- Title: JAPAN: Nearly 3,000 take part in New Years calligraphy challenge
- Date: 5th January 2011
- Summary: TOKYO, JAPAN (JANUARY 5, 2011) (REUTERS) NIPPON BUDOKAN BUILDING SIGN THAT READS IN JAPANESE "CALLIGRAPHY CHALLENGE" JAPANESE FLAG AND CALLIGRAPHY CHALLENGE PARTICIPANTS WAITING TO BEGIN PARTICIPANT PLACING BRUSH NEAR INKWELL EVENT ORGANIZER HITTING DRUM TO BEGIN PARTICIPANTS WRITING PARTICIPANT USING BRUSH TO WRITE PARTICIPANTS INSIDE OF HALL WRITING (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 60-YEAR-OLD PARTICIPANT, YASUKO IKEDA, SAYING: "I originally came as my nephew had been coming a few times, and now I've come 13 times in a row. This is what I've decided to put my efforts into until the end of the New Year's season. I come every year."
- Embargoed: 20th January 2011 12:00
- Location: Japan, Japan
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment / Showbiz,Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVADTBIVV7EHG05I7IOV1ECGR59C
- Story Text: Nearly 3,000 participants gathered in Tokyo on Wednesday (January 5) from as far away as Brazil to break out their brushes and bring in 2011.
Traditionally, in the first days of a new year, people across Japan write their resolutions, wishes or auspicious Chinese characters to commemorate the coming of the new year.
Participants came from all over Japan and ranged from those barely old enough to write all the way up to 80-somethings.
The contestants were given 24 minutes to complete their calligraphic portrayals of the year ahead using a thick, horse-hair brush and ink made from charcoal.
"I originally came as my nephew had been coming a few times, and now I've come 13 times in a row. This is what I've decided to put my efforts into until the end of the New Year's season. I come every year," said 60-year-old Yasuko Ikeda after finishing.
The assigned Chinese characters ranged from "New Year" to "Vibrant Nature", with the characters assigned based on the contestant's age.
"I hope that, like I wrote, I can get through this year without catching a cold or getting sick," said 12-year-old Yuki Oogane who wrote the Chinese characters for "Healthy Child".
This year also saw a group of students from a Japanese language school based in Sao Paulo, Brazil participating.
"It is a different experience because we don't have that in Brazil. It was different and new," 16-year-old Kevin Kenji Ishii said when asked how it was to practice calligraphy in Japan.
Calligraphy is a widely practiced and revered art in many parts of Asia. The act of writing Chinese characters is believed to sharpen the mind and improve concentration.
The pieces once collected will be reviewed by the judges according to the strict rules, which govern the calligrapher's skills, and prizes will be given after the decision on January 23.
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