Yoko’s Biography

Yoko Nishina, calligrapher



   Born in Kochi Prefecture, Japan



    Begin calligraphy (at age 5, went looking for a calligraphy teacher on the way 

    home from kindergarten)



    Graduated Doshisha University, major in Japanese literature



    Post-graduate study at Nara Kyōiku University in the field of Art Pedagogy, 

    specializing in calligraphy 



    Taught calligraphy in Dusseldorf, Germany at EKO-Haus der Japanischen

    Kultur e.V.



    Full-time lecturer, Murasakino High School, Kyoto



    Begin career as exhibiting calligrapher 


    exhibition: [Kusakizome to Shō] (Natural Dyes and Calligraphy)  A collaboration

    with natural dyer. Kyoto: Myōsetsu-an



    exhibition: [Some to Sumi no Aida] (In between Dye and Ink) A collaboration

    with natural dyer. Nara: Kokusai Naragaku Seminar House



    exhibition: [Moe no Michi] (The Spring-green Path) Kyoto: Honen-in Lecture 




    exhibition: [Koto no Kaori] (Fragrance of the Old Capital) Nara:Naramachi




    Chosen exhibitor for 39th All Japan Art Exhibition Association (Nitten)



    Completed correspondence course of study on methodology of teaching 

    calligraphy from the Humanities Department of Bukkyō Daigaku



    exhibition: [Shin’In] (Ancient Voice)Collaborative exhibition with sumi-e artist 

    Kyoto: Event Space SARA


    exhibition: [Yamato Fūin] (Japanese Elegance) Nara: Asuka-en Gallery 



    Winner of a prize for excellence in the 28th Yomiuri Calligraphy Exhibition



    exhibition: [Shikishi no Shō] (Calligraphy on Square piece of Fancy Paper)

    Kyoto: Gallery House Sumire


    Chosen participant, 44th All Japan Art Exhibition Association (Nitten) 



    exhibition:「Entre l'encre et la couleur」(Between Ink and Color) Collaborative

    exhibition with artist. Quebec, Canada


    Chosen participant, 45th All Japan Art Exhibition Association (Nitten)



    exhibition: [In’Ei-Kageri Utsuroi] (Shadows and Reflection) Collaborative

    exhibition with mounter. Kyoto:Nakae-ke-jyutaku

    Demonstration: La Feria Internacional de los Pueblos de Fuengirola, Spain

    Chosen participant, The Japan Fine Arts Exhibition (The 1st Reorganized New


  Illustrated Talk on the Asian hanging scroll and Calligraphy.  University of

    California, Berkeley, USA

  exhibition: [Kaze-Tachinu](Arising Wind) Collaborative exhibition with artist and

    mounter. NY, USA 



    exhibition   Kyoto: Gallery Wajun, Chion-in Temple

    Winner of a prize for excellence in the 32nd Yomiuri Calligraphy Exhibition

    Chosen participant, The Japan Fine Arts Exhibition (The 2nd Reorganized New




    exhibition  Kyoto: Gallery Wajun, Chion-in Temple

  exhibition: [Matsukaze no Oto] (Soughing of the wind through the pine-trees) 

    Kyoto:Shimadai Gallery




At Present


     Organizer, Yomiuri Calligraphy Association


     Member, panel of judges, Nihon Shōgei-in  


     President, Keishōkai (calligraphy association)

English page


Resonance of the Brush


In our everyday lives we read printed type and enter text on our computers and cell phones—mechanical characters that are the same no matter who reads or writes them. Yet,write those same characters with a brush and suddenly they turn into organic living things. What makes this living quality of calligraphy?

   Due to the resilience of the hairs of the brush, when a person holds the handle, the subtle vibration of his being is transmitted directly through the brush. Using the strength and vitality produced by the flexibility of the hairs, one begins to move the brush.

Breathing from the moment one picks up the brush, and following the breath, a rhythm of space is established. This rhythm is what produces the variations of tempo and accent of the flowing line that is expressed in a natural continuous lively movement.

In this sense it is natural to speak of calligraphy as music, for both are art forms of time.

   One summer five years ago, an American high school student who was interested in calligraphy stayed in my home. One day, as she was watching my brushwork she remarked, “I hear the sound of the ‘cello from your brushwork.”

   I was surprised. Although it had occurred to me that calligraphy was like music, I had not said anything about those thoughts to her. Also, this was the first time for me to consider the comparison to a specific instrument. In any case, her remark validated my feeling that calligraphy is music. Specifically, that a line drawn by the brush produces a certain resonance. The moment by moment expression of the drawn line is like the intersection of the many resonances in a symphony.

 The living quality of calligraphy is precisely this. 

The resonance follows the time dimension, appearing and disappearing, changing—not simply repeating itself, but mastering the surface of the paper and the surrounding space. According to the resonance of the black inked path of the brush, the surrounding white space may be squeezed or enlarged, deeply interior or placidly peaceful. And from where does it arise, this resonance that shapes time and space?

 Let us say that it originates in the heart and spirit of the person who holds the brush. Thus it is that in the world of calligraphy, human dignity and elevated spirituality are treasured. For that reason, the writings of many Zen priests are valued and respected.

  Obviously, heart alone is not enough to create a calligraphic work. Practice and learning technique are necessary as well. Then, with a full heart, and a hand that is expert enough to follow it naturally, one is ready to express a melding of heart and hand in their brushwork.

  A truly magnificent work of calligraphy has a balance between the quality of humanity and the level of skill of the artist. The visual resonance woven by this interplay shines through like a sublime echo, enfolding the viewer.