Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Custom Shikishi for Hanging Wall Scroll

This Christmas gift was from a mother who has a son that studies about the Kaizen system of Continuous Improvement. It was done in the Kaisho style, which seems fitting for this word. I have just ordered the cloth to make the scroll with and will be exicted to get this finished for their Christmas present.

If you would like a custom scroll or Japanese Calligraphy writing made, please contact to or visit our webstore at

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Second Scroll with Name

This is the second scroll with a name on it. I love this is a very beautiful plum color with an ivy/flower design. As a result I used a flower pattern in the Ichimonji to give a similar effect. The writing is done in a Gyousho, semi cursive style. You can see the cloth and Jikusaki upclose here.
Scroll Dimensions as follows:
Name in Kanji Name in English Size in Bun (Inches)

天 Ten 105 (12.53)

上一文字 Ue Ichimonji 11 (1.31)

紙本の幅さ Artwork Width 76 (9.07)

紙本の長さ Artwork Length 105 (12.53)

柱 Pillars 23.5 (2.80)

下一文字 Shita Ichimonji 6 (0.72)

地 Chi 68 (8.11)

掛け軸の幅さ Scroll Width 123 (14.67)

掛け軸の長さ Scroll Length 295 (35.19)

If you would like a custom scroll ordered for your personal use or business, please contact Jonathan Maples at or visit my website at
Other name scrolls are listed here:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

First Name written on Shikishi

These shikishi 色紙 were made for gifts. The writing is the name of the customers mother. It is done in semi-cursive style called gyousho 行書. If you are interested in ordering a gift of calligraphy contact to or go to our website online at Other gift name ideas can be found at the following:

Monday, December 19, 2011

Meikyou Shisui Wallscroll for Kendo 明鏡止水掛け軸

This scroll is going to the Pacific Northwest. It is written in the gyousho semi-cursive style and I used the blue cloth in both the Kireji and Ichimonji to represent the water in the scroll. It is accompanied by a Kogecha Kakehimo and a Kokutan (Ebony) Jikusaki. This customer also ordered a beautiful Kiribako (wood box) to go with the scroll. This phrase is used in Kendo and I am using the following source.
Meikyo-shisui is a very good expression to know how our mind should be. Let me explain what kanjis mean. Meikyo means "a clear mirror". It is a clean mirror so you see no dust, clouds or condensation on it. The kanji itself says, "shining mirror". So you can imagine how clean the mirror is. Shisui means "the water that is not moving", the still water. If the water is still, completely still, it can reflect anything like a mirror. So what do you think it means? So what kind of state of mind is it when it is like the really clean mirror and the still water? When a mirror is dirty or it has something on it, it does not reflect things as it should. So it is not working as it is supposed to do. When your mind is not clear, your mind does not work as it is supposed to, either. Moreover, when your mind is not clear or clean, it is usually mean that something evil thing is going on in your mind. So there are two meanings in keeping your mind as clear as a clean shining mirror. One is that your mind and head is so sharp and clear that you will not misjudge anything. Another meaning is that you do not have any evil thoughts in you.

Scroll Dimensions as follows:
Name in Kanji Name in English Size in Bun (Inches)

天 Ten 115 (13.72)

上一文字 Ue Ichimonji 12 (1.43)

紙本の幅さ Artwork Width 53 (6.32)

紙本の長さ Artwork Length 206 (24.57)

柱 Pillars 15 (1.79)

下一文字 Shita Ichimonji 8 (0.95)

地 Chi 73 (8.71)

掛け軸の幅さ Scroll Width 83 (9.90)

掛け軸の長さ Scroll Length 414 (49.39)

地 Chi 73 8.71

掛け軸の幅さ Scroll Width 83 9.90

掛け軸の長さ Scroll Length 414 49.39


Friday, December 16, 2011

First Name in Japanese Kakejiku

This wallscroll was ordered for a person who commissioned two scrolls for a wife's and daughter's first name. The first one is with a beautiful light pink Kireji (cloth) that is a silk. The pattern in the cloth is a faint, wispy line, so I tried to use the complementary flowing lines in the ichimonji to complement the design of the cloth.

