Calligraphy and Ikebana in Tokyo

Creme de la creme, a beautiful event space in the Shibuya area of Tokyo, is hosting an exhibition of Japanese calligraphy artist Maaya Sho. Jinguryugu is a mix of Sho’s work, ranging from large-scale pieces to designs for sake bottles, fans, and T-shirts.

Sho’s representations of tigers and bamboo hang on creme de la creme’s stunning poured-concrete and exposed-brick walls, some on stark white paper, some on plastic, and some mounted on traditional Japanese scrolls. Sprinkled throughout are grand flower arrangements by Maki Kawamura.

I attended the event on Tuesday and had the opportunity to speak with Sho, who at one point lived in NYC’s East Village for eight months, and Kawamura. Sho is quite engaging with a sharp sense of humor and a good command of English. Kawamura, who speaks only Japanese, described how some of her ikebana works took two days to create.

The show runs through Sunday, April 8. If you’re in Tokyo, I encourage you to see it.

calligraphy, ikebana, tokyo, Maaya Sho, Maki Kawamura

Maaya Sho

calligraphy, ikebana, tokyo, Maaya Sho, Maki Kawamura

Sho used a plastic material rather than paper for some works

calligraphy, ikebana, tokyo, Maaya Sho, Maki Kawamura

Maki Kawamura's ikebana between Sho's calligraphy

calligraphy, ikebana, tokyo, Maaya Sho, Maki Kawamura

The works of Sho fit in beautifully in creme de la creme's space

calligraphy, ikebana, tokyo, Maaya Sho, Maki Kawamura

Sho's hanging scroll flanked by Kawamura's arrangements

calligraphy, ikebana, tokyo, Maaya Sho, Maki Kawamura

Dramatic combo

calligraphy, ikebana, tokyo, Maaya Sho, Maki Kawamura

Sho's scroll enhances the architecture of creme de la creme

calligraphy, ikebana, tokyo, Maaya Sho, Maki Kawamura

Sho's work appears on traditional formats as well as T-shirts and fans

calligraphy, ikebana, tokyo, Maaya Sho, Maki Kawamura

The stunning space of creme de la creme is perfect for Sho's and Kawamura's art

calligraphy, ikebana, tokyo, Maaya Sho, Maki Kawamura

Sho (in glasses) chats with visitors

calligraphy, ikebana, tokyo, Maaya Sho, Maki Kawamura

From left: ikebana artist Maki Kawamura, shochu expert Jesse Falowitz, yours truly, calligrapher Maaya Sho