Shodo Master

Life and Art of Tomoro Ouchida

Non-Fiction - Art/Photography
266 Pages
Reviewed on 07/27/2023
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Author Biography

Shodo Master is the author's story of discovering this amazing art, then a bio and art of a teacher whose purity, generosity, and diverse skill sets were beyond my imagination. His writings would mesmerize everyone who saw his work, yet the closest I saw him being proud of his art was a smile or short chuckle when complimented. He loved to laugh; I never remember him being angry or unhappy. His praise and encouragement of everyone he taught was always warm and sincere regardless of the student’s abilities; he never disparaged anyone.
However, Shodo Master is much more than that personal story. It is a delightful and at the same time educational shodo art exhibit.
As you look thru Shodo Master (a reading generally takes only about 20 or 30 minutes), you will see shodo from the eyes of an American and become acquainted with this artform. And, it is not necessary to read everything because each section of the book is unique. Find something you like, stop, then read and enjoy. Bounce around and browse; it works.
“The Shodo Master Book is Magnificent and overwhelming, the calligraphy inside is even more wonderful!” – Mr. Kazunari Inaba, administrative director of the largest and oldest chain of shodo schools in Japan, Shodo Culture Association, Tokyo. That is most certainly NOT because of my abilities as a storyteller, but because Ouchida Sensei’s heart beats throughout every page.

    Book Review

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.