Shumpo Soki

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Shumpo Soki (春浦宗熙, 1409 - January 14, 1498) was a Japanese visual artist and a poet, who was a disciple of the Daitokuji priest Yoso Soi.


  • My sword leans against the sky.
    With its polished blade I'll behead
    The Buddha and all of his saints.
    Let the lightning strike where it will.
    • Japanese Death Poems. Compiled by Yoel Hoffmann. 1986. p. 115. Cited in: Joseph Reppen. Why I Became a Psychotherapist. 1998. p. 308
  • No single bone in my body is holy -
    It is but an ash heap of stinking bones.
    Dig a deep hole and there bury these remains
    Thus, not a grain of dust will stain
    The green mountains.

Quotes about

  • Shunpo Soki was a Zen priest of the Rinzai sect. A disciple of the Daitokuji priest Yoso Soi (1376-1458), Shunpo became the fortieth abbot of Daitokuji and was famous for his efforts in reconstructing the temple in the aftermath of the devastation of the Ōnin War (1467-77).
The few examples of Shunpo's calligraphy that survive reveal tenacious brushwork, the use of very black ink, and a sensitivity that somehow produces the sensation of a relaxed space in the interior of each character, a quality not always found in the works of professional calligraphers. Although they lack a high level of technical skill, Shunpo's brushstrokes are laid down tnoughtfully and result in a highly original style, allowing the viewer to imagine the calligrapher breathing as he brushes the characters on the paper. Shunpo's calligraphy is best appreciated not one character at a time, when minute technical faults might be noted, but in units of several characters or even one column at a time; when viewed in this way, the brushwork conveys a lyrical quality and even gives rise to melancholy feelings.
  • Miyeko Murase, ‎Sylvan Barnet, The Written Image: Japanese Calligraphy and Painting from the Sylvan Barnet and William Burto Collection ‎Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.) - 2002.