[I-House Press] Taction: The Drama of the Stylus in Oriental Calligraphy

Taction: The Drama of the Stylus in Oriental Calligraphy By Ishikawa Kyuyoh
Taction: The Drama of the Stylus in Oriental Calligraphy
By Ishikawa Kyuyoh

Translated by Waku Miller
First English edition, 2011.
324 pages, hardcover.
ISBN 978-4-903452-21-0
Originally published in Japanese in 2005 by Chuokoron Shinsha as Sho: Hisshoku no uchu o yomitoku.
2,619 yen / Special price*: 1,832 yen (inclusive of tax)
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You have in your hands an unprecedented account of the history of East Asian calligraphy. Here is a book every bit as accessible and fascinating for noncalligraphers and for individuals unversed in kanji as it is for calligraphers and for kanji-literate readers. The author, Ishikawa Kyuyoh, speaks of “the drama of the stylus” [brush and chisel], and he brings that drama alive by positioning it in compelling context: historical and spiritual, as well as artistic and cultural.

Ishikawa has been a leading light in the calligraphic firmament for more than 40 years. He has continuously highlighted new expressive possibilities through work that is at once avant-garde and firmly rooted in calligraphic tradition.

As interpreted by Ishikawa, calligraphy’s spiritual orientation engenders a powerful creative tension. “The calligrapher’s tension,” he insists, “is part of the spiritual awareness that is inseparable from the act of writing. It is the unrelenting self-scrutiny of the calligrapher who would fulfill a commitment akin to a holy vow.”

From the translator’s introduction

From this volume’s blurbs

“Taction presents a highly original perspective on East Asian calligraphy. Ishikawa Kyuyoh traces the origins and development of Oriental ‘writing for the sake of writing’ in reference to the tactility of chisel work and brushwork. . . . He reminds us anew that writing trumps the spoken word in kanji cultures.”

—Takashina Shuji, former director, National Museum of Western Art

“Ishikawa Kyuyoh’s calligraphy, infused with a keen sense of form, is a highly contemporary evocation of kanji’s aesthetic possibilities.”

—Tsutsumi Seiji, president of the Saison Foundation, poet, and author