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Calling all calligraphers

posted 5 Jan 2011, 14:52 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 5 Jan 2011, 14:55 ]
Thousands people gather in Tokyo from as far away as Brazil for an annual new year's calligraphy ritual.
TOKYO, JAPAN, JANUARY 5, 2011 - Thousands of participants grab their brushes to compete in a calligraphy challenge to ring in the New Year in Japan.

Upsound - Gong --

Let the brushing begin.

Nearly 3,000 people gathered in Tokyo from as far away as Brazil to break out their calligraphy brushes for the annual new year's ritual.

Calligraphy is a revered art in many parts of Asia, and people across Japan traditionally mark the new year by using ink brushes and paper to write out their resolutions or wishes.

Participants ranged from those barely old enough to write all the way up to 80-somethings.

60-year-old participant, Yasuko Ikeda, saying:

"I originally came as my nephew had been coming a few times, and now I've come 13 times in a row. This is what I've decided to put my efforts into until the end of the New Year's season. I come every year."

All were given just 24 minutes to complete their writing, using Chinese characters to ink messages from "New Year" to "Vibrant Nature".

12-year-old participant, Yuki Oogane, saying:

"I hope that, like I wrote, I can get through this year without catching a cold or getting sick."

The calligraphy pieces are collected and ranked by judges according to strict rules which evaluate their individual skills.

Contestants will be award prizes on January 23rd.

Sharon Reich, Reuters.