SOAS University of London

SOAS History of Art and Archaeology student interviewed on CNN

17 April 2020
Kaoru Akagawa
Kaoru Akagawa. Image by Stefan Eichberg

Contemporary artist, master of Japanese calligraphy (kana shodō) and current SOAS MA History of Art and Archaeology student Kaoru Akagawa recently gave an interview with CNN on her challenge to revive ancient kana calligraphy scripts called ‘Woman's Hand’: these ornate calligraphic forms gave medieval female writers freedom to express themselves within the confines of medieval Japanese court life, but are no longer used in day-to-day life within contemporary Japan as a result of modernization. Kaoru fuses traditional calligraphy with new techniques in a vivid and emotive new style that she calls 'kana art'.

kojiki by Kaoru Akagawa
kojiki by Kaoru Akagawa. Image by Kaoru Akagawa
Loading the player...

Kaoru Akagawa CNN interview on YouTube

As the guardian of these ‘Woman's Hand’ scripts, Akagawa juxtaposes her technique as a master of kana shodō together with her globe-trotting background to infuse new energy into her own unique style of kana art. Akagawa has held numerous exhibitions, workshops and lectures throughout Europe and in Japan and is now studying again at SOAS to reinforce and enrich her perspective. CNN reports on Akagawa’s story and her never-ending challenge to preserve this abandoned female tradition.

Fujin by Kaoru Akagawa
Fujin by Kaoru Akagawa. Image by Kaoru Akagawa