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Reviewed by Kimberlee J Benart for Readers' Favorite
If you enjoy calligraphy as an art form, Japanese culture and historical literature, and memoirs about fascinating, if not famous, people, Shodo Master: Life and Art of Tomoro Ouchida by John Glascock is for you. Presented in a bilingual format with English on one side and Japanese on the other, this lavishly illustrated tribute by a student to his teacher hits the mark. Having lived for a time in Japan, I understood Glascock’s attraction to the beauty of Japanese calligraphy and was impressed by his determination to study it. I was also touched by his affection for the humble but highly skilled master calligrapher who became his teacher here in the United States. A glossary of terms and a list of historical names, places, writings, and photographs are included, along with extensive illustrations.
In Shodo Master, John Glascock gives us not only the biography of master calligrapher Tomoro “Ryuseki” Ouchida (1903 – 1990) and a collection of his teaching materials and signature works but also an informative discussion about art. Called Shodo, Japanese calligraphy is insightfully described in an essay that Sensei Ouchida wrote on the topic in which the art is connected to the spirit and character of the artist. He ends the essay with an expression of appreciation for the efforts and discipline of past masters and a wish that his talent and contributions will serve future generations. No one looking at this presentation of his magnificent life’s work can doubt that his desire came true.