Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fukuro Hyougu Style Wall Scroll of Bamboo Sumi-e

This scroll is no longer available for sale. There is one more similar bamboo painting that you can request a commissioned scroll to be made just for your needs. Contact

This scroll is 23 inches long by 11 Inches wide. It was made in the Fukuro Hyougu style with no embellishments of Suji (Horizontal or Vertical cloth lines on the cloth of the scroll). The pale green cloth was to provide symbolic imagery of the duller bamboo color in fall. Bamboo is a favorite subject among Japanese artists due to its versatility in use for building and household utensils and eatery.

This work was drawn by Yoshimi Yamada Maples on paper (本紙 honshi). Close examination of the work will reveal that it was drawn quite a while ago, because it is not as bright a white as other scrolls made by Custom Japanese Calligraphy. The paper yellowed and aged with time giving the scroll an older look. Some Hyousoushi use aging techniques to make the scrolls look older than they are in actuality. I do not subscribe to these practices, and would prefer the scrolls to look old through hanging.

This scroll is for sale at $65.00 including all shipping and taxes. If you desire us to make a scroll with a different silk or picture paper, please contact to Jonathan at

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Shikishi Kake Scroll for Picture

The following scroll was made as a gift for a neighbor who helped me with some plumbing work in my house. He is an avid outdoorsman and hunter. So I wanted to use cloth that matched his interests. When I saw this at the store, I knew this would make a beautiful scroll. I put the forest green chumawashi to represent the forest.

The character in this scroll will be replaced by a picture that he wants to frame, but the character in this picture is for a variation on beauty. The character actually is composed of the character of Deer in the radical below. I felt this character was very approriate for the scroll being displayed.

This is a longer scroll about 4.5 feet long by 1 foot wide.

To all of Custom Japanese Calligraphy customers, fans and loyal followers have a Merry Christmas and wonderful New Year. メリークリスマスと開けましておめでとうございます。

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Koi on Blue Cloth (Shikishi Kake Wall Scroll)

This scroll is commissioned and is already sold. For inquiries on designing your own scroll contact Jonathan Maples or go to my webstore.

This is a Shikishi Kake Scroll for a bonsai/art lover in Arizona. This cloth with Red and Blue Koi in waves reminiscent of the ukiyo-e or earlier yamato-e style of painting on a blue cloth background. Sorry the picture came out as black cloth, but it is really a navy blue. I wish I had a better camera.

The calligraphy in the middle is written in the Kaisho or block print style by Ryugyoku and is the character Ran for beauty. This customer actually purchased a similar character with an alternate meaning in a semi-cursive style called Shuku.

The customer requested the shikishi to hang offset to the left which allows more space to be devoted to the beautiful Koi and the calligraphy to take a less prominent position in the overall work.

The scroll includes plastic cream jikusaki with a beige kakehimo. I enjoyed making this piece because the Koi has such a rich history in Japanese Kazari and decoration. Particularly, my family hangs the 'Koi Nobori' (Koi Shaped Windsocks) in honor of boys day and I thank the customer for designing this jointly and giving me such good memories.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Kachofugetsu - Full Cursive (Sousho) Style

This Beautiful Scroll was Commissioned and is already Sold.

If you would like help to design a personalized scroll for your home, office, dojo or other need with either calligraphy or a sumi-e picture, please contact us at our e-mail or go to our webstore.

This scroll was designed with the customer at the Golden State Bonsai Federation Convention held in Riverside, California on November 5-8, 2009. The customer wanted a more subdued scroll than the Kachoufuugetsu (Flower, Bird, Wind, and Moon) 花鳥風月 scroll that I had created in my wife's Kaisho style Japanese writing. He thought the cloth, which was a goldenrod to represent the sun was a little garish. This term Kachofuugetsu is a four character idiomatic expression used in Japanese literature to depict the beauty and serenity of the natural world and evokes an apprecation and respect for nature.

As a result he picked a beautiful Cocoa shade which would remind one of very rich, fertile soil of our mother earth. He also wished to use a full cursive style. Congratulations go out for being the first customer to select Sousho, sometimes referred to as grass writing, as the preferred style of Japanese Calligraphy. In addition, this customer selected a Dark Blue Kakehimo (Hanging String) which does not make the scroll have any break in continuity when hanging. The scroll is stamped with Ryugyoku's Inkan or Hanko (Americans say Chop, but I have never like this word) on both the upper right hand corner and lower left hand corner of the scroll. Perhaps this would allow the bonsai to be displayed on either the left or the right hand side per the rules of Seki Kazari 席飾り. I would need to check with someone more knowledgeable than myself. Finally, the scroll is capped with beautiful stained wood Jikusaki. These pieces add to the scrolls elegance, and allow the colors between the cloth and the Jikusaki to transition very smoothly.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Aikido Scroll - Kaisho Japanese Calligraphy Style Writing

