Sempu Nakajima is a contemporary Japanese calligraphy artist who is extremely dedicated and deliberate in his practice and art form. As a child, Nakajima encountered an ancient hanging scroll in a chashitsu (tea room) from the late 5th century. The beauty of this piece sparked in him a life-long passion and fascination for traditional Japanese art and culture. He began studying Japanese calligraphy at age 6, and has later deepened in studies and skills in the ancient Japanese art under the master calligrapher Takayoshi Kaneko. Nakajima studied under Takayoshi sensei, a famous Japanese calligrapher who had a strong influence on his style. He has since passed away but was well known in the calligraphy world in Japan.
Over his career as an artist and calligrapher, Nakajima has developed his skills to create a wholly original style of calligraphy for a contemporary audience. He attempts to break Japanese characters free from their traditional form, while simultaneously respecting their beauty and tradition. He acquires his tools, from brushes to paper to frames, from a local craftsman in Kyoto, to ensure that he uses the finest materials in his work. He finds great purpose in creating truly genuine Japanese works, while also making a contribution to sustaining handcrafted artisanship across Japan.
Of his work, he beautifully wrote, “As each stroke I make is moment in time that cannot be taken back, there is a great importance that I place on preparing my thoughts and practicing my movements to create perfection in the imperfection. It can be an arduous endeavor, but I find a kind of beauty in this process.”