Baylor Students Receive International Japanese Calligraphy Award

Students in Advanced Japanese course led by Yuko Prefume, Ph.D., were recognized at the 36th International Kakyou Calligraphy Exhibition in Tokyo, Japan  

January 30, 2024
Yuko Prefume, Ph.D., stands beside student's calligraphy display

Yuko Prefume, Ph.D., senior lecturer in Japanese in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures presents calligraphy by her students. (Courtesy Yuko Prefume)


Contact: Shelby Cefaratti-Bertin, Baylor University Media & Public Relations, 254-327-8012  
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WACO, Texas (Jan. 30, 2024) – Baylor University Advanced Japanese students received the International Award for their calligraphy display at the 36th International Kakyou Calligraphy Exhibition in Tokyo, Japan. 

Yuko Prefume, Ph.D., senior lecturer in Japanese in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures at Baylor, led 20 students in calligraphing words that captured the theme of the exhibition – kakehashi, or bridge in English. Hoping to build bridges and foster understanding in a diverse world, Prefume’s students wrote words such as friends, future, coexistence, human and uniqueness in Japanese, which were compiled into one display and showcased at the National Art Center Tokyo throughout December 2023. For many of the students, it was their first attempt at Japanese calligraphy.  

"This achievement shows that learning a language is not only about speaking but about learning to communicate and connect with others, experiencing new cultures and worldviews,” Prefume said. “Through their calligraphy work, we want to promote world language education.”  

In addition, two Baylor alumni Ben Smith, B.S. ’22, and Ben Swayze, B.A. ‘20, received individual awards for their work. 

“I’m very proud of my former students for pursuing calligraphy after graduation and making it part of their lives,” Prefume said. “I’m amazed at how much they have improved in such a short time.” 

The Kakyou Calligraphy Exhibition began in 1988 as a showcase to commemorate the opening of the Great Seto Bridge, the world’s longest two-tiered bridge system. The bridge spans the Seto Inland Sea and spans across a series of five small islands. The exhibition provides a venue for new artists and university students to venture into calligraphy and other art forms furthering the idea of bridging artists with opportunities. Since 2007, the exhibition has been held at the National Art Center in Tokyo.  


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