This scroll was commissioned and is already sold.
If you would like a scroll with the same writing in a different cloth color or different writing style, please contact us at our e-mail or visit our web store.
This scroll was designed and written for an Aikido practitioner outside of the United States. The cloth is in a beautiful Navy Blue. Aikido is the Martial Art developed by Morihei Ueshiba, or O-Sensei.
It is beautifully written in the block print style called Kaisho by my wife Yoshimi, (Ryugyoku). The Green and Gold of the Ichimonji is a soft transition in regular light, but shines when the flash of the camera was used.
The Hanko or Inkan (In English the word used is Chop, but I have never been fond of this word and prefer the Japanese names) is both stamped in the upper right hand side and lower left hand side of the scroll to create a balanced feel between both Hashira or pillars (Side cloth sections of the scroll).

This scroll was also ordered with a beautiful Dark and Light Blue glazed Fuchin. This will be the perfect complement to any dojo.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Ichigo Ichie - Carpe Diem

This is a Commissioned Scroll and Already Sold

The following description of this phrase is translated from Japanese and paraphrased from the book Tango Kogo Jiten published by the Japan Calligraphy Society. Ichigo Ichie is a term associated with tea ceremony, and is said to prepare the heart in meditation for an upcoming tea ceremony (Chaseki). The meaning of this phrase is "During one's life, there is only one chance to meet with another." Even though you may meet tomorrow, it is important to understand the limits of the here and now, because everyone changes from one day to the next. In other words, the moments to moments of our lives are dynamically changing and impacted by our associations.

Before the Edo period, the famous Tea Master Sen No Soutan was to meet with an official, Seigan Washou, of the Daitoku Temple. Because Washou did not come at the appointed time of the meeting, Soutan left a note saying that he would come and visit on the following day. After Washou came and saw the note, he wrote a dispatch of his own and sent a servant to deliver the following to Soutan, "My conscience has felt the negligence of my duty to you, so I feel that I can not meet with you tomorrow."

Soutan, upon receiving this message felt his own guilt on not waiting to meet Washou and hence returned the messenger to his Master in the temple with a song of apology. This story helps us all to remember that we should treasure each day in the here and now.

This beautiful scroll utilizes a dark purple cloth with multicolored cherry blossoms. The Ichimonji was selected because the deep gold color represents value, while the pattern in the ribbon does not compete with the flower pattern in the cloth. This customer also selected a beautiful Purple Kakehimo with gold flecks to complement the colors in the scroll.

If you would like a scroll designed for yourself, but do not quite know what you would like, send us an e-mail and we can design something as unique as you. If you already know what you would like, visit our shop at

Monday, November 30, 2009

Gunlock Rainbow Wall Scroll

This scroll was done in co-ordination with Photographer and Gallery owner Nathan Wotkyns. He took this picture near Gunlock, which is a 40 Minute drive north of St. George, Utah. during the floods that ravaged Southern Utah in 2005.

Nathan Wotkyns was able to get into the Gunlock area before traffic was detained by the police department. This resulted in a beautiful rainbow over a rushing waterfall.

In the past, it was stated that the Hyousoushi must look at the work and try to determine how the scroll design can complement the work. I felt that a two-step scroll (Nidan Hyougu) would be the best match for this photo. I wanted to use the gold Chumawashi (Gold cloth that borders the work) to help complement the colors of the surrounding trees, but also to help bring to the forefront the faint rainbow as the centerpiece of the work. The white used has two symbolisms. One, it is used to extend the color of the waterfall. Meaning that although the water ends in the photograph, it is visually continued in the Ten and the Chi of the work. Secondly, this picture was taken in the late fall, and hence to help one remember the crisp, cool winter weather approaching. The Jikusaki are a beautiful ceramic pink with white flecks evoking the image of snowflakes and hence continuing on the winter theme in the white cloth. The kakehimo is a beautiful gold which is similar to the color of the Chumawashi.

This work can be viewed on location at Wide Angle Art in Downtown St. George, 51 North Main Street 84770.  For inquiries on purchase, please e-mail to

Friday, November 27, 2009

Name Translation into Japanese

Have you ever been interested in what your name could mean in Japanese characters. Let Yoshimi's creative mind produce a beautiful colloquial expression in Japanese. Our cost for such services are very minimal, and you can always have it written on a Shikishi or put into a scroll and hung in your home or office.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Kouro Itten no Yuki, One Point of the Snow and Crimson Fireplace

紅炉一点雪 This is read Kouro, Itten No Yuki.

