BAIKEI UEHIRA

Baikei Uehira 1964 -

Mr. Uehira is not only an accomplished studio artist but also a live calligraphy performer and promoter of traditional Japanese culture. Though he typically adheres to the classical styles also utilized by his peers in the calligraphy world, Baikei also enjoys creating innovative works by incorporating new materials, forms, and brush styles. With more than 30 years of calligraphy instruction to his credit, he shows no signs of slowing down and vows to travel the world teaching for years to come. Baikei Uehira, born Tatsuyoshi Uehira on June 28, 1964 in Izumisano, Japan, is a master calligrapher and teacher as well as president of the Seisho Calligraphy Association in Osaka. Originally pursuing calligraphy only for the love of writing, he has gone on to develop new pathways and styles of traditional Japanese calligraphy through collaborations, art shodo, and live performances. Uehira is considered a pioneer of live calligraphy and continues to create innovative works with hopes of expanding interest in Japanese writing to others around the globe.

Early years

At age 6, Uehira began calligraphy classes at school as do most Japanese students. Unlike most children, he loved calligraphy from day one and continued attending classes through high school. When he was 18 years old, though he disliked studying, Uehira attended a university preparatory school. During that time he often performed live as a vocalist for a rock band called 零夢 (0 Dream). Though music was one of his passions, he decided that he could not support himself with music only and began considering other options. He determined that it was time to begin serious calligraphy study and entered university. Shortly thereafter, he took the college entrance exam at a university well known for calligraphy but was rejected both the first and second years that he applied. After doing menial jobs for more than a year, including working in a café and doing construction for his father's company, Uehira became desperate. He declared to his father, "In the future I want to be able to support myself through calligraphy because physical labor is just too hard." His father replied, "Ha! I'd like to see you try supporting yourself by swinging a brush back and forth." After several days, he decided that attending professional Japanese calligraphy school in Tokyo was the only path for him. While studying Chinese and Japanese calligraphy, Japanese literature, kanji interpretation, etc.


Uehira practiced hundreds of characters every day and bundled the pages in a cloth to carry them to and from school. In the meantime, he worked every day, afterward devoting his time to practicing calligraphy--often until the break of dawn. Though the young Uehira put great effort into his studies, many teachers felt his work was poor and suggested a different approach. He tried to understand his teachers' criticisms, but felt that they did not teach with enough passion and encouragement. He longed to be taken more seriously. One day he approached teacher Kyoshuu Mochizuki with his work. Mochizuki carefully reviewed each sheet of Uehira's writing, offering words of advice on each piece. The budding calligrapher was moved to tears and was motivated to amplify his efforts. Due to a somewhat mysterious heartbreak at age 22, a scarred Uehira returned to Osaka. Devastated and unmotivated, he began working at a calligraphy supply shop just to stay busy. A calligraphy teacher who was a frequent customer invited Uehira to train with him. Uehira did so for eight years at the most well-known calligraphy group in Kansai. He obtained much knowledge from this teacher and his vision became clear.

Establishment of the Seisho Calligraphy Association

At age 29, making the most of his training, Uehira established and became president of his own calligraphy association, 青霄 (SEISHO), 'cloudless blue sky.' He has gone on to found schools in Osaka (Namba, Shinsaibashi, and Umeda) and continues to teach, perform, and lecture. Uehira currently lives with his wife (also a calligraphy teacher) and three children in the Kansai area. As of 2011, more than 2,000 students study under him. Listed below are various achievements from the last 15 years (not including exhibitions and gallery showings).

SEISHO | www.sei-sho.jp

SEISHO, roughly translated as cloudless sky, is the name of the calligraphy association Baikei founded over 20 years ago in Osaka, Japan. The sky which is the empty page where the artist has the chance to express him or herself, the sky which is the unfettered mind finding tranquility when sitting to write, the sky which is the seemingly endless realm of possibilities. It is an aesthetic, and a path toward self betterment, a symbol of the boundless opportunities we all have to achieve whatever we dream.

Today the SEISHO family has more than 2,000 members practicing calligraphy. Baikei continues to offer the same passion for teaching as he did with his very first students nearly 30 years ago and continues striving to spread his vision.