Japanese Calligraphy Kana Shodо̄: The ‘Women Hand’ Kana Characters and Empowerment of Women

calligraphy  japan branded


Part of the Humanities Cultural Programme, one of the founding stones for the
future  Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities.

This event is supported by the Bagri Foundation


Japanese Calligraphy Kana Shodо̄: The ‘Women Hand’ Kana Characters and Empowerment of Women

Lecture and Workshop

Tuesday 19 October 2021, 2pm-5pm

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Women’s empowerment and the fourth-wave feminism in the 21st century is gaining steam by social media and new communication methods. However, it is not widely known that there was an era in Japan a millennium ago, when women enjoyed their freedom by expressing and sharing their ideas freely with new communication tools they acquired.


Kaoru Akagawa is a master of traditional Japanese calligraphy, kana shodо̄, and an artist who merges traditional calligraphy with new techniques in a style she’s named ‘kana art’. In this event Kaoru Akagawa reveals the story of kana, or traditional Japanese characters called on’nade (女手) (literally translated ‘women hand’) utilised in kana shodо̄ and its influence on Japanese culture and aesthetic. A workshop on writing traditional kana shodо̄ work will follow this lecture.








Kaoru Akagawa Biography:





Born in Canada, Kaoru Akagawa grew up in the U.S. and Japan, and since 2007 in Europe. Kaoru Akagawa  is a contemporary artist and also a master of Japanese calligraphy (kana shodo). Her aim is to revive ancient traditional Japanese syllabary, kana, in modern times with her own style of art, kana art, has been featured in notable media including CNN, The Guardian and BBC Radio.


For a full biography and CV please click here.


Japanese calligraphy artist, Kaoru Akagawa:




Find out more about the Japan 2021 – Humanities Cultural Programme here.

Book your ticket here


With special thanks to the Bagri Foundation for their support for this event.




We are also grateful to the Pitt Rivers Museum for hosting this special event in the Museum.


Giving to the Pitt Rivers Museum