The fate of our setting in life makes all things equal. Some snow falls on the ground, and some snow must be consumed as it falls onto the fire. Life is filled with contrasting opposites. There is the snow which is cold, white and is in constant movement, versons the hot, crimson and stationary setting of a fire in the fireplace.

Where we fall is not up to us to decide, but is contingent upon fate. The snow that helps create the ground's winter blanket is equally as beautiful as the individual flake consumed by the fire and becomes a droplet of steam. So let us all rejoice in our individual circumstances as winter approaches and reflect upon the beauties that surround us in all different forms.

If you would like a scroll made with this phrase, please contact to

Monday, November 16, 2009

Progress by Day Walk by Night

These characters were submitted for monthly progress with Yoshimi's calligraphy society. She really liked this phrase. It means that we can improve little by little a day at a time.

Sometime's in life we feel that we may be very frustrated with our own lives. Perhaps our plans or expectations have not come to fruition. It should always be recounted the little steps that were taken to accomplish the obstacles in front of us are the greatest journey.

This was written in a semi-cursive, gyousho style. I selected this cloth because it matched the symbolism of the charcters Sun 日 and Moon 月 The characters on the bottom have been separated, but written together as such 進歩 it reads Shinpo or progress.

We should always wish upon a star once in a while and then walk in the day to get accomplished our tasks.

This beautiful Maru Hyougu stlyle scroll is for sale and it is accented with black plastic Jikusaki and Gold Kakehimo.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Journey 旅 Tabi

This work was done on a shikishi mat board. It is the character for Journey, also called Tabi in Japanese.
This is written in a Semi-cursive style called Gyousho and will complement the Shikishi Kake scroll that this customer ordered perfectly.
As a last thought, as we journey through life we should take to time to enjoy that which edifies and inspires us.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tansaku Ode to a Cascading Bonsai

This Scroll is Sold.

This haiku was created by my wife. Her ability to manipulate characters to derive meaning is truly a gift. This is how it reads...Sorry, but you will need to install the East Asian Language pack to read the Japanese. The beauty in this poem is the change of the character Kyousei. This is typically read as 強制 which means to compel or force. But changing the character to 強生 it transforms the meaning to be that the wire does not compel the tree to bend or shape, but that the shaping of the tree strengthens it's living essence. The beauty of a cascading style bonsai seems greater than Nature itself and hence the last line.

Harigane ni
Through the wire

Kyousei Sarete
A Strong Living Bonsai

Beyond Natural Means.

Friday, October 30, 2009

San Dan Hyougu Pine Sumi-e

This Scroll is Sold.

This scroll was just completed today. It is a Sandan Hyougu which means three step scroll. This has a Gold leaf pattern Ichimonji along with a Cocoa colored Chumawashi cotton cloth and a Forest Green Ten and Chi.

This picture was painted by Darlene Dihel a Sumi-e artist in the Seattle Washington area. It is a beautiful work.

I used the Green cloth to complement the color of the pine in the picture and the brown to represent the Earth from which everything grows.

If you would like to have your own artwork framed in this style, please contact Jonathan Maples at

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Enso Scroll 袋表具 Fukuro Hyougu

 The Fukuro Hyougu scroll is characterized by lines of cloth called Suji 筋in the Ten and Chi. The lines can run horizontal or vertical from just inside the Kan.

The Suji are typically much smaller (less than 1 Bun 分 which equals about 3 millimeters). But in this scroll, a thicker, black 3 Bun Suji was used to help provide contrast with the light, pale blue cloth.

I did not use Ichimonji to border the work, but what I did do was take Fukushima Silk 福島絹 and put that between the work and the Hada Urauchi (First Layer of backing paper). Although very light in both texture and color, this provides just a hint of the same cloth color around the Enso circle. (A deeper explanation on the Enso meaning is provided in a previous scroll translation.)

What I was trying to achieve was the Blue (In & Around the Enso), Black (Calligraphy Work), Blue (Cloth), Black (Suji), Blue (Cloth) and Black (Jikusaki). This provides a rounded overall feel of balance and coordination.
If you have questions about working with us to develop your own personalized framed scroll, contact Jonathan Maples at 435-656-1870 view my website at or e-mail to .

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Shiawase Happiness

This microkakejiku measures 9 Inches by 3 inches. It is on a Copper cloth and is bordered with a white on gold flower design Ichimonji.
The character is done in a Kaisho (Block Print) style. This character is 幸 Shiawase or Saiwai which means happiness. Other words associated with this character are 幸運 Kouun Good Fortune. This is also a common character used for the girl’s name Sachiko 幸子.
This beautiful small scroll sells for only $9.95. For other inquires please contact

Friday, October 16, 2009

Matsuo Basho Haiku drawn by Teiko Applebaum

This Scroll is Sold.

