Words are the voice of your heart.
Calligraphy is a picture of it.
Jojoo (抒情) – to connect to your own, inner well – is a movement within the ancient spiritual art form of Japanese calligraphy that uses the authentic tools and traditional techniques and builds on its knowledge to explore the shared root of the human soul, seeking to free the creative and artistic spirit inside and reconnect us all.
Jojoo Calligrapher / Artist
I was born in 1980 and have been making calligraphy since the age of 2. At the age of 5, I was commissioned to create calligraphy works for the first page of the national monthly fashion and lifestyle magazine ミセス for a whole year. This caught the attention of the media and in 1987, I was featured in the 1 hour documentary film, Ayane's Four Seasons, that was shown on TV Asahi, a national television broadcaster.
My mother, Shukin Muroya, a former calligraphy teacher, has instructed me in calligraphy techniques ever since I can remember. My father, Isshu Muroya, who is the founder of Jojoo calligraphy, taught me the ways of this free and expressive style of calligraphy.
At the age of 13, I left Japan to study in England and in 2003, I graduated from Central Saint Martin’s College with a B.A. in Fine Art. My work has been exhibited in Osaka, Tokyo, Kyoto, London, Berlin, Leipzig and Geneva. It has also been featured in numerous newspapers, magazines and TV programs and appeared on water bottles, sake labels and chopstick wrappings.
Since settling in Noto, I have become a representative of Ishikawa and Noto-Town, bringing international artists to the area for joint exhibitions and holding a series of annual shows at the Shiinoki Cultural Complex in Kanazawa.
In a further effort to help culturally invigorate the local area, I have started teaching Jojoo calligraphy at my Tokarin Studio in Uchiura-Nago, and am giving introductory lessons to foreign visitors who are interested in trying out one of Japan's oldest art forms.
“庭園芸術Vol.13” (2017) - Tsujike Teien Commercial
At Atelier Tokarin in Uchiura-Nago, I am teaching Jojoo calligraphy and offering introductory lessons to foreign visitors who are interested in trying out one of Japan's oldest art forms.
The Jojoo calligraphy movement believes that real authentic tools and materials have a warmth and depth, an energy, not found in cheaper, mass-produced products. The natural Sumi inks, handmade brushes, Suzuri stone plates and Washi paper produced by Shokunin craftsmen are known in Japan as the “four treasures”. They have strong, unique characters, they can be willful and don't always get along with each other, but when harmony is achieved, something special happens. Maybe that is why, in China, they are known as the “four friends”.
Finding the right brush to suit the piece is crucial. That is why I have a large collection, ranging from fine craftsman-made fur and feather brushes to simple straw bundles and tree branches. I use any natural material that fits and feels right and sometimes will use several different ones for a single kanji.
The sumi ink sticks I use come in a variety of colours and are all traditionally made from natural oils and hand-collected soot from wood fires. When mixed with soft spring water, the deep natural colours of the ink smoothly fades on the edges and harmoniously blends with the paper.
Suzuri Stone Plates
For me, making ink is a slow, meditative process during which I visualise the work I will make and clear my mind to reach my center. I use stone plates made from some of Japan’s finest ink stones, such as Akama, Tosa Nakamura, and Ogatsu, because of their unparalleled smoothness and even response.
Traditionally, Washi paper is made in a refined process in harmony with nature. Every year Kozo trees are planted and the mature ones are harvested. Then from a mixture of shredded bark and spring water, paper is hand-scooped and dried with wood fires. I use Nigyo Washi and Kyuden Washi paper for my work and my calligraphy lessons, as they are the only papermakers in Noto still continuing this century old craft.
Founded in 1949, the Nigyo Washi workshop mixes Kozo bark with locally-found materials, such as seaweed, bamboo, cedar bark, flower petals, leaves and seashells, and 100% natural dyes.
Washi paper from the Kyuden area was first mentioned in historical documents dating back to 1655. Traditionally made using only Kozo bark, Kyuden Washi makes very strong paper that comes in a variety of vivid colours and experimental ideas.