Master Calligrapher Yoshiyasu Fujii (b. 1963, Fukuoka, Japan) began calligraphy studies at the age of five, in his childhood home of Saga, Japan. He attended Daito Bunka University and studied under Master Calligrapher Shumpo Akashi, with whom he would continue to study until Akashi’s death in 1995. While studying with Akashi, Fujii studied sumie painting and pursued his interest in the history, not only of Japanese calligraphy, but of Chinese classical calligraphy in addition to all of the traditional calligraphy writing styles. Fujii is the recipient of many honors, including top award at Mainichi Calligraphy Competition, Japan’s oldest, largest and most prestigious calligraphy competition, in 1990 and 1992. In 2013, he became the first member residing outside of Japan to be a judge at the Mainichi Calligraphy Competition. He also is one of the few calligraphy instructors in the U.S. licensed by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
Fujii’s profound knowledge and mastery of the technique and history of calligraphy are the key to his freedom in creativity. Though he devotes a great deal of his time and efforts in continuing his teacher’s legacy to promote the cultural and academic education of Japanese calligraphy – Fujii succeeded Akashi as president of Akashi USA after Akashi’s untimely death in 1995 – Fujii is also passionate about expanding the art of calligraphy as a legitimate art form in the Western world.
He has been involved in many artistic ventures outside of the traditional calligraphy arena and has worked on projects with fashion designer Shu Uemura (body painting for fashion show), Microsoft Game Studios (calligraphy work for the Jade Empire Xbox game), and non-profit organization Voice Library in Japanese (title calligraphy for audio books).
Naoko Fujii (b. 1966 Niigata, Japan) began calligraphy studies at age of ten in Japan. She attended Daito Bunka University and studied under Master Shumpo Akashi. Her study includes both Japanese and Chinese calligraphy techniques as well as histories. She has started teaching calligraphy to wide range of students in schools during her study. She started her carrier as a teacher at a high school in Saitama, Japan.
Naoko is also a recipient of multiple awards at Mainichi Calligraphy Competition, Japan’s oldest, largest, and the most prestigious calligraphy competition. She has also been awarded by Japanese Foreign Ministry at American calligraphy competition.