The writing on this scroll is a famous haiku  俳句 poem by Matsuo Basho. It reads

Oh in the quietude

Iwa ni Shimi iru
Seeping into the rock

Semi no Koe
The voices of cicadas.

Haiku poetry is formed by a five/seven/five mora pattern. It typically must contain some mention of the season of the year. In this case, the deafening sound of the Cicaida emerging is an event that happens every year in the summer.

In order to complement this poem, I used a leaf pattern of the cloth. This scroll is in the Maru Hyougu style with the Ten, Chi and Hashira surrounding the work with the Ichimonji. I used two primary colors, the Red Kinran and Blue Kireji, to provide a strong contrast for the centerpiece of the scroll. The blue leaf cloth I have had for some time, and was looking for the correct time to use it. The Semi in this work standing on the leaf stem was a good match.

This picture was drawn by Sumi-e artist Teiko Applebaum of Seattle. I have grown to love her style of painting which is both plain and straightforward.
The scroll measures roughly 2 Feet long by 1 Foot wide and is priced at $78.56 including all taxes and shipping within the United States. For questions on this or other custom scrolls e-mail to

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

鶴亀松おめでたい - Crane, Turtle & Pine

This Scroll is Sold.

This is a scroll used to symbolize prosperity and long life. The 鶴 Tsuru, or crane in Japanese culture symbolizes long life and a good marriage. The 亀 Kame also symblizes longevity. The 松 Matsu is a tree long revered in Japan for it's evergreen nature. The term Omedetai is a phrase wishing one congratulations.

I had a sumi picture of a pine branch from Teiko Applebaum. The picture seems upside down, but if you look close at the Hanko (stamp) it is realized that this is the correct framing. My wife mentioned to me the symbolism of these three and it was only natural that I take the cloth with the Crane and Turtle pattern and combine it with this picture of the pine.

Red is a color associated with luch and good fortune in Japan. This was the reasoning behind my use of the Red Ichimonji and the Red Jikusaki on the scroll.

For questions on the purchase of this or working with us to design your own scroll e-mail to

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fortitude -- Gouki 剛気

This is a custom request. The character reads Gouki, with the first character Gou meaning firm or hard. Ki is the character that means feeling and spirit. Together these mean fortitude. There is a style of Karate called Goujuu-ryu which incorporates this same first character.

This is written in the Kaisho, block print style.

The scroll is on a navy cloth with a white ichimonji that has a large gold ivy pattern. The scroll is finished with a beautiful black plastic Jikusaki and gold Kakehimo.

To design you own personalized scroll, please e-mail to

Friday, October 9, 2009

Many Gods and Many Voices

This is a custom yatsugiri scroll order. It was commissioned with an Art Blue cloth frame, a white background large flower pattern ichimonji, black jikusaki and a dark green kakehimo.
The phrase written in the scroll is taken from the T.S. Eliot poem titled, "The Dry Salvages", which is the third poem of the Four Quartets. The poetry section referenced is 'Many gods and many voices'. We translated the meaning as 多の神多の声 (ooku no kami, ooku no koe). As following a traditional method of Japanese Calligraphy, only the Kanji have been used and the possessive particles No have been omitted.

This is in a Semi-cursive writing style called Gyousho. This piece was written by shihan Ryugyoku Yamada. This scroll measures about 4.75 feet long and 11" wide.
For questions on having an original scroll created specifically for you, contact

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tiger Minikakejiku Sousho Style

Not many of our customers order the Sousho full calligraphy style of kakejiku. Although typically unreadable without training, the creativity and individuality of the artist is evident in the brush stroke.
Calligraphy student's spend painstaking hours of practice to learn to first conform their writing to specific standards. Only after mastering the ability to make perfect strokes in the Kaisho style are they then allowed to train on utilizing their creativity and expressing their individuality.
About the scroll.
This is the character for tiger 寅 Tora. This is the third character in the Chinese Zodiac. The more commonly used character for tiger in Japanese is 虎 which is also read as Tora.
This is on a white and gold ichimonji surrounded by the Navy cloth.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Beppu in Oita Japan

This is a small scroll with a postcard of Beppu in Oita Japan. Beppu is famous for it's onsen (natural hot springs). Although I have never been it is close by.

There is a particular hot spring called Oni no Jikoku, 鬼の地獄 or Demon's Hell. Although the pictures are not clear, there are statues of two Oni, and the river in the upper right flows red. I think this is a good representation of Hell.

In tribute to this imagery a cloth of Oni which was purchased in Japan this year was used to complement the scenes in the picture. The cloth is dark tan with light tan and blue Oni in the design. The bright orange and gold in the Ichimonji provides a stark transition between the picture and the cloth.

