Japan’s annual tradition of holding a national calligraphy contest to welcome the New Year gathered about 3,000 people in Tokyo on Wednesday.
The ritual: inking brushes to scribble people’s resolutions, wishes, or any lucky Chinese character to usher in the New Year. With the use of a traditional horse-hair brush and ink made of charcoal, people from in and out of Japan and of varying ages participated to showcase their “calligraphic portrayals” of 2012.
Contestants included those from the Fukushima prefecture. “I wasn’t sure if I would be able to write well, but I did better than I thought so I think it’s good,” said Natsumi Yazawa, a 14-year-old from Fukushima to Reuters.
Calligraphy, believed by many to improve mental faculty and concentration, is a highly regarded art in Asia. In Japan, there are three systems of writing: hiragana and katakana which have characters for each syllable and the Chinese characters used to represent full words.
The calligraphy works will be judged according to the strict rules on calligrapher’s skills such as the flow, line strength and angles. Winners will be announced on January 23rd.