Sunday, July 12, 2009

etegami and the civic spirit

In June I had the honor of guest-posting on The Nihon Sun, an endlessly informative website on all aspects of Japanese culture and life in Japan. The theme of my post, of course, was etegami. I was asked to include a tie-in to Tokyo's bid for the 2016 Olympics, which was not at all a difficult thing to do, since etegami is one of the means by which Tokyo, and many other municipalities, raise public interest in civic events. Please visit my post on The Nihon Sun for details.

The photo attached above is from the annual Etegami Contest sponsored by a Hiroshima-based writing brush maker, the Fude-no-sato-kobo. Using etegami to promote a writing brush company may seem an obvious ploy, but what about a hot springs? Last year Gero Onsen in Gifu prefecture called for submissions of etegami related to the spa bathing experience. The winning etegami are displayed on this page. Some of the shops in this spa town even had their shutters painted with images of the winning etegami, a charming idea for entertaining spa guests even when the shops are closed for business.

The ways that regions, organizations, and businesses use the grass-roots popularity of etegami to fan the flames of public interest increase with each passing year. Consider the power of etegami the next time you have something you want to promote.


  1. It was a pleasure to have you guest post on The Nihon Sun. I'm in awe of your work and the artform itself and am glad to have been able to introduce it to others through your words.

    Thanks so much!

  2. Shane, thanks again for the opportunity. The more I delve into the world of etegami, the more impressed I am with its depth, complexity, and possibilities.