The biggest challenge
for me was learning new languages. I had studied English, but long
ago and only superficially, because of the changes in the school
system after the war. Obviously it was going to be hard work, and
I was well aware that I had little talent for learning foreign languages.
So I left Japan, with my only support my gentle, loving husband,
who was always been a great help to me.
Before I left, my master had spoken to me about his dream: to spread
the art of calligraphy. I arrived in Montreal feeling somewhat confident
and more than a bit worried. It was far from clear to me that I
would be able to fulfil my master's expectations.
I got settled as best I could in this city. I started out by recruiting
Japanese-born Montrealers as students. Gradually, Canadians of all
backgrounds came to see me. The turning point came in 1980, when
I finally founded the Japanese
Calligraphy School, where
I would be able to teach this art in a more structured and pleasant
setting. The next step was to organize an. exhibition,
to familiarize Montrealers with our work. After discussing it at
length with my more advanced students, I decided to return to Japan
to plan the exhibition. Through a friend, I was introduced to the
head of the Japan Calligraphy
Education Foundation, the
leading organization in this field. During our meeting, he strongly
suggested that our school become his association's Montreal
branch. In addition, he agreed to evaluate the work of our Canadian
students hoping to obtain official certification at different levels.
Following that decisive meeting, I was finally able to fulfil my
dream: the first calligraphy exhibition was held in April 1982 at
the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal. Since then, the exhibition
has become an annual cultural event, back this year for the sixteenth
time. In January 1984, we also opened a school in Quebec City. Since
then, large numbers of students have taken up calligraphy at our
two schools; some of them have been with us for more than ten years.
If they wish, students may send their work to Japan and be officially
certified in the different techniques.