Thursday, July 8, 2010

Tanabata 七夕祭り Matsuri

Separated by the milky way, two star crossed lovers are only able to meet once a year on the seventh day of the seventh month. Thus starts the legend of Hikoboshi (the star Alter) and Orihime (Vega) who is the daughter of Emperor Tentei, and is also a very skilled weaver.

The legend continues, as Orihime sat alongside the the river of heaven (the milky way) she was overcome with sadness due to the fact that she hadn't fallen in love, because she was so busy weaving. The emperor witness her woeful state and arranges a marriage between her and Hikoboshi who lived across the river. The couple was very much in love, however Orihime was neglecting her weaving. Tentei, angered by Orihime's neglect, separates the couple.

Tentei decreed that the couple would only be allowed to see each other on one night each year – on the seventh day of the seventh month. The Tanabata festival (also know as the star festival) celebrates the reuniting of these lovers with sprigs of bamboo, sometimes small and sometimes the size of a tree, decorated with origami and tanzuku (papers with wishes writen on them).

I have been practicing shodo (Japanese calligraphy) for the past 5 months with a very patient and skilled sensei at a community center in Sannomiya. One of the staff at the center requested that I write a banner for the Tanabata Matsuri 七夕祭り and I added some sumi-e to accompany it. Working with ink and brush is rather difficult and unforgiving, but I have seen some improvement over the past weeks.


  1. You did the caligraphy and sumi-e in the photos? Beautiful work!