SOKENDAI Review of Cultural and Social Studies


vol.20 (2024)

Content and Significance of the Teikakyo-hitsudo


Department of Japanese Literature,
School of Cultural and Social Studies,
The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, SOKENDAI

Key words:

Teika-style, Teika FUJIWARA, Teikakyo-hitsudo, Teikakyo-hikkankuketsu, books about calligraphy secrets, calligraphy, tea ceremony, Enshu KOBORI, Reizei family

The impressive and unique character style of Fujiwara Teika (1162–1241), known as Teika-style, was taken up by his descendants and some of his students during the medieval period. The style was more widely enjoyed beyond this framework in the Momoyama and Edo periods. The only classical manuscripts that describe the calligraphy used to write Teika-style are a series of manuscripts called Teikakyo-hitsudo and Teikakyo-hikkankuketsu. These manuscripts were repeatedly copied during the Edo period, and they may be considered rare documents that indicate the history of acceptance and spread of the Teika-style in the early modern period. However, the manuscripts were recognized as forgeries masquerading as Teika documents, and a close examination has not been conducted. It is hard to say that the assessment of the content of the text is based on a comprehensive review of the manuscripts, and there is room for reconsideration concerning the evaluation of the manuscripts.

A survey of existing manuscripts was conducted to confirm the differences in the text among them, a translation of the source text from the Tokyo National Museum collection was created, and the commentary and its translation into modern Japanese were also provided. The authors further clarified the content of the manuscripts, showing the illustrations attached to the original text, which have not been examined in the past. Items with illustrations are attached to the reprints. Furthermore, all of the illustrations contained in the two volumes of the Teikakyo-hikkankuketsu in the collection of the National Institute of Japanese Literature, which were reviewed by the authors, are also included, which resulted in covering the illustrations in other books that are available at present.

In addition to Teika’s own handwritings, the authors also referred to the handwritings of the heads of the Reizei family in the late medieval to early modern periods, who accepted Teika calligraphy, and to the Kobori ENSHU (1579–1647)’s own handwritings, who is considered to have been closely involved in the formation of this book.

The text consists of 11 items describing brush strokes, divided into three main categories: items 1–3 describe how to use a brush; items 4–9 describe how to write strokes; and items 10 and 11 describe how to assemble characters. Items 10 and 11 are thought to have been added in later periods and are not included in the Tokyo National Museum collection. Therefore, among the manuscripts to which the two items were added, the one owned by the National Institute of Japanese Literature, which has a clear transmission history and is recognized as a high-quality text, was used as the source material.

As a result of our examination of the content of each item in the Teikakyo-hitsudo, which is believed to show how to write specifics, we conclude that there is a certain validity in expressing the characteristics of the characters called Teika-style. Therefore, it is deemed to be a valuable source for understanding how people in the early modern period perceived the calligraphy of “Teika-style”.