Professor William Reed Performing Shodo and Iaido On-Stage in Zakuro Show Global Vol.2

The performance will take place at Nikkei Hall on December 17th.

Professor William Reed doing Shodo

iCLA Japan Studies’ Professor William Reed will be performing at the Nikkei Hall for Zakuro Show Global Vol.2. The performance will feature an artistic fusion of classical music and traditional Japanese arts, Shodo and Iaido.

William Reed in Zakuro Show Global Vol.2
Image from Zakuro Show

Reed, who is a 10th dan in Japanese calligraphy and 2nd Dan in Iaido, will be performing to Bach’s musical pieces played by violinists Zohrab Tadevosyan and Karen Israelyan. A professional calligrapher, Reed has nearly 50 years of experience in Shodo with numerous international awards and regular exhibitions in Ginza, Tokyo. Reed teaches the Calligraphy and Kanji Culture course at iCLA, along with other courses like Samurai Code and Culture, Aikido, and Nanba.

He will be joined on stage by International Iaido Organization Hogyokukai president Hogyoku Takeda and director Ogyoku Yasumura.

The latter part of the concert program will feature other top artists on Japanese instruments.

We asked Professor Reed a few questions about the upcoming performance:

Q: How did this project come to fruition for you?

Reed: I am friends with a professional violinist, and for some years we had been talking about doing a collaboration with violin and Shodo. This year he found an opportunity to do that in a hall in front of over 600 people, funded by the Japan Cultural Agency.

I added the idea of including an Iaido performance with the violin, certainly a world first. It was a competitive bid and they checked the background and credentials of all of the artists, as well as the concept behind the performance. We got the approval and then set about making the poster and promoting the event.

Q: The performance will feature an interesting fusion of western classical music and traditional Japanese art. What kind of inspiration does that give you in your artistic process?

Reed: It is remarkable how well the Music of Bach fits both calligraphy and the art of drawing the sword. I think at a certain level artists transcend their medium and communicate with a common energy.

I often practice calligraphy with Jazz and Classical music, but it is a new experience doing it with Iaido and Classical music. It is such a privilege to share the stage with world-class masters.

Q: What can people look forward to in the performance?

Reed: The opportunity to experience music in a visual and kinesthetic collaboration with top quality talent. There is also the quality in the air that comes from a live performance which you cannot get from a recording. The show is actually in two parts, so you can experience a second stage after ours with Japanese traditional instruments in a contemporary context.

“Zakuro Show Global” is supported by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan under the “ARTS for the future!2” initiative.

For more information, see Zakuro Show’s Homepage
Student-price tickets are available.

William Reed’s Faculty Profile
Samurai Walk