Koji Kakinuma – Exploring Calligraphy

2013.11.23(Sat.) - 2014.3.2(Sun.)



2013.11.23(Sat.) - 2014.3.2(Sun.)
10:00 - 18:00 (until 20:00 on Fridays and Saturdays)


21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa


Mondays, December 24, 29 to January 1, and January 14 (Open on December 23, January 13, and Feburuary 10)


Adult: ¥1,000 (¥800)
University: ¥800 (¥600)
Elem/ JH/ HS: ¥400 (¥300)
65 and over: ¥800
※( ) indicate advance ticket and group rates (20 or more).

For More Information:

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
Phone: +81-76-220-2800
Facsimile: +81-76-220-2802
E-Mail: info@kanazawa21.jp

Calligrapher Koji Kakinuma—born in 1970, lives and works in Tokyo. At five years old he took up the brush, first under father, Suiryu Kakinuma, and later Yukei Teshima and Ichijo Uematsu. Asking "Is Shodo art? Am I an artist?" Kakinuma has continually pushed the boundaries of Shodo, the Japanese art of calligraphy.
Kakinuma brings to Shodo a contemporary vision grounded in tradition. He probes the principle of calligraphy in an endeavor to see calligraphy as a contemporary art form. "Inhale, exhale—use the brush freely!" is the figure of calligraphy he aspires to.
Kakinuma’s expressive style takes many forms. "Rinsho" (brushing after a model) is a platform for dialogue with master calligraphers and people of the ancient past. "Encounters"—an offshoot of Rinsho—are his interpretations of others’ words in the Kakinuma style. His "super-large-scale works" are pictorial investigations using charcoal ink. Then, there is "performance," where he shares the creative process with an audience, "trancework"—countless repetitions of simple, powerful phrases, and "installations" that give temporal and spatial development to calligraphy on grand scale.
The calligraphy of Koji Kakinuma is thus an "art of today" that draws from calligraphy, contemporary art, and sub-culture. It is calligraphy of hope that looks to tomorrow. It is calligraphy of possibility, free and open to the future. This exhibition will present the world of Koji Kakinuma through some 700 of his foremost works.

AKIMOTO Yuji, Exhibition Curator
Director, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa

Related Projects

Artist Talks

*Japanese language only
Date/time: Saturday November 23, 2013 14:00-15:30
Speaker: KAKINUMA Koji (Artist)
AKIMOTO Yuji (Director, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa)
Venue: Lecture Hall, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
Admission: No charge (with a ticket to this exhibition)
Capacity: First 70 arrivals (prior application required)
NOTE: Application Closed

Artist Profile


    Born in Yaita, Tochigi prefecture in 1970. Took up the brush at five and studied under Suiryu Kakinuma (father), Yukei Teshima, and Ichijo Uematsu. Graduated from the Department of Visual and Performing Arts, Tokyo Gakugei University. In 2006-2007, worked at Princeton University as a visiting calligrapher.
    Asking "Is Shodo art? Am I an artist?" Kakinuma has created a highly individual style, enabled by his command of traditional Shodo skills and avant-garde spirit. He is credited both in Japan and internationally with transcending the framework of calligraphy to create a new form of contemporary art.
    His numerous awards include the Higashi Kuninomiya Prize in spring 2012, the 1st Yaita City Citizens Prize, the 4th Yukei Teshima Prize, the Dokuritsu Shotensen Prize, the Dokuritsu Shojindan 50th Memorial Award, and The Mainichi Calligraphy Exhibition Award (twice). He has executed the title artwork for the 2007 NHK Taiga Drama "The Warrior Ideal (Furin Kazan)," Kitano Takeshi’s movie "Achilles and the Tortoise," and Kadokawa Pictures movie "Saigo no Chushingura," as well as the gate nameplates for Kyushu University and Kyushu University Hospital. He has been featured in such programs as "NHK Top Runner," "Shumi Doraku," "Yokoso Senpai Kagai Jugyo," "Studio Park," MBS "The Passionate Land," NTV "Rock You," and a Bose TV commercial.
    Kakinuma’s performances range from traditional calligraphy to dynamic large-scale works, using large brushes, and tranceworks. He has won international acclaim at the New York MET, Kennedy Center (Washington DC), Philadelphia Museum of Arts, London County Hall, and KODO Earth Celebration. He is currently president and a registered artist/calligrapher of Office Kakinuma Inc.

Related publication

  • Koji Kakinuma Sho no Michi 'Pa—'

    A catalogue featuring the artist’ s works and exhibition scenes.
    Essays: NAGOYA Akira (Chief Curator, The Gotoh Museum)
    AKIMOTO Yuji (Director, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa)
    Publication: My Book Service Co.
    Design: Tokyo Pistol Co., LTD.
    Price: ¥2,500 (tax inc.)
    Scheduled release: January 2, 2014
    * Changes in planning are apt to occur. We ask your understanding.



Organized by:

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa (Kanazawa Art Promotion and Development Foundation)

Patronized by:


In Cooperation with:

Yuyama Shunpodo, General Incorporated Foundations World Paper Heritage Support Foundation KAMIMORI, Toyodo, Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum and Yaita City, Tochigi Prefecture