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.