In most situations, customers do not order special Kakehimo. Hanging thread, but in this case the customer put a lot of thought and ordered the Sakura, which is a pink thread with dark fleck design. It went really well with the scroll, and makes it that much better in my opinion. The shitan (rosewood) jikusaki also provides a good dark color to contrast well with the light pink.

The writing is done in a semi-cursive style called gyousho. It is a very nice design for this scroll. Dimensions of the scroll are listed below. If you would like to order a custom handmade scroll, contact to or visit to Other name scrolls can be viewed here. or here

Name in Kanji Name in English Size in Bun Size in Inches
Ten 105 12.53
上一文字 Ue Ichimonji 11 1.31
紙本の幅さ Artwork Width 76 9.07
紙本の長さ Artwork Length 105 12.53
Pillars 23.5 2.80
下一文字 Shita Ichimonji 6 0.72
Chi 68 8.11
掛け軸の幅さ Scroll Width 123 14.67
掛け軸の長さ Scroll Length 295 35.19   

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Suiseki Display Scroll

This was a commissioned scroll and is already sold. If you would like to purchase a custom kakejiku, please contact to or visit our online store at 

This customer ordered a scroll specifically to display with a Suiseki. We consulted on various aspects, and they chose to do it in a Nidan Hyougu (Two Step) style of scroll. My only concern is that my display Sensei dislikes the use of darker kireji (cloths) as he says it distracts from the main Suiseki/bonsai.

With that said, I think it is a pretty color combination with the gold to brown transition, giving it an earthy feel that could be matched well with the rock. The Enso, was also selected from some my wife, Ryugyoku had drawn previously. The scroll is complemented with a beautiful pair of Ebony (Kokutan) jikusaki and Kincha (Dark Gold) hanging string.

Dimensions are listed below:

Name in Kanji Name in English Size in Bun Size in Inches
Ten 115 13.72
上一文字 Ue Ichimonji 43 5.13
紙本の幅さ Artwork Width 89 10.62
紙本の長さ Artwork Length 67 7.99
Pillars 13 1.55
下一文字 Shita Ichimonji 27 3.22
Chi 75 8.95
掛け軸の幅さ Scroll Width 115 13.72
掛け軸の長さ Scroll Length 327 39.01

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Kakejiku - The Way of Inner Strength

If you would like to commission your own Martial Arts Scroll, please contact to

These three scrolls were commissioned as gifts. It reads "Seishin Ryoku Dou". The Karateka purchasing the scrolls wanted the phrase "Way of Inner Strength" translated into Japanese. We went through several iterations, until Yoshimi decided upon using Seishin 精神, which can mean Spirit, Soul, Mind, Heart, or Intention. Those words embody everything that is internal and spiritual. The Ryoku 力 is Strength, and many people are familiar with Dou 道 as "The Way".

The writing is done in a beautiful gyousho semi-cursive style, and each one is unique because they are slightly different. The cloth selected by the customer has a beautiful large blue pattern on a gold/brown background.

The scrolls are not exactly uniform in size or length, because they are being given as gifts, and so will hang in separate locations. Had they been hung together like the panther and dragon scrolls, I would have measured more precisely. Approximate dimensions listed below:

Name in Kanji Name in English Size Bun (Inches)

天 Ten 100 (11.93)

上一文字 Ue Ichimonji 10 (1.19)

紙本の幅さ Artwork Width 53 (6.32)

紙本の長さ Artwork Length 217 (25.89)

柱 Pillars 12 (1.43)

下一文字 Shita Ichimonji 6 (0.72)

地 Chi 65 (7.75)

掛け軸の幅さ Scroll Width 77 (9.19)

掛け軸の長さ Scroll Length 398 (47.48)

Monday, December 5, 2011

菊松道場 Kiku Matsu Dojo Hanging Wall Scroll

This customer ordered with a tight deadline and I was really worried whether it would be ready or not...but the scroll was just shipped this afternoon. This is a long thin scroll, with the Name of the Dojo in Gyousho or Semi-cursive style Japanese Calligraphy. I think the cloth is beautiful, and that is why I took a closeup of the cloth. It is styled with a deep gold on gold karakusa Ichimonji that transitions well into the green kireji. It is completed with a black lacquer wood jikusaki and a Takuboku design kake/makihimo.