This scroll has no jikusaki. It is small, less than 1 foot long and about 9 inches wide.

For questions on other Japanese landscape scenes or to request another landscape frame contact

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Process of Growth 練 (Ren)

Ren 練 is a character used in such words as Shiren Trial, Kunren Training, and Renshu Practice. This was a scroll designed for a Martial Arts student in Hawaii. He wanted to hang this scroll to meditate on the Process of Growth in Martial Arts study through training, trials and practices.

This is a Hanshi scroll done in the Kaisho (Block Print) style of writing. The tsuru crane provides a peaceful scene. The gold ichimonji highlights and accents the transition from the black to the white.

For information on personalizing your own scroll, contact

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Tiger Dragon Style

This scroll was created for a Dojo in New Mexico. The style of their developed Martial Art is called Koryuryu. Ko is the character of Tiger, Ryu is the character of Dragon and Ryu is the character for style or flow.

The scroll is complemented by a Gold Ichimonji and has additional writing of Grandmaster Bily written to the right hand side.

Custom works are our specialty and it is easy to develop a one of a kind work of art for anything related to the martial arts.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Aikido--Morihei Ueshiba

This scroll is no longer available for sale.

The following excerpt is taken from Wikipedia.
Morihei Ueshiba (植芝 盛平 Ueshiba Morihei, December 14, 1883April 26, 1969) was a famous martial artist and founder of the Japanese martial art of aikido. He is often referred to as Kaiso (開祖?), meaning "founder", or Ōsensei, "Great Teacher".
This is a small minikakejiku. With a green cloth background. The green cloth has gold stripes in a pattern. It is finished with a White with Green Kakehimo and white plastic jikusaki.
If one would like a larger image framed, that type of work is possible. This scroll is for sale at $17.00 plus $3.50 shipping and handling.
For questions, contact

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fumio Demura Black Belt Magazine Cover

This giclee print was provided by Black Belt Magazine at a tournament in which Custom Japanese Calligraphy was a vendor. They requested a red background for the scroll.
Fumio Demura is a noted teacher of karate, martial arts circuit demonstrator, and acted as the stunt double for Mr. Miyagi in the Karate Kid Movies.
This is a two step scroll or Nidan Hyougu. The white background of the printer paper was used as the Chumawashi while a red cloth was used for the Ten and Chi. (Please see previous blogs for explanations of these terms, or visit to A black jikusaki complements the work along with the Red Kakehimo which is similar to the cloth.
We hope the office at Black Belt Magazine loves this work as much as I enjoyed making it for them.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Father of Judo, Jigoro Kano

This scroll shows Master Jigoro Kano to the right, locked in combat with another student. I am not versed in the detailed history of Judo, and so do not know the person pictured to the left.

A short history provided by Wikipedia as follows:

Kanō Jigorō (嘉納 治五郎?, 28 October 1860 – 4 May 1938) was the founder of judo. Judo was the first Japanese martial art to gain widespread international recognition, and the first to become an official Olympic sport. Pedagogical innovations attributed to Kanō include the use of black and white belts, and the introduction of dan ranking to show the relative ranking between members of a martial art style. Well-known mottoes attributed to Kanō include "Maximum Efficiency with Minimum Effort" and "Mutual Welfare and Benefit."

One quote from Kano Sensei as follows:

Judo is the way of the highest or most efficient use of both physical and mental energy. Through training in the attack and defence techniques of judo, the practitioner nurtures their physical and mental strength, and gradually embodies the essence of the Way of Judo. Thus, the ultimate objective of Judo discipline is to be utilized as a means to self-perfection, and thenceforth to make a positive contribution to society.

I felt the dark Earth tone would complement the picture. This is accented with the white and gold ichimonji.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mt. Takachiho Miyazaki Ken

This is a picture of Mt. Takachiho, in Miyazaki Prefecture Japan. The Ichimonji was done with a White and Gold cloth while the Ten/Chi/Hashira were done in the Navy Cloth.

The dark blue of the cloth really brings out the color of the flowers in the picture.

This simple scroll is available for purchase at $12.50. Shipping & Handling and Taxes are not included.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Two-Step (Nidan Hyougu) Buddha Scroll

This Scroll is Sold.

This is a Two-Step Scroll called a 二段表具 Nidan Hyougu. Ni stands for the number two and Dan stands for step or process. This style is accomplished by setting a 中廻 Chumawashi around the work along with the additional Ten and Chi. It differs from the Sandan or Three Step scroll style in that there is no Ichimonji attached to the work.

