No today is not ‘Cats’ Day’. Really,… I’m sure that is on the 22nd of February. You didn’t know that right? Japan has a National Cat Day. Isn’t that great!?!
On a more serious note, I would like to introduce the kanji for ‘cat’. The cat can count on some special attention from humans in Japan. Not only is this noticeable during Cats’ Day. Cats are present throughout Japanese culture. They are everywhere. You can even find ‘maneki neko‘ waving at you in a shop window. Cats are believed to be bringers of good fortune.
Many of my friends would agree. Though I’m not an out spoken cat lover myself, many people I know hold a special place in their hearts for this sassy 4, sometimes 3, legged creature. It is for one of those cat loving friends, I made this calligraphy.
First I got to know the kanji by practicing it relentlesly in kaisho. But I don’t really like kaisho that much. I think as an artistic expression… well it has no flow. To be honest, I feel my kaisho is like ‘ki getting stuck’ like a bad sinus congestions. It needs more practice for sure.
After my kaisho session, I found a really pretty example sōsho, grass script. So I tried to copy the example a few times. It just flowed and I was content with the result.
But just a kanji character as a gift is a bit boring. Don’t you think? Sometime ago I was flipping through Pinterest and found this really simplistic but appealing 1 calligraphy stroke graphic of a cat. I kept thinking about the graphic, for sure I had to try it myself. So this was exactly the right time to give it a go. The final result was pretty okay for a first attempt.
How do you think it turned out?
Information for the kanji 猫
- Kunyomi = ねこ (neko)
- Onyomi = ビョウ (byou)
- The kanji has 11 strokes 画. Radical is dog (or animal radical) 犬 = 犭Composed of 3 parts: 犬、艾、田
Jōyō kanji, taught in junior high
Jisho Dictionary Website, 22nd of March 2018 at https://www.jisho.org
Japan Times Website, 22nd of March 2018 at https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/02/22/national/japans-big-brands-go-cat-crazy-neko-no-hi/#.WrQIMejOWUk
Wikipedia, 22nd of March 2018 at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maneki-neko
Andrew Nelson, John. H Haig (1997) The New Nelson Japanese-English Character Dictionary, Tuttle Publishing, United States