Ai Takaoka / Calligrapher Kyoto

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As it is

Live honestly with your inner thoughts.

I wrote because I wanted to. I was excited. I was overjoyed.

For me, “just as I am” is the way of life that I truly enjoy. After worrying, suffering, and worrying, I arrived at “as it is”.the destination is “just as one is.” I feel that it is a true joy and a moment of approaching emptiness.

I travel occasionally. Journeys to feel the power of nature. I’ve touched the incredible energy of nature many times before.

A volcano on the Big Island of Hawai’i. A Jomon cedar that I met when traveling 11 hours round trip to Yakushima. The vast red earth that I met in Monument Valley, USA. I was thrilled. It was not excitement for nature itself, but rather excitement for the inspiration born from the energy I received from nature, which is refined within myself and emerges as calligraphy.

Feelings that can only be felt at this moment, feelings that can never be expressed again. My emotional energy explodes and becomes an expression called calligraphy. I express myself just as I am without hesitation. I amalive. I am enlivened.

If I can help people in the world with a way of life that I enjoy, it will greatly expand my joy.

Not being selfish or complacent, but rather living honestly with your inner thoughts. It may actually be a hard road. However, I feel that it leads to a way of life that I truly enjoy.

If I could be of help to others.

I have struggled with interpersonal relationships since childhood. Even now, I continue to be troubled by communication with people, and there are many times when I can’t sleep because I think too much. There was a time when I was working an office job for nine years, but it was difficult for someone like me to continue. In 2006, I wasn’t able to hold back my feelings towards calligraphy any longer, and I decided to leave my office life to pursue a career as a calligrapher.

It was a very hard life. But at the same time, it’s a life of joy.

What if, at that time, I hadn’t been honest with my inner thoughts, my thoughts as they were? I think I would have lost the will to live.

When I chose to become a calligrapher, I used to write what I wanted to write and express what I wanted to express more than I do now. That feeling hasn’t changed, but gradually I started to feel that I want to contribute to many people through my work.

Every time I hold a solo exhibition, I have received many kind words, such as that my work saved me, gave me strength, gave me courage, and so on. Each time, by continuing to write as I was, that sentiment became even stronger: If I could be of help to others.

And above all, I am who I am today because of the support of the people I met when I was struggling.

Do what makes you happy.

I live with the support of many people. I want to give back to all of you. With that in mind,I keep thinking about what I can do. Still,for me,there is nothing but “writing”. That is the joy of approaching emptiness.

Follow your inner thoughts and do what makes you truly happy. That is how I live as I am.

I want the people I meet to be like that,too. I want you to be yourselves. I want you to focus on your own joy.

For me,it just happened to be “writing,”but people have different ways of living and expressing themselves. I believe that each person has their own way of life.

I want to create calligraphy of tremendous energy so that I can be of even a small help to everyone. I would be very happy if even a little of the excitement I received from nature could be conveyed to you.