Dimensions as follows:
Name in Kanji Name in English Size in Bun Size in Inches

天 Ten 115 13.72

上一文字 Ue Ichimonji 11 1.31

紙本の幅さ Artwork Width 54 6.44

紙本の長さ Artwork Length 218 26.01

柱 Pillars 16.5 1.97

下一文字 Shita Ichimonji 7 0.84

地 Chi 75 8.95

掛け軸の幅さ Scroll Width 87 10.38

掛け軸の長さ Scroll Length 426 50.82


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bonsai Display Critique 2

Kuzuhara Sensei's critique of a display at the Toko Kazari competition held at the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture...The picture on the left is the original display, and the photo on the right is Kuzuhara Sensei's photoshop suggestions to improve the display.
First off, the flow of the main tree and the placement of the display are opposite. In the case of using this main tree, it should be seated on the right hand side of the display, to make it a right to have it become a left flowing display. (Sashoute or Migishoute, I am not sure on the correct reading if it is considered one word or mixes on and kun yomi), because the bonsai's left hand side will create space. A tree that flows to the left should have the pot placed a little more to the right.
But because it was set up to be a display on the left flowing to the right please understand what I will say from this point on. This tree is not yet a finished bonsai, and I have done a virt to show how if it were to be a finished bonsai that was a Hidari Shoute (Flowing to the right) display how I would try to style it.
In the revised picture the pot, and foliage, as well as the table and accent placement provides more balance for the display. Additionally, the picture of the waterfall in the scroll follows the same pattern as the tree and is redundant to the display, and I slightly amended the picture in the scroll to try and minimize this effect.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Bonsai Kazari Critique

This critique is provided by Kuzuhara Hiroyuki, a Shihan rank bonsai display specialist. He wrote and sent this in Japanese, and I have translated it. The photos are from the Toko Kazari competition at the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture.

The critique of this display. The original display is on the left and the revised display with Kuzuhara Senseis recommendations is on the right.

This Shohin bonsai display when looking at a first glance seems to acheive unity among all the elements, but there are a few points of mistake in the rules of display.

First off, when displaying a Kengai or Hankengai as the main tree, it is good to use the tall table placed on top of this type of large jiita. However, this tree, with its thin trunk and styling would be considered more of a bunjin styling, and in this case it would be better to not use the table and place the bonsai directly on the jiita. Also, when using this type of large jiita it is a common rule if you are using an accent piece to place the accent in the upper right corner behind the tree.

The second point is that the height of this kusamono is too high.

The third point is that the picture in the scroll works well for this display, but for such a small (shohin size and thin trunk) tree, the scroll is much too big. I have made changes to the display to show how I think this would be an improved display. Please look at the two pictures. For the revision, I have used a Kuzuya, which is the way houses in olden times looked in Japan with the thatched grass roofs.Click image for larger version Name: No4-Shin_No_Shin_Scroll Revised Kuzuhara.jpg Views: 16 Size: 48.4 KB ID: 19352

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bonsai Toko no Ma Display

I have not submitted a post for quite a while because of illness and trying to manage about 7 orders with multiple scrolls. I vended at the Golden State Bonsai Federation convention in Riverside, California. It was a very slow year for me this convention, fortunately holiday orders in other market segments were up significantly. I thought there would be quite a few custom orders, but only one came about in the end, and a few off the shelf sales. However, there was one bright spot, a custom ordered scroll was used in a formal display competition at the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture. It was confirmed in a separate bonsai forum, that the person who commissioned the scroll also set up this display.

This was the 3rd Annual competition. The scroll was brushed in Sousho, full cursive style writing, which is often the preferred style of calligraphy when displaying a bonsai with Calligraphy. My display Sensei explained that the calligraphy does not compete with the tree, compared to the formal strong brush strokes associated with Block Print style writing.

The writing of the scroll says Ka Chou Fuu Getsu. It is four character idiom for the beauties of Nature. The characters are 花 flower, 鳥 bird, 風 wind, and 月 moon. A deeper explanation of the particular design of this scroll is provided here. I love the earth tone cloth selected, and the Gold on Green Ichimonji is a perfect complement to the work. This was the first customer to have a Kokutan (Ebony) Jikusaki onto the scroll, and it sets it apart as very beautiful.

