Sunday, December 18, 2011

Kobara Sensei 7th Year Memorial Service

On December 17th, 2011 the Seventh Year Memorial Service for Kobara Ranseki Sensei took place at the Buddhist Church of San Francisco at 1:00 PM. Kobara Sensei was the founder and Shihan ("Headmaster") of the Ranseki Sho Juku system of Japanese calligraphy and painting as well as the Vice President of the Kokusai Shodo Bunka Koryu Kyokai, which is based in Urayasu, Japan.
The private service was attended by around 20 people, mostly members of the Kobara family and H. E. Davey Sensei and Miyauchi Somei Sensei, two of his closest students of shodo. Although Kobara Sensei taught many people the ancient art of brush calligraphy over several decades, only four people ever received Shihan-Dai, the highest level of teaching certification. Davey Sensei and Miyauchi Sensei are the last two living Shihan-Dai of Ranseki Sho Juku shodo. They lead the Wanto Shodo Kai, "East Bay Shodo Association," in Oakland, California. Davey Sensei is also the Director of the Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts, where classes in Integrated Shodo & Meditation are offered.
A Jodo Shinshu Buddhist service started the event, followed by a traditional offering of incense to Kobara Sensei by members of his family, Miyauchi Sensei, and Davey Sensei. The memorial service closed with comments from Kobara Kazuko, Kobara Sensei's wife. She recalled his deeply spiritual nature, how he viewed most everyone as members of his family, and how his last words were expressions of gratitude.
Following the service, refreshments were offered at the church social hall, which contained pictures of Kobara Sensei as a child, teaching shodo, receiving awards at international shodo exhibitions, and being presented with the Order of the Rising Sun by the Japanese government.