In Japanese, kakizome (書き初め) means "the first writing of the year". It became an official celebration between years 1844 and 1872, and originally was based on the kyūreki (旧暦), i.e. Japanese lunisolar calendar. Kakizome was endorsed by the famous Terakoya school (寺子屋) during the Edo period (江戸時代, 1603-1868).
Initially, kakizome was a very formal and significant event. People gathered and wrote their first calligraphy works, either in front of the statues of Sugawara no Michizane (菅原 道真, 845 – 903 C.E.), who was considered the Scholar Sage, and who lived during the early Heian period (平安時代 794 – 1185 C.E.), or, on the ground of numerous Tanmangu Shintō shrines (天満宮), shrines devoted to the spirit of Michizane.
Today, kakizome is still celebrated in Japan, although it is not as much popular as it was in its early days. Simply because, only a small percentage of people have time and patience to study calligraphy.
Traditionally, phrases used for kakizome were short poems, very often related to upcoming spring, and welcoming the changes in weather and scenery. Such texts were written on paper, and then burnt during the Sagichō (左義長) fire festival. It is said, that if the wind lifts the ashes up into the skies, the caligraphy skills of whoever performed the ritual, will improve during the upcoming year.
Every year, I participate in the national level kakizome calligraphy contest in Japan. The 2013 is the third consecutive year when my calligraphy work has won the gold award.
This year I wrote a Chinese phrase: 萬山春色歸, which could be translated as "A mountain range has shifted its colours to a spring scenery". It is a fragment of a longer poem titled "early spring", from Tang dynasty (唐朝, 618 - 907 C.E.) period, and I believe it was composed by Liu Wei (劉威). Calligraphy is in clerical script / 35x135 cm.
Ponte Ryuurui (品天龍涙)