Embracing the Artistry of Kakizome (書初め): Dive into Japan’s New Year Tradition


Hello everyone! Today, let’s delve into the exquisite tradition of Japanese culture known as “Kakizome.” Kakizome is a splendid event held to celebrate the New Year, offering an opportunity to appreciate Japan’s aesthetic sensibilities and the artistic essence of calligraphy. So, let’s take a closer look at Kakizome.

What is Kakizome?

Kakizome is a traditional Japanese event where people write characters or poems to express their aspirations and wishes for the new year. By putting thoughts and desires into writing, Kakizome celebrates the beginning of a new year. It serves as a wonderful occasion to appreciate Japan’s culture and aesthetic sensibilities.

History and Origin of Kakizome

The history of Kakizome dates back to ancient China, where writing characters or poems during the New Year was a custom to pray for a bountiful harvest and happiness, celebrating the start of a new year. This custom was passed on to Japan, evolving into Kakizome. In Japan, it was practiced among nobles and warriors since the Heian period and later spread to the general populace.

Meaning and Purpose of Kakizome

Kakizome signifies the act of encapsulating wishes and resolutions suitable for the new year into characters or poems. By expressing inner thoughts in writing, one can foster positive feelings for the new year. Moreover, Kakizome serves as a splendid opportunity to deepen bonds with family and friends.

Preparation and Ceremony of Kakizome

To perform Kakizome, you’ll need beautiful washi paper, ink, and brushes. Washi paper contributes to the traditional texture and quality crucial for calligraphy. Ink offers rich and beautiful colors, while brushes are used to express characters beautifully. On the day of Kakizome, families and friends gather to write characters or poems together, celebrating the New Year. The created pieces are then displayed in homes or shrines, symbolizing the beginning of a new year.

Artistry and Enjoyment of Kakizome

Kakizome emphasizes the importance of writing beautiful characters or poems, thus highlighting its artistic nature. It requires the skill and aesthetic sensibility of calligraphy to create delicate and graceful pieces. Moreover, engaging in Kakizome allows one to savor the charm of Japanese traditional culture and calligraphy. It’s an opportunity to spend enjoyable moments with family and friends while creating beautiful artworks.

In Conclusion

Kakizome is one of Japan’s beautiful traditional cultures, a splendid event held to celebrate the New Year. Through characters or poems, one can express personal thoughts and wishes, fostering positive feelings for the upcoming year. I encourage you to experience the essence of Japanese beauty through Kakizome.