Nobuo NakamuraMaster of the Fude

From Fukui prefecture
Assistant professor at Tsukuba University

My first encounter with a Fude

I remember that I use to write on newspapers in the beginning. When you draw a line on a piece of newspaper with sumi ink using a calligraphy Fude, it feels very different from when you draw on Japanese writing papers. It has a unique sense of touch, not like the one of pencils or ballpoint pens. It was not important for me back then if I was able to write well or not. The sensation I felt when I drew a line with a calligraphy Fude still stays with me.

Chinese calligraphy

Kanji itself was born in China, and later it was introduced in Japan at some point in the history, which means that calligraphy was also introduced to Japan along with Chinese characters.
In Japan, the Japanese script, Kana was born and Kanji is still continued to be in use today. However, the way of expressing Kanji (or Chinese scripts) is different in Japan and China. I think it is the framework that is slightly different.
I am Japanese myself, and when I compare the calligraphy of China and calligraphy of Japan, Chinese calligraphy seems to possess a vital strength even though it lacks flamboyance or flowing elegant beauty. I think their calligraphy style has the humanistic expression, which is beyond the boundaries of techniques.

Joy of calligraphy

There was a man of letter called Soshoku (Touba) in China during the time of North Sung period. When he was asked when the happiest moment in his life was, he answered without hesitation that it was the moment when he was able to transform unclear ideas in his head into words. He said that he felt the most joy when the complex thought was put down in words while conveying its meaning 99% accurately. Calligraphers like ourselves also have same experiences when we write with a Fude. We get frustrated when we have an idea in our head, but were not able to express it as the form of calligraphy. But when I finally came up with a way to express my thoughts, I feel relieved and glad; I can relate to what he was saying.

Fude and me

Fude is like a part of my body. It is connected to my right arm at the tip of my right fingers. It is an important relaying tool for me to express the thoughts in my brain as the lines of calligraphy. When I actually use a Fude, it is as if the Fude becomes myself.