFLA staff members traveled by air and ground to give lectures in four Western cities including Eugene, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Las Vegas, Nevada. Each venue was very well attended and the event was highly successful.

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