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Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2008
WORDS TO LIVE BY
Handwriting expert Koshu Morioka
Koshu Morioka, 75, is the founder of the Japan Graphologist Association and the nation's foremost authority on the study and analysis of handwriting. Morioka started out as a psychologist, until his love of calligraphy eventually drew him to graphology. In his illustrious 30-year career, he has examined the handwriting of more than 60,000 people. His well-trained eyes not only read what is written on the lines, they see what is between them, too. Convinced that writing even one character or letter better improves one's life, Morioka dedicates his to helping people discover the healing power of graphology, word by word, one stroke at a time.
Be good to yourself so you can be nicer to others, too. Once a day, write your name slowly, politely, gently, just for yourself. Dedicate a little time to yourself, and I am sure it will help you be more giving to others.
Don't be fooled by looks. Whether your writing looks beautiful or not, it doesn't matter. The way gorgeous women can be unkind, pretty letters can spell out trouble, too.
Civilization changed its course by altering river flows — fixing our handwriting can also lead to enormous developments. Humans altered the Tigris-Euphrates river system in Mesopotamia and culture flourished. Through effort, the flow of energy changed. Now imagine if every person on earth fixed just one letter: We would all grow into more sophisticated people, and we would understand each other much better.
I can see the future pretty well. About 20 years ago, I received a postcard from a man I had never heard of. He asked me to examine his handwriting, which showed a great sense of beauty. The spacing between each row was irregular so I figured he was restless, and lacked focus. I wrote to him that talent was not enough and that if he learnt to concentrate on his work, he could become a national treasure within 20 years in his chosen artistic endeavor, as I was sure he was involved in the arts. Eighteen years later, I received a call from someone who said he had just received the honor of being designated as a Living National Treasure and wanted to thank me for my advice.
One of the best ways to prepare for a job is to know what type of personality one needs to make it in that profession and to adjust yourself accordingly. If I were, for example, a guard now, I'd be a lousy one. If I saw a criminal, I'd let them go or ask for their signature. So if I wanted to be a decent guard, I would have to change my handwriting from open and cursive to very uptight, closed, unforgiving letters. All good guards write that way.
Even the angriest and most violent people can turn into gentler creatures through handwriting practice. The handwriting of yakuza members, and even the typeset letters on their printed business cards, features letters that show a scary disposition: One stroke from a kanji will cut right through another kanji, often splitting the characters in half. When I once explained to some how their violent nature showed through their letters, the boss said that I was correct — when he was in a particularly vicious mood, his writing would have even more cuts through other characters. As we exercised kinder ways to write their names, they reported feeling more relaxed and patient.
If teachers studied graphology, they could detect who might become a bully and who could be their future victims. Children who give up get bullied. They might be doing well, but just before the finish line, they come to a halt. It shows in the way they give up on the last part of writing a kanji character. On the other hand, the bullies cut through the lines of other characters. They enjoy hurting others. If we teach children to show kindness to themselves through their handwriting, they improve. I'm happy to say that Ibaraki Prefecture's board of education is putting a lot of effort into researching this with positive results.
If you write crazy things, you will end up going nuts. Japanese writing has always been from top to bottom and from right to left, allowing us to connect the characters well and to read and write quickly. This style was developed in China thousands of years ago, but after World War II, Japanese were forced by the U.S. occupying forces to write from left to right using only kaisho, the type of block kanji that only the printed media used before the war. Imagine if suddenly Americans were forbidden to write anything but printed capital letters, from top to bottom and from right to left. That would be insane, right?
Some people skip the train because they think there might be another coming. I say, hop on it, as this might be the only one that takes you where you want to go, even if you don't know your final destination yet. My wife and I were neighbors when we were children and played together every day. During the war, we were sent to different parts of the country to escape the firebombing and didn't meet again until years later, when we were in our 20s. When we did reconnect, we talked nonstop, and that night I walked her and her mom to Ueno Station. Don't ask me why, but I just hopped on the train with them and ended up staying at their house that night. The next day we climbed a mountain together, and I stayed another night. After that, I figured she was my destiny. We got married and, thanks to her, I am where I am today.
With a good partner, we can grow into the person we are meant to be. About 30 years ago, I quit everything to focus on graphology. For three years I had no income, but my wife never asked me when I would make money again. She sold our house, borrowed money from friends and smiled. She trusted me even before I believed in myself.
Judit Kawaguchi loves to listen. She is a volunteer counselor and a TV reporter on NHK's "Out & About." Learn more at: http://juditfan.blog58.fc2.com/