It is a dignified workshop scene, one that might more suitably be called a dojo training room where martial arts are practiced than a classroom. “Although I possess it, my brush acts treasonably.” Kato smiles bitterly. But just as he takes the brush, his spirited figure appears poised for a confrontation. He spent his boyhood in Muroran, Hokkaido, where he lost his older brother in the Southern Front and his classmates in bombardment by a warship. Fascinated with ancient characters uncharted in the world of calligraphy, he decided to make them his life’s work. This was while he was studying at the Japanese Calligraphy Department of Tokyo Gakugei University. Later, he also encountered the achievements by Shizuka Shirakawa. He never forgets to appreciate his life in which he has been able to continue exploring the universe of calligraphy with ancient Chinese inscriptions and scripts.

Koho Kato

Born in 1934. Studied under Suiho Kuwahara. For more than fifty years, he has been searching for ancient Chinese characters, inscriptions on bones and tortoise shells, and bronze inscriptions. Founded Kikko-Kai calligraphy association. Showing his works at numerous exhibitions.
In 2007, he had a solo exhibition at the Forbes Galleries in New York.
The Kikko-Ten (Kikko-Kai Annual Exhibition) is featured at the Ueno Royal Museum in Tokyo and Kyoto Prefectural Center for Arts and Culture every year.

This article originally appeared in “Shinsei” magazine, April 2010 issue,
published by RINRI Institute of Ethics. Partially rewritten to update for this
internet release.

Spirit and Spine
‘Kitohone’

created by
THE SPIRIT AND SPINE
CREATIVE FORCE,Tokyo

project direction
Gaku Okubo (ISUKE INC.)
photography
Yoshitomo Tanaka (Vivot)
site design
ISUKE INC. and ICA
title calligraphy
Kenryo Hara (Kikkokai)