The Samurai helmet is beautiful in color, but it's real character comes out in light and shadow. Head and foot, helmet and footware, thought and action. The project is taking shape,and there appears to be a person behind the mask.
After playing with various design suggestions for logo placement, today we came up with these for the Shingenko Matsuri flags for our group. The iCLA Logo in the middle, flanked by the Takeda Shingen Logo on both sides, balanced and almost appearing as a Samurai Helmet on top of the calligraphy, as a suit of armor.
I painted the characters for 風林火山 (Fūrinkazan), which will appear something like this on our sebata Samurai flag banners. I had the calligraphy scanned, and converted it to a white color on a blue background, in the color of YAMANASHI Gakuin University (be true to your school). At the top I have added the Takeda Shingen Family Crest, alongside the iCLA Logo.
The banner refers to four phrases from Sun Tzu's The Art of War: "as swift as wind, as silent as forest, as fierce as fire, as unshakeable as mountain."
In the Shingenkou Festival in April, we will have ten such banners worn as sashimono or sebata, battle flag banners, which were attached to the back of the Samurai Armor, and usually bore the clan heraldry or symbols.
I will post photos once the flags are printed.
Recreating Samurai Armor is an experience which combines time travel, apprenticeship with master craftsmen, and dedicating yourself to the moment through an ageless craft. The recreation of a suit of armor is like the reincarnation of a Samurai Soul. It is not only the suit of Armor that takes shape.
A poem is born, or reborn?
A piece of calligraphy comes to life. Short version.
My teacher Morioka Koshu paints a Tehon for our monthly Shodo magazine in the Sogeikai in the 1980s, and of course I have kept them all as a treasure.
30 years later I meet Rogier Uitenboogaart in the mountains of Kochi at Yusuhara, where he himself has been making Japanese Washi paper by hand for 30 years!
Almost exactly 30 years after I first saw the Tehon shown here, my friend Iwamoto-san at iWeave kindly presents me with the work I painted in February, wonderfully mounted on a scroll, which now hangs in my office.
Here is my translation of the the Chinese poem:
Laughing in the Spring breeze
The dancer swirls in veils of silk.
This is the time to drink up!
How can you leave now,
When we have hardly begun?
I am not sure who wrote the original Chinese poem, but I have an idea that it was 白居易 Bai_Juyi, a Tang Dynasty poet from about 1200 years ago.
A poem is born, and reborn across time and many communication platforms.
William Reed is a full time professor at iCLA (International College of Liberal Arts) Yamanashi Gakuin University in Kofu City, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan. He is a 7th-dan in Aikido, and a Shihan in both Shodo and Nanba Jutsu. He teaches these arts at iCLA, in addition to a course on Spiritual Dimensions and Traditions in the Japanese Martial Arts. Detailed Profile on the About Page.