Youan is an artist who combines two forms: Traditional Japanese calligraphy(Shodo) and digital photography.  She grew up in an environment with rich nature and has had pleasure of drawing still life with water color from a young age. She also studied photography in a design course in university. After having experience in the production of advertisement as a graphic designer, she took a job for coloring on computers. At that very moment she found difficulties expressing feelings by word and way of communications, and she happened to encounter Japanese calligraphy (Shodo). She was deeply impressed with the depth of the meaning Shodo characters.

Although meanings and symbolic forms of characters written with Sumi (black ink) as Japanese calligraphy have varied across historical ages, such characters have been bringing us various information and feelings across time and space. Youan has been greatly impressed by characters of Koukotsu and Kinbun as the origin of Kanji, and she has been revolving to trace the history of finely honed sensibility of ancient humans who lived more than 3500 years ago.

She creates extraordinary art works with combination of photographs taken with digital technology and calligraphy written traditional brushes and Sumi、which resultantly show curious interspace. Its free expression containing beauty of nature, ways of living, and wishes and happiness of human being through the eternal history will continue to make further variation and also to expand possibility of expression in Shodo calligraphy.

On Koukotu and Kinbun Moji (Character)

Kohkotsu characters are the most ancient character in China which were carved on tortoise carapaces or on bones of cow or deer. It is said that they must be origin of Kanji characters.  During Shangdynasty (1600BC-1046BC), people used to tell their fortune through shapes of cracks made on tortoise carapaces or other animal bones by inserting a heated bronze stick into a hole on them. On such carapaces or bones they carved results of the fortune-telling with Kohkotsu characters whichshaped linear and thin.
Kinbun means the character molded on the inside wall of bronze wares which used during Shang andZhou dynasty.  Kin means bronze or copper.  During those eras people usually recorded their achieve-ments on such bronze wares with Kinbun characters on the celebrating occasions such as they could step up their positions or receive rewards.  Kinbun characters feature bold-faced and rounded as they were engraved on soft clay casting –molds.
We can rather easily understand their meanings as both characters are most likely hieroglyphic letters, and also will be able to image of people’s living and culture at such period through those characters.


  Koukotu  Moji     Kinbun Moji

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