The World of Nüshu, February 2010

The Existential Assertion of Nüshu


As of February 2010, Jiangyong county has postponed the symposium scheduled to be held next month (March 2010) to this May. The original plan was for October 2009, but it was moved to March of this year to coincide with San-ba Jie (International Womenfs Day) on March 8th. I thought surely there would be no more changes after that, but it has been postponed once again. Cries to gprotect nüshu,h or gpetition to make it a world heritage asseth are noble indeed, but after the symposium has been postponed this many times, they become rather empty. This is precisely what is meant when it is said that nüshu is underrepresented in its own native land.

Since the summer of last year, the script has suddenly begun to attract attention throughout Japan. As a result, opportunities to display Endofs small collection have increased.

From December 14th to 24th, a modest exhibition was held at Ochanomizu Universityfs library. Books related to nüshu were placed on exhibit, along with several volumes of sanzhaoshu (gthird day lettersh) and accompanying embroidery work, research performed in China, a European magazine with an introductory article on the script, a fictional novel about nüshu that depicts the women who used it, published by American publisher Random House, and more. Voices of surprise came from those who saw the exhibition, saying they were once again moved by the beauty of the delicate womenfs script.







In addition, from January 20th to 24th, 2010, the gCultural Heritage of Nüshu Exhibitionh was held at Shizuoka Cityfs Citizensf Gallery. The exhibition was done in collaboration with calligrapher Maseko Kinoshita, a Shizuoka resident, and during the 5 days, approximately 400 people came to view the display. Many earnest voices could be heard at the exhibition, such as gThey look like the precursors to Chinese characters!h gIs this a secret code language?h gWhatfs happening to the script now?h

From January 1st until February 28th, an exhibit at the 1st floor exhibition room of Musashi Ranzanfs National Womenfs Education Center was held as a part of their archive collection. Many people have given their impressions on the exhibit so far: gI never knew such beautiful characters existed,h gThe women of Jiangyong were really something,h gItfs a witness to modern history,h gIfm very interested in it being from the perspective of womenfs history research,h etc.


In March, at Gallery ef in Asakusa, an exhibition will be held in collaboration with artist Yuka Ishizuka to inform people about nüshu.

From April 1st-3rd, at Colby College in Maine, USA, an exhibition and lecture will be held. Following that will be a panel discussion and exhibition at Smith College in Massachusetts, from April 6th-8th. On the 12th and 13th, an exhibition will be held at Maryland Universityfs McKeldin Library.

Nüshu is about to make its way to America. It may be the first and last time that Americans have a chance to see Chinese womenfs characters in person.

As people able to carry on the tradition of nüshu have almost completely disappeared, reaching its final stage, these characters will shine their last spark of life to Japanese and Americans who will come to know and be moved by their gsplendorh and ggreatness.h


Past and Future Exhibitions/Lectures


ENovember 19th, 2009, Shizuoka City, Futaba Gakuen, lecture at Parentsf Association

gSpellbound by Chinese Womenfs Charactersh

EDecember 14th-24th, 2009, Exhibition at Ochanomizu Universityfs Library

EDecember 18th, 2009, Ochanomizu University, Womenfs Leadership Training Program, Speaker at the 2009 6th annual public lecture hosted by the Graduate School of Educationfs Reform Assistance Program/Comparative Japanese Education Research Center

gWomen and Characters—Hiragana/Hangul/Chinese Womenfs Charactersh

EJanuary 20th-24th, 2010, Shizuoka City, Citizenfs Gallery

gCultural Heritage of Nüshu Exhibitionh

EJanuary 27th-February 28th, 2010, National Womenfs Education Center

g~My Archive Collection~The World of Chinese Womenfs Characters—The Creativity of Women—g

EMarch 26th-May 9th, 2010, Gallery ef

gNüshu: A Poetic Dialogue between Art & Learningh

EApril 1st-3rd, 2010, USA, Colby College, Exhibition & Lecture

EApril 6th-8th, 2010, USA, Smith College, Exhibition & Lecture

EApril 12th-13th, USA, Exhibition at Maryland Universityfs McKeldin Library

E    April 18th, 2010, Lecture at Japanese Association, Setagaya Ward


 gVanishing Script—The Lament of Nüshuh