By Sgt. William JonesDecember 8, 2012
CAMP SENDAI, JAPAN - The ancient art of Japanese calligraphy dates back to the 28th century B.C. where it began as religious pictographs carved into bones for ceremonies. Today, it has evolved into an art created with paintbrushes and ink and is taught in the Japanese school system beginning in elementary school. It's a common cultural trade that all Japanese are familiar with and is even a popular subject with high school students. Americans service members participating in Yama Sakura 63 are now getting an education in pen and ink from the professional mark makers themselves.
The biannual training event between the U.S. and Japanese military, took part in a cultural exchange practicing calligraphy with the oversight of a local expert.
Hitoshi Tamiya, a talented calligraphy instructor, has taught dozens of Americans this ancient art form at Camp Sendai. He said this activity is proving to be very popular.
"We average between 15 to 20 people every time we have these classes. We hold these classes several times during each of the Yama Sakura rotations."
These rotations frequently place U.S. Army Pacific soldiers and service members and the Japanese military together and each time it gives them the opportunity to talk and exchange culture and through these exchanges the soldiers find out they have a lot in common. The exercise is designed to not only share each other's culture, but to strengthen military operations between U.S. forces and the Japan Self-Defense Force.