There is one point in particular with the pairing that I love is the final brush stroke of the character moon, seems to complement the branching and trunk of the tree…It makes me feel good to know that some of my large scrolls are now coming to be used with these formal toko no ma bonsai displays.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Kawa Uso Otter Sumie Kakejiku


This is another painting by Mariusz Szmerdt. It is for sale and if you want to purchase the wallscroll contact to It  I kept this in the Maru Hyougu style because I wanted to keep it simple. I used a Navy silk with an Aka Renga (Brick Red) Ichimonji with a large Karakusa (arabesque).

In contrast to the other scroll, I kept the Kakehimo and the Jikusaki dark to be almost invisible. The Kakehimo is the kogecha color, and the Jikusaki is the Kokutan (ebony) style. I liked the scroll, except that there was a little Uki in the Ichimonji that I was not happy with.


Name in Kanji
Name in English
Size in Bun
Size in Inches
Ue Ichimonji
Artwork Width
Artwork Length
Shita Ichimonji
Scroll Width
Scroll Length

Friday, October 21, 2011

Coyote Howing at the Moon Sumie Kakejiku (Wallscroll)

This painting was done by the very talented Polish Artist Mariusz Szmerdt. It is for sale. For sale inquiries please contact to I requested him to complete some American themed paintings because several bonsai artists had written or spoken to me about not being able to understand the intricacies of Japanese displays, and a desire to have pieces that provide an American flair.

May be someone out there has a California Juniper that could go with this...

In designing this scroll, I thought it would be best to keep it very simple. The Fukuro Hyougu style fit this bill. The tan/dust color of the cloth was used to represent the desert sands of the southwest. I used the grey suji (Suji are the thin strips of cloth) and Nezumi (Mouse Colored) Kakehimo to be complementary to the clouds in the picture. The Dark Blue Jikusaki are ceramic and were used to represent the dark night time sky.

I was really pleased with how the scroll turned out, except for a small section of the suji in the Ten section. Dimensions are as follows:

Name in Kanji Name in English Size in Bun Size in Inches
Ten 80 9.54
Suji 1 0.12
Partition Bottom 35 4.18
紙本の幅さ Artwork Width 118 14.08
紙本の長さ Artwork Length 227 27.08
Pillars 19 2.27
Chi First Partition 30 3.58
Suji 2 0.24
Middle Partition 11 1.31
Bottom Partition 57 6.80
掛け軸の幅さ Scroll Width 156 18.61
掛け軸の長さ Scroll Length 443 52.85

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Aikidou Wallscroll on Sale

This scroll is available for purchase. I will sell it for $30.00 plus shipping.

This Aikidou scroll is written in the Sousho style which is a free hand full cursive writing. It is not a big scroll, but the cloth alone is worth the cost of the scroll. This is a Pure Silk, and has a very beautiful pattern.

Dimensions are listed in Bun Below:

Name in Kanji Name in English Size in Bun Size in Inches
Ten 71 8.47
上一文字 Ue Ichimonji 11 1.31
紙本の幅さ Artwork Width 38 4.53
紙本の長さ Artwork Length 106 12.64
Pillars 23.5 2.80
下一文字 Shita Ichimonji 7 0.84
Chi 37 4.41
掛け軸の幅さ Scroll Width 85 10.14
掛け軸の長さ Scroll Length 232 27.68

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Aikidou Calligraphy Scroll for Dojo

This kakejiku was made for an Aikidou Sensei in the South. The scroll is quite small, and is written in the Kaisho, or block print style. The scroll is on a light green cotton, and turned out quite nicely. It is written by Yoshimi Yamada Maples.

If you would like a custom Aikidou Scroll made for your dojo, please contact to Also look at these links for premade Aikidou Scrolls for sale.

Dimensions of this scroll are given in Bun as follows:

Name in Kanji Name in English Size in Bun Size in Millimeters Size in Inches

Name in Kanji Name in English Size in Bun Size in Millimeters Size in Inches

天 Ten 71 215.13 8.47

上中廻し Ue Ichimonji 11 33.33 1.31

紙本の幅さ Artwork Width 38 115.14 4.53

紙本の長さ Artwork Length 106 321.18 12.64

柱 Pillars 23.5 71.205 2.80

下中廻し Shita Ichimonji 7 21.21 0.84

地 Chi 37 112.11 4.41

掛け軸の幅さ Scroll Width 85 257.55 10.14

掛け軸の長さ Scroll Length 232 702.96 27.68

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

初心 Shoshin in Sousho on Shikishi

This shikishi board was ordered by a customer as a return order. He is having it made for a student that recently passed his shodan (black belt) examination. When I explained that there is a double meaning to the word this was the comment.

