DŌ: The path of Shoko Kanazawa


February 02 to April 25, 2021

Tuesday to Sunday

11 am - 4 pm



For early booking (optional)

click here


Visit the exhibition with the virtual tour 360º


Giving continuity to the expressions of the DŌ philosophy, essential for understanding Japan, Japan House São Paulo presents, from February 02 to July 04, 2021, the free and unprecedented exhibit ‘DŌ: The path of Shoko Kanazawa.’ This time, the cultural institution offers samples of Shodō, calligraphy, an extremely well-known and popular poetic and philosophical manifestation in Japan. The exhibit will feature work of Shoko Kanazawa, who uses ancient techniques and knowledge and updates them, bringing their concepts to contemporary times.

The artist’s work reveals and portrays the philosophy of Shodō (書 道) which means, in Japanese, the path of writing, in which ‘Shō’ expresses the act of representing letters and words with varied methods and forms. This work aims to vent emotions through writing, and is an art and discipline taught to Japanese children during primary education. It is practiced both with ideogrammatic characters – kanji –, and with the phonetic ones – hiragana and katakana. Calligraphy is known to demand high precision from the calligrapher. Each kanji character must be written following a specific stroke order, thus increasing the discipline required of those who practice this art. Each artist’s freedom in this gesture and interpretation is what determines their individual style.

Written using sumi (black ink) and various brushes on Japanese paper, the art of calligraphy is considered a metaphor for life itself. Thus, strong strokes alternate with more delicate ones, producing different effects in accordance with the speed, rhythm, the pressure on the paper, the interval between strokes, and the material used.

Eleven carefully selected pieces will be showcased at the exhibit, which will be installed on the ground floor of Japan House São Paulo. There are ten parchments and a screen, many of which on a large scale, measuring up to two meters in length, which are part of the repertoire of work done by Kanazawa, who practices, above all, performance calligraphy, using large brushes that demand the direct involvement of her whole body when applying the sumi ink on the paper.

“Shoko Kanazawa’s pieces bring a new perspective within the Shodō, an important artistic manifestation that reflects Japanese culture and aesthetics so well. The artist explores this ancient, traditional, and extremely popular art in the country in a unique, significant manner, uniting this performance and body character with all the conceptual and spiritual aspects of Shodo. It is a great honor to be able to present it for the first time in Brazil at our headquarters,” says Japan House São Paulo Cultural Director and exhibit curator Natasha Barzaghi Geenen.

Watch the exhibition presentation video


Full of meanings, the pieces that were chosen for the exhibit value chance, empty spaces, and line expressiveness. The words and expressions the artist chose are not random, as they have poetic and subjective concepts, with hopeful and positive messages, and are highlighted aiming to bring the essence of the Japanese culture. Another important element of this exhibit is the fluid features present in Shoko’s works, which require the engagement of the entire body, in addition to her commitment and practice to achieve lightness, balance, and excellence.

An artist with Down syndrome, Kanazawa-san has always been inspired and encouraged by her mother, and held her first exhibit at the age of 20. In honor of her artistic work, she was named one of the official artists of the Tokyo Olympics, and is an exemplary figure in struggles for the cause of people with disabilities and has reinterpreted Shodo, attracting more and more young people to learn this traditional art and encouraging others like herself to express themselves through their creativity. Japan House São Paulo exhibited her work for the first time during the event No Barriers - Festival of Accessibility and Artists with Disabilities, held in a totally virtual environment in December 2020.

About Shoko Kanazawa

Born in Tokyo in 1985, Shoko Kanazawa started studying calligraphy at the age of 5 with her mother, who taught Shodo to children. Over time, she stood out, and her production gained notoriety. Her mastery of the most subtle variations of the line, of the notions of composition, and of shape positioning, as well as of the use of paint, with its saturations, are notable. In 2005, Shoko Kanazawa held her first solo exhibition, at the age of 20, called “The World of Calligraphy,” a landmark of her production and of great importance for disseminating her work throughout Japan. Since then, she has exhibited her works in well-known Japanese temples, such as Kenchōji (Kamakura), Kenninji (Kyoto), and Tōdaiji (Nara). Internationally, she has exhibited in countries such as the United States (The Nippon Gallery, New York), the Czech Republic, and Singapore. In addition, she was one of the guests invited to make one of the posters for the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo, and, in 2015, she delivered a speech at the UN headquarters on the World Down Syndrome Day.


‘DŌ: The path of Shoko Kanazawa’
February 02 to July 04, 2021
Ground Floor
Free admission
Early online booking (optional): https://agendamento.japanhousesp.com.br/

Japan House São Paulo - Avenida Paulista, 52
Opening hours:
Tuesday to Sunday, from 11am to 4pm

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