The Japan News by The Yomiuri Shimbun

Home > Education > People



A correspondent determined to explore the beauty of characters at Waseda Sports Press

Ms. Haruka Minemura

Since she won her first prize as a 1st grader in elementary school, Ms. Minemura has been granted 88 different awards in both pen calligraphy and brush calligraphy. In The National New Year's Card Contest, she has won the top prize, The Minister of Postal Service Award, three times. When she was in kindergarten, her mother and grandmother encouraged her to study calligraphy, and as a result she started learning by correspondence. "Once I was staring at a calligraphy advertisement in a newspaper thinking how beautiful the characters were. Fortunately, my mom and grandma happened to notice that," Ms. Minemura reminisces. Obviously, she was already in love with characters in those days.

Ms. Minemura has always worked with her mother on calligraphy. "Once I started studying calligraphy by correspondence, mom joined me too. Six years later, she opened her own calligraphy classroom in our family home. It looks like that she did all of these because she wanted to teach me seriously," Ms. Minemura explains. Once she became an elementary school student, she practiced pen calligraphy every morning before going to school. "Since I wasn't able to get up by myself in those days, mom came and woke me up almost every morning. When I look back right now, I think those practices were very important to me," she added. While Ms. Minemura was in her second year in the elementary school, the teacher of her correspondence course realized her gift and invited her to participate in training sessions in Tokyo. Because of that, her father would take her from Nagano to Ome city in Tokyo once a month. Ms. Minemura smiles when she says, "If it weren't for my family, I don't think I would have kept working on calligraphy until today."

Ms. Minemura did not participate in calligraphy-related club activities at Waseda. Instead, she chose to join the Waseda Sports Press Club, which is known for its professional sports news items. She considers herself "full of curiosity" because she would even work on the layout of an article by herself. She reminds us that, "Although it's important to master something in a particular field, there're much you can learn when you move into another field." She thinks that interviewing athletes always teaches her what it means to "never give up."

Ms. Minemura is still in love with characters. She intentionally chose a lecture that focuses on reading obsolete kana at Waseda. "I thought it would be great if I could understand the deep meaning inside these words besides just knowing how to write those characters," she says. She thinks that perfect characters are "aesthetic characters that every person would consider beautiful." "My goal is not to become a professional calligrapher. I want to do more than just calligraphy, preferably something that could make good use of my characters." Once again, Ms. Minemura reminds us of her everyday effort, her sense of curiosity and her ability to absorb new things.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)

Ms. Haruka Minemura

Born 1987 in Nagano Prefecture. Graduated from Omachi High School in Nagano Prefecture. 3rd year student of the School of Education in the Department of Japanese Language and Literature. This spring, she won The 23rd Mainichi Kakizome (Japanese Calligraphy) Exhibition Special Memorial Award as the best undergraduate calligrapher in Japan. She loves cooking.