Source: http://100yearlegacy.org/english/Kano_Jigoro/Calligraphy/ Calligraphy and Philosophy of Prof. Jigoro Kano
Prof. Jigoro Kano learned calligraphy and Chinese literature since he was young. Prof. Kano was also a master of calligraphy and was left a number of works to his disciples. His calligraphy can be found not only in those phrases from “Shisho-gokyô (the Four Books and Five Classics of Confucianism, known as the Nine Chinese Classics /四書五経)” but also from his own coined words.
Kendo Yokoyama (1872-1943), a writer and reviewer, described Kano’s writings as:
Kano’s writings reveal a fluid, semi-cursive style, vigorous, full of spirit and ultimately free as illustrated.
(Kendo Yokoyama, Prof. Jigoro Kano, 1931: 31)
One of Kano’s disciples, Muneo Shioya M.D., examined the number of phrases Kano used in his calligraphy the following words repeatedly (Kano Jigoro, Kodonkan ed., 1964: 665).
Jyundô-Seïsyô / 順道制勝 81
Seiryoku-Zenyo / 精力善用 66
Tsutomureba Kanarazu Tassu / 力必達 21
Shin-shin Jizai / 心身自在 12
Jinryoku / 尽力 11
Onore wo Nashite Yo wo Ekisu / 成己益世 8
Seiryoku Saizen Katsuyo / 精力最善活用 5
Jita-Kyoeï / 自他共栄 5
Onore wo Nasu/ 己成 5
Shu-ko Chijin / 修己治人 3
It is claimed that there are up to 226 writings Prof. Kano left.
Among others, the most frequent phrase written was “順道制勝 (Jyundô-Seïsyô).” This phrase highlights Kano’s belief that: “regardless of winning or losing, you need to follow the right path and, even if you lose by following this right path, it is more valuable than winning being against the path." (Jigoro Kano, “In the spirit of cultural philosophy of Kodokan Judo”, in Yuko-no Katsudou, Vol.8, No.2, 1922).
Prof. Kano’s calligraphy illustrates his values in education and judo and his wish for world peace. Kano’s message in calligraphy, which can still be found hung on the walls of Judojôs (training place for judo) and schools across Japan, provides a strong message to this date.Jigoro Kano’s Penname
Prof. Kano’s penname, until he was 60, was “Kônan (甲南).” During his 60's, he wrote under the name “Shinkosaï (進乎斎)” changing it again to “Ki-Issaï (帰一斎)” in his 70’s.
The name “Kônan” was chosen after Rokko mountain (六甲山) near Kano’s hometown, and hence this was chosen as his first penname.
“Shinkosaï” was inspired by a phrase of Zhuangzi (荘子), an ancient Chinese philosopher. Echoing an ancient story regarding a cook who valued “the way” more than skills, Prof. Kano intended to include the value-based meaning in his penname “Shinkosaï” stressing the importance of pursuing one's path as a human being rather than acquiring skills.
It is presumed that “Ki-Itsu (帰一)” of “Ki-Issaï (帰一斎)” represents the phrase of the Chinese Confucianist , “even though hundreds of royal laws would not be the same, things come back to the same place (百王乃法不同 所帰者一也).”
In 1912, Eichi Shibusawa and Jinzo Naruse founded “Ki-Itsu Association (帰一協会)” aiming to further study the fundamental principles shared in ethics, religion, and philosophies. With this kind of social trend, Prof. Kano also pursued his fundamental principle.
He mentioned that, “to expound the moral philosophy, it would be possible to do so based on a certain theory or religion for those people who have a theory or religion themselves. However, for those who don’t have any, it would be very difficult to make them understood. Unless the moral philosophy is expounded grounded on the fundamental principle that anyone can comprehend, it would be difficult to expound and prevail the moral philosophy in a real sense.”
He continued by stressing that “this means Jita-Kyoei…as long as people live together, the mutual reconciliation and collaboration is essential; people should concede and assist each other.” (Jigoro Kano dictation by Torahei Ochiai, “Kano Jigoro as Judoka, 6”, in Sakkô, Vol.7, No.4, 1928).
Kano therefore intended to express his fundamental principles of “Jita-Kyoei” by using his penname, “Ki-Issaï” with the belief that the principle can be accepted for all the people.
(Article supported by Prof. Hisashi Sanada, University of Tsukuba)