What you explained was exactly why I wanted this work for the new shodan.  I wanted something that would mean something now, and after their training progressed meant something new to them later.
If you would like to order a custom shikishi written by Ryugyoku then contact to 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Touryuumon Revisited

This scroll is for sale, and would be good for dojo's that want to incorporate a phrase for perserverance and persistance in the face of challenges. For inquiries on pricing contact to

Bonsai artists would have had a field day if this was the scroll that I originally wanted to display in the Toko no Ma display at the Toko Kazari competition at the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture.....but as it is that scroll was still not traditional enough.

Because most Westerners can not read Kanji to a high level of proficiency, one of my philosophies of scroll frame design is to convey a message through the cloth consistent with the meaning of the word or phrase.

In this case, I took the Dragon cloth pattern that is very clearly visible, and put it into the meaning of the transformation of the Koi into a Dragon. This scroll is in a simple Fukuro Hyougu style, because I wanted the viewer to focus solely on the lettering and visually see the transformation into the dragon. I used a larger jikubou and jikusaki for this scroll to provide a better view of the dragon.

Scroll Measurements as follows:
 Name in Kanji Name in English Size in Bun Size in Millimeters Size in Inches 

天 Ten 110 333.3 13.12

上中廻し Ue Ichimonji 0 0 0.00

紙本の幅さ Artwork Width 84 254.52 10.02

紙本の長さ Artwork Length 146 442.38 17.42

柱 Pillars 11 33.33 1.31

下中廻し Shita Ichimonji 0 0 0.00

地 Chi 76 230.28 9.07

掛け軸の幅さ Scroll Width 106 321.18 12.64

掛け軸の長さ Scroll Length 332 1005.96 39.60

Thursday, October 6, 2011

愛 (Ai) Love Mini Kakejiku

This small wallscroll is for sale. Please contact to for pricing.

This scroll is in a  Sandan Hyougu style. However, the jikubou is a 5 bun wood piece with no jikusaki. The hassou is a hard wrapped paper. I made this scroll with the small left over pieces of cloth that I did not want to discard.

It is written by Yoshimi Yamada Maples and is in the Gyousho or semi cursive style, with a non-traditional flair. It is only 10 inches long by 7 inches wide.

Actual dimensions are in Bun Below:
Name in Kanji Name in English Size in Bun

天 Ten 27

上中廻し Ue Chuumawashi 10

上一文字 Ue Ichimonji 3.5

紙本の幅さ Artwork Width 49

紙本の長さ Artwork Length 35

柱 Pillars 7

下一文字 Shita Ichimonji 2

下中廻し Shita Chuumawashi 5

地 Chi 12

掛け軸の幅さ Scroll Width 63

掛け軸の長さ Scroll Length 91

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Enso Circle Handmade Wallscroll

This scroll is no longer available for sale and immediate shipment. For inquiries to have a custom Enso scroll made please contact to


This scroll was made with the remainder of cloth used for other scrolls. That is the reason for the small size. There can be good reason to also have scrolls made smaller than usual. I like the flow of the light to darker to darkest contrast of the scroll. The plastic ivory color jikusaki provides a good feel to the scroll. This scroll is in the Maru Hyougu style, which is the basic Japanese style of framing the artwork. It is simple, and not overly complex.
The gold in this cloth really pops to the viewer against the grey background. I love this Kinran, it provides an excellent flowing feel like the calligraphy brush circle. The brushwork was done by Ryugyoku, Yoshimi Maples.
Dimensions of the scroll are as follows:
Name in KanjiName in EnglishSize in BunSize in MillimetersSize in Inches
上一文字Ue Ichimonji1133.331.31
紙本の幅さArtwork Width88266.6410.50
紙本の長さArtwork Length67203.017.99
下一文字Shita Ichimonji721.210.84
掛け軸の幅さScroll Width124375.7214.79
掛け軸の長さScroll Length174527.2220.76