Shikishi & Tanzaku
Shikishi (色紙) are thick rectangular sheets of paper used for calligraphic poems or paintings. There are three standard sizes: the larger 19.4 x 17 cm. and the smaller 18.2 x 16 cm - plus an even larger size, 27.3 x 24.2 cm, introduced in recent times. Often these squares are highly decorated with mica or colored patterns.

Tanzaku (短冊) are small vertical poem cards, approximately 36cm long x 6cm wide that may be decorated with colored designs, sprinkled with cut gold, silver or mica or covered with silk. Supposedly these originated from small slips of paper used for divining in ancient times.
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Best Wishes to Dear Sister
(Dec 2010)

A present for my sister's birthday :)
This one is a Tanzaku
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Fall down 7 times, get up 8 times
(Feb 2012)

Another Tanzaku, and another 4 letters idiom. This is pronounced "shichi ten hakki" - it is used to mean that no matter what vicissitudes we encounter, we should always pick ourselves up and go forward.

While the usage is not restricted to Martial Arts in Japanese I find it very fitting for these, so I made it as gift for an Aikido Dojo where I was invited to talk about ShoDo.


Below: the Tanzaku "tablet" right before finishing it with the seal.
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Chinkonkishin 鎮魂帰神
(Apr 2013)

A present I brought while visiting.
It means:
"Return to the divine through spiritual quietude"

- CHIN (tranquilize; ancient peace-preservation centers)
- KON (soul; spirit)
- KI (homecoming; arrive at; lead to; result in)
- SHIN (gods; mind; soul)
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Real Victory is Victory over oneself
(Oct 2013)

Another Tanzaku, this time with a saying attributed to Ueshiba Morihei - a gift for a couple of Aikidoka that invited me to talk about Shodo.