Ishikawa Jozan | Letter
Handwritten letter by Ishikawa Jozan, a prominent Samurai recluse and poet. The letter is addressed to Tsuda Masazane (1618-1675), a statesman in Kanazawa who was Jozan's student.
I respectfully read your letter written on the eighth day of this month. And for the ten mackerels from Noto [mackerel is a signature product from Noto. As is tea from Uji or Sake from Itami , not to mention Whale from Iki], you send me each time, I cannot thank you enough. I congratulate you on your health. Also, the old man here spends days mostly without troubles. Thus, do not worry about me.
You have sent me some beautiful poems some of which I have corrected with red brush. This time, the good ones sounded pure and sublime. As I wrote you in my last letter, creating without idling is rare and praiseworthy. Do not give up. You may reach higher and beyond someday. Moreover, thank you for your consideration that you offered clothing to Senboku [i.e. Hirai Senboku, Jozans assistant].
I am expecting to hear from you.
Jozan, May 14th.
To Sir Tsuda Kuranosuke [i.e. Tsuda Masazane (1618-1675)
As to next year, it depends on how things go. If you visit the shrine though, please visit us. If you do not come, you can tell me to come to Sakamoto. I would love to see you again. Time flies and I am already talking about next year. Since I miss you so much, I would like to see you in this or another year. Again, about your better poems, when I polish them, they are perfect.
The inscription on the box is intriguing. The title on the box lid reads “Rokurokuzan-jin Letter” and it emulates the style of writing Jozan was famous for. Then the inscription identifies the piece the box belongs to - Master Ishikawa Jozan's "on the eighth of this month's" etc. letter... – and qualifies the calligraphy – The brush is strong and clear.
And to show his erudition the writer of the inscription cites from Confucius’ Analects – As one says, "a man of virtue is always bold", and finishes with a rhetoric question – How could one not appreciate it? – Written on an autumn day in 1807. Alas, there is a tiny blind spot. The identity of the erudite.
Ishikawa Jozan (1583–1672)
Ink on paper
Mounting 90 x 93 cm (36 ½ x 36 ½ in.)
Box with old inscription, dated 1807