This is a scroll that depicts a symbol of the Buddha, or 仏様 Hotokesama. It was created by Ben Strawn, an artist in Salida, Colorado. The artist painted on a strip of canvas. I put the Hada Urauchi (first layer of paper) on the cloth Silk 中廻 Chumawashi, which is the green cloth in the scroll. The Ten & Chi were requested to be an earth tone color. I had never tried to use corduroy fabric in a scroll before, and it actually turned out to be quite complementary with the heaviness of the canvas which with the work is placed. The work is complemented with black lacquered wood Jikusaki and the red color in the Kakehimo blends simply with the red of the corduroy cloth.

For inquiries in having us create your own custom scroll contact us at

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

3 Step (phase) Scroll

The scroll at the left is in a style called Sandan Hyougu. Dan is the character in step, or stairs. (Dankai 段階 or Kaidan 階段). The reason for this is that it utilizes three distinct cloths. After the Ichimonji (red and gold top and bottom border) are attached to the work, then the Chumawashi with distinct Hashira, Ten (Heaven) and Chi (Earth) are attached to the scroll. The Chumawashi in this example is a light green/gold ivy pattern silk.

The last layer is to insert the final Ten and Chi , which is the solid red cloth of this scroll.

The Three layers or phases are then completed by creating the Mimiori and putting the final layer of Urauchi to complete the scroll. The look and feel of this style of scroll is a little more flashy than the maru hyougu style found on most of the other posts. Another scroll in the Sandan Hyougu example will follow later this week.

Thanks are extended to Ben Strawn, a Salida, Colorado artist for providing this block print for mounting.

For inquiries on purchasing this scroll please contact

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Welchko -- Last Name Translation

This was a beautiful scroll done for a family name. Yoshimi Maples translated the name Welchko into Japanese. The characters were as follows:
Ue 上 - Means Above, Up or over...however it is also an expression for Heaven
Ru (The character below the Ue) Means to live or exist.
Chi 知 Means to know
Ko Means child(ren)
The direct translation for this was "to know the child(ren) lives in heaven". As she was writing this, Yoshimi felt inspired to think about the Savior, Jesus Christ. Hence, can be either your own children or the One Child.
The writing was done in Block Print Japanese Calligraphy called Kaisho. Please see other scroll pictures in the blog to compare to other writing styles.
The black and the tan in the cloth was perfectly accented by the antique, wood jikusaki (end caps) and the tan and cream fuchin (Hanging ceramics with tassels). The scroll size was about 3 feet by 1.5 feet and one of the most beautiful works to date.
For your own name translation, please contact us at

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Kachofugetsu (Flower, Bird, Wind & Moon)

Kachofugetsu is a four character idomatic expression with the characters Flower, Bird, Wind and Moon, in that order. These characters symbolize the beauty of nature and the aspects of life.

This is written in a Semicursive style called Gyousho by Ryugyoku. The scroll size is about 4.5 feet long by 1 foot wide. The cloth chosen for this was a goldenrod, to represent the light of the sun which provides warmth and life. The black jikusaki (end caps) represent the richness and soil of the earth.
For inquires on purchase of this scroll, please contact

Friday, September 4, 2009


This scroll was commissioned by a customer from the Salida Art Festival. It has a beautiful white on gold Ichimonji to provide a powerful transition for the black cloth. The jikusaki has a specialty gold pattern which matchs nicely to the overall feel of the scroll.

To read about the meaning of Ensō it is recommended to go the the link in the word provided by Wikipedia.

() is a Japanese word meaning "circle" and a concept strongly associated with Zen. Ensō is one of the most common subjects of Japanese calligraphy even though it is a symbol and not a character. It symbolizes enlightenment, strength, elegance, the Universe, and the void; it can also symbolize the Japanese aesthetic itself. As an "expression of the moment" it is often considered a form of minimalist expressionist art.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

USA Shrine Winter

This is a mini-kakejiku with a small diameter wooden jikubou. It was commissioned and made for Robert Loewe, a traditional tapestry weaver, as an order from the Salida Riverwalk Arts Festival.

At first glance, it would seem contradictory to use a spring time cherry blossom purple cloth with a winter scene.

However, as I thought about it, this is how I decided to present this to the customer. It is often in our lives that the darkest, coldest trials are placed before the blessings and renewals of spring.

This may be why the cherry blossom viewing or hanami, as it is called in Japanese, is a cherished tradition to enjoy the rebirth of life.

So as inspiration, when all things seem to be conspiring against you and the trial seems unbearable, remember that a blessed Spring is just around the corner.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Chinese Ukai

This scroll is no longer available for sale.

This is a photograph purchased from King Wu, a professional photographer in the state of Washington.

This is a picture of a traditional Ukai (Japanese) word. Ukai is the term for trained Cormorants that the fisherman ties a string around the bird's neck and then the bird will dive for live fish. Due to the string, the bird can not swallow the fish. When the cormorant arises from the water, the fisherman takes the fish alive.

