The United Nations

The United Nations



NHK News Web

I had a calligraphy performance at the UN in a collaborative event with Sahoko Sato Timpone ( Mezzo-Soprano ) on Friday, June 16, at 1-3pm. This was the third event of “Peace is … ” and I selected the words “Peace is Unity “.

Part I: Waves (Blue Ink) Kana style

– Classical Japanese poem evoking images of ocean waves

Part II: Flow (Black Ink) Contemporary style

– Various kanji representing different aspects of the sea:  波 ( Wave ), 流動 ( Flow ), 風 ( Wind ),光 ( Light ), 影 ( Shadow ), 希望( Hope ),源( Origin )

Part III: Light and Wind (Gold Ink) Manyogana

– from the classical Japanese anthology of One Hundred Poems, which expresses love with metaphors relating to nature.

After the performance, guests wrote their messages of peace in their respective mother languages on Japanese “washi” paper and on stones/seashells which will be thrown onto the “paper ocean”.

I felt peace when I taught my first calligraphy class. There my student brought his grandmother, as the lesson was for her birthday. Since English was not a native language for either of us, our way of communicating was through calligraphy. She wanted to write ” love” for her grandson as a sign of appreciation. So I took her hand and guided her through the movements.

This is how I teach with unity and why it means peace to me.

The United Nations “Peace is… Unity”

The United Nations “Peace is… Unity”

I will be performing at the United Nations on Friday, June 16, 2017, 2-3pm at the UN Visitor’s Lobby. This will be a collaborative performance with Sahoko Sato Timpone (Mezzo-soprano). The overarching theme of this series of events is Peace. This month’s theme, within that, is “Sea and Wind”.  I hope that you will be able to enjoy the opportunity to participate in this event by writing what peace means to you on a shell or a pebble, and placing it on the washi paper that I will be writing on for the performance.

RAINBOW BRIDGE at Park Hotel Tokyo

RAINBOW BRIDGE at Park Hotel Tokyo


— Live Performance with Pianist Greg Mckenzie at the Park Hotel Tokyo, his sound is very soulful with influences from many styles and cultures, ranging from western classical music to Japanese nursery rhymes.

Artist in Hotel

Artist in Hotel

— The Park Hotel Tokyo, in December 2012, started the “Artist in Hotel” project where an artist decorates an entire guest rooms.  All the guest rooms on the 31st floor will be so decorated.  For my performance I reproduced one of the pieces I created for the Artist Room “One Hundred Poems by Masako Inkyo.”


“The truth is, hiragana really has this kind of freedom.” It was as though this thought physically struck me in the back of the head the first time I saw the room she created. This was at the very beginning of the “Artist in Hotel” project to, basically, turn hotel rooms into works of art, putting words and images directly onto their walls and ceilings. We had no idea how it would turn out and were desperately looking for artists who had the ability to undertake this challenge. It was during this time that I was brought together with Master Inkyo. She presented an innovative plan.

First, treat the walls as folding screens. Then, have a Milky Way of kana flow across the sky along with clouds pouring down rain of one hundred poems from one hundred poets. Across the front wall, the seasons would be represented by the classic Japanese word “Setsugekka”, meaning “snow, moon, flower”, which alludes to the seasons. The overall theme would be the classic text “One Hundred Poets, One Hundred Poems” (Hyakunin Isshu). It was perfect for our goal of introducing the beauty of Japan to visitors from other countries. This is how the room was transformed into a beautiful art space.

There is nothing else I can say about it. The delicacy and strength of the writings and their beauty backed up by such technical skill. Even if written vertically on the walls, her writing loses none of its power. I truly thank you, Master Inkyo. It is my hope to share your work with many guests.”


Atsushi Ono

Hotel Manager, Park Hotel Tokyo