The Bokujinkai—or ‘People of the Ink’—was a group formed in Kyoto in 1952 by five calligraphers, Morita Shiryū, Inoue Yūichi, Eguchi Sōgen, Nakamura Bokushi, and Sekiya Yoshimichi. The avant-garde calligraphy movement they launched aspired to raise calligraphy to the same level of international prominence as abstract painting. To realize this vision, the Bokujinkai established creative collaborations with artists from European Art Informel and American Abstract Expressionism, and soon began sharing exhibition spaces with them in New York, Paris, Tokyo, and beyond. By focusing on this exceptional moment in the history of Japanese calligraphy, I show how the Bokujinkai rerouted the trajectory of global abstract art and attuned foreign audiences to calligraphic visualities and narratives.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLeiden and Boston
Number of pages185
VolumeJapanese Visual Culture Series 19
ISBN (Print)978-90-04-42465-4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2020


  • Japanese Art
  • Japanese Art History
  • Abstraction
  • calligraphy
  • postwar art
  • Abstract Expressionism
  • Informel
  • Transcultural Studies
  • art history
  • visual culture
  • avant-garde
  • modernism

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