This is still practiced in Japan as well in the city of Gifu on the Nagara River, but primarily as a tourist attraction.

I used the blue silk cloth because it provided a good imagery of water. There was no Jikusaki put on this scroll, to focus on the photography.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

This scroll is no longer available for sale.

This scroll was made using a poster of an old Black Belt Magazine cover that was donated by friends from Aim Media. The featured Martial Artist is Fumio Demura with Sai. You can read about Demura Shihan by clicking on the link above.
This scroll is made from a blue silk cloth imprinted with an ivy pattern. A Maroon and Gold Ichimonji separates the picture with the cloth quite strongly. I felt this is one of my most daring designs because of the strong contrast of colors between the cloth and work inherent in this Kinran cloth.
The size of this scroll is almost an exact replica of the Gichin Funakoshi scroll posted earlier.
For information on purchasing this or creating a custom scroll please contact

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Shikishi Kake Dragon Scroll

This Scroll is Sold.

This is a shikishi kake scroll. A shikishi is a hard matte paper that comes in various sizes. They are long lasting and very durable. The Shikishi kake frame is very convenient in that the work can be replaced as often as desired with other works.

The writing on this is the word for Dragon (Ryu), written in a semi-cursive style called gyousho. See our website for more details on the different writing styles. This work was created by Ryugyoku Yamada. This writing fits the cloth pattern of the Orange and Purple Dragon.

Dimensions of the scroll are roughly 36 Inches Long by 15.5 Inches wide.

It is a beautiful scroll, which could provide a unique presence in home, office, resaurant or dojo.

For inquiries on pricing contact

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Gichin Funakoshi

This scroll is an 8.5 x 11 inch picture of the founder of Shotokan Karate. A treatise on his history can be read at
I chose a simple Red Wine colored cotton cloth for this scroll as Red is one of the colors of the Shotokan school. However, I chose a deeper red to enhance the contrast in the Black and White of the photograph. The Ichimonji is a Dark Blue with flowers which provides a smooth transition between the Red and the Black and White Photo. The scroll is finished with ornately laquered wood Jikusaki.
This is one of the most beautiful scrolls I have created in its sheer simplicity and elegance.
Dimensions of the scroll are about 30 Inches Long by 15 Inches wide with 3 Inch Hashira.
If you would prefer to have Funakoshi Sensei's Ultimate Aim of Karate saying put into a scroll contact me at

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Yabakei (Ooita Ken, Nakatsu City Japan)

This is a postcard made in a maru hyousou style scroll. Approximate dimensions are about 24 inches long by 16 inches long. The Hashira are approximately 1 inch and 0.5 inch respectively.

This was one of my favorite places to visit in an area of Japan near Nakatsu called Yabakei. This was an area frequented by monks, priests and hermits for meetings of philosophical debate.

The beauty of the nature and the colors of the trees prompted me to use a veneered red cloth with gold leaves to remind one of the changing fall colors.

For inquiries on availability for purchase contact

Monday, August 10, 2009

Ooja Champion Scroll sold for $55.00 at the Long Beach International Martial Arts Tournament. Look soon for some new posts of scrolls sold.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Joufuku Scroll for Dojo

The following is a Joufuku scroll written in the kaisho style. It was created to specification for Quan's Bushido Kai a dojo in Fresno, California. The instructor, Kathryn Doi wanted a scroll for the Dojo and a tournament that would show the words Bushido, (Way of the Warrior) with the Dojo's four guiding principles which are written below:

Jinkaku for Character (Right Hand Top Characters)

Sonkei for Respect (Right Hand Bottom Characters)

Kouketsu for Integrity (Left Hand Top Characters)

Shinrai for Trust (Left Hand Bottom Characters)

One can have a similar scroll created for a dojo, home or office starting at $125.00 by e-mailing to

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

This Scroll is Sold.

This scroll was completed on June 15, 2009. The dimensions of the scroll are 17.32 Inches wide by 26.18 inches long.
I will also explain how the measurements are traditionally reported. The units of measure from smallest to largest are rin, bun 分, sun 寸and shaku 尺. There are smaller and larger units of measure, but I have never used them in making a scroll.
One Bun (pronounced ichi bun) is approximately 3.03 cm. The measurements of the scroll are
Ten (The top cloth portion of the scroll) = 75 Bun
Chi (The bottom cloth portion of the scroll = 27 Bun
Hashira (The side cloth portions of the scroll) = 35 Bun
Ichimonji Top (This is the red cloth) = 8 Bun
Ichimonji Bottom = 5 Bun
This scroll is written in Kaisho (block print) style by Ryugyoku Yamada. The character reads Ooja, and can translate as champion or ruler. The top character is that used for king.
As always, there are three concepts to consider when creating a scroll. 1. Where it will hang. 2. The contents of the art piece and 3. The artist.
1. Where it will hang. This is on a gold/light brown silk. These colors correspond to the Northeast or Southwest areas of the house according to some Feng Shui schools.
2. The golden silk was chosen particularly for this to provide the image of a champion receiving a gold trophy or belt for the victory achieved.
3. Ryugyoku, although female, has a very masculine style of writing due to the influences of her teacher who is male. The gold seemed to match the strength of the message of this writing.
For more information or to ask questions about price of this scroll please e-mail to

