Hideko Isaji Collection of Calligraphy and Paintings (English Edition)

(著) 伊佐次日出子



This is the calligrapher Hideko Isaji’s first collection of works.

It contains an enjoyable and richly diverse collection featuring not only brush-drawn works but also pen lettering and picture postcards.
I am a publishing company salesman. When I happened upon Ms. Isaji’s works, I fell completely in love. “Please, by all means, let us introduce your works to much larger audience.” My impassioned love call paid off and resulted in the publication of this collection of works.
I have never been a student of calligraphy, and when it comes to hand-written works, I am a complete novice. But for some reason, Ms. Isaji’s works capture my heart.
Here, I would like to describe my personal thoughts on what makes her works so charming.
Before that, though, allow me to introduce you to Ms. Isaji.

Hideko Isaji was born in 1932. When she was three years old, her mother passed away, and as a young woman, she lived through WWII. After graduating from a women’s school in Kobe, she met her husband and raised two children.
My first impression upon meeting her was, “What? Are you really 87 years old?” Even now, she continues to work in real estate management, and due to her exceedingly cheerful and powerful personality, I am re-energized every time I meet her.
It’s not just a business relationship. We are more like good friends who happen to be years apart in age. When I visit her home, she serves up a table full of delicious, home-cooked dishes, and she gives me warm, caring advice, such as when I opened up to her that I want to start looking for a marriage partner.
She loves pleasing people and cherishes her connections with others. She is like a second mother to me.
She began to learn calligraphy in earnest from around the age of 60, when she was no longer so busy with child-rearing and had acquire more free time. For more than 20 years, she has been earnestly practicing calligraphy at a culture center in Kobe City every week without fail.

She currently possesses teaching qualifications that would enable her to open her own calligraphy school.
It is often said that a person’s handwriting is a window into their soul, and Ms. Isaji’s works possess a warmth similar to her cheerful personality, and through them, one can feel the gentle way that she regards the objects of her writings. I believe that Ms. Isaji is a person of love. I feel that her love for her husband and children, her love for her friends and calligraphy associates, and her compassion in wanting to please others are embodied within her writings as well.
In addition, her style is versatile and changes according to the theme of each work - powerful at times, solemn or dignified at times, and yet calm and gentle at other times. This would not be possible without a solid command of calligraphy techniques. She is able to experiment and challenge herself so diversely precisely because she is such a skilled calligrapher.

Yujiro Nakano, Publishing Planning Division, 22nd Century Art, Inc.

Heart Sutra
Pen Lettering

[About the Author]
Hideko Isaji

Born in Aichi Prefecture in 1932.
Lost her mother at the age of three and was taken in by family living in Kobe.
Evacuated to Nagoya due to WWII.
Moved to Kobe after the war to attend a woman’s school.
Studied calligraphy at the office of Minatogawa Shrine in Kobe City.
Later, joined calligraphy and painting classes held at a cultural center in Kobe City.
Even now, continues to practice calligraphy as a hobby.