Monday, July 6, 2009

Southern Utah Photograph

It is a common misperception that kakejiku or wall scrolls are only used for Asian art styles such as Shodo, Japanese or Chinese calligraphy or Sumie. However, one can see that this framing style can beautifully transform a photograph by utilizing cloth colors which both complement and enhance the artists vision. Now the concepts used to frame the photograph will be detailed.
This photograph was taken by David J. West.
As always there are three primary ideals to think about as the Hyousoushi, or framer, when constructing the frame in your mind. These are 1. Where the work will hang; 2. The contents of the work to be framed; 3. The artist and his style, vision or work studio.
1. Place
There was no preset place to which this work would hang, as this was not a commissioned work. Primarily, concept two dominated the reasoning of how this was framed. However, applying the principles of Feng Shui, the green frame and the reddish brown would work well to hang in the East or Southeast areas of a home. These compass points correlate with health/family and money/abundance respectively.
2. Work Contents
There is a spattering of green from the flora of the area within this photograph, and so to bring out that desert plant feel the green solid cloth was used. To provide a soft transition, a dull gold with a very pale green for the Ichimonji, (or cloth with Gold Filament) was used to provide a continuous transition between the stark Red/Brown and the green of the cloth.
3. The Artist
To my untrained eye, David's works tend to use rich textures without using light to overpower the end result. In other words, I felt his works were a little darker than most Southern Utah landscape photographers. Therefore I chose a shade of green that was not as dark as the flora of the picture to complement with a little light, without taking away from the artists original intention.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Ruyi Scepter Scroll

This Scroll is Sold.
Scroll completed June 19, 2009. It measures roughly 2 Feet by 2 Feet. Additional details available upon request. To inquire about purchasing the scroll contact

This is the Ruyi Scepter, which is a symbol of achieving prosperity in fengshui practice. Ruyi, which is transalated in Japanese as Nyoi literally means "as [you] wish". It is a curved decorative object that is a ceremonial scepter in Chinese Buddhism or a talisman symbolizing power and good fortune in Chinese folklore. A traditional ruyi has a long S-shaped handle and a head fashioned like a fist, cloud, or lingzhi mushroom. (Source: )
The Sumie was created by Ren Adams and is an original work. I will explain the theory behind how the scroll was framed. There are three primary principles involved when creating a scroll.
1. Place
2. The Work and it's Contents
3. The Artist
1. Place:
Involves where the scroll will hang. Some of my works are commissioned, but this was not and hence I used Feng Shui Principles of the Ba-Gua to guide how I wanted it to be placed. The color black is associated with the North element of Water, which deals with Career and Path. The Red symbols within the cloth are associated with the South element of Fire, which deals with individual Fame and Repuation. Therefore my hope is that hanging this piece in the North or South area of your home would help career and individual reputation.
2. Contents of the Work
The background of the Ruyi Scepter is explained in detail above. It was used by royalty. For that reason I tried to use the Gold ichimonji with the green to symbolize the wealth and austerity of a royal court, while providing a startk contrast between the black cloth and the black scepter.
3. The Artist
I have seen this artists studio and it is a very creative workplace. I used a non-solid pattern to reflect the feelings emoted when meeting Ren in Albuquerque, New Mexico. As a hyousoushi, I try to think about the artists personality, their vision within the work, the desired feeling to be emoted and where the work was created. These principles help me to decide how to choose the cloth and design of the scroll.
If you have other questions, please e-mail to

7 Virtues of the Bushido

This Scroll is Sold.

This is a scroll with the 7 Virtues of the Bushido written in a semi-cursive style by Ryugyoku. The scroll cloth is a cotton with the figure of a dragon in Black and Red. The paper size is Yatsugiri and the scroll is roughly 5.5 Feet long and 1 Foot wide.

The 7 Virtues are as Follows:
Gi - Righteousness
Yuu - Courage
Jin - Benevolence
Rei - Respect
Makoto - Sincerity
Yoo - Honor
Chuu - Loyalty

Some translations differ in that they utilize Chuugi or other two character words for the principles. I prefer the more esoteric one character principles to provide a less strict interpretation of the meaning of the principle.