A recent viral tweet demonstrated how much Japanese popular culture values the art of writing and showcased an up-and-coming calligrapher who has garnered a host of fans because of her personality and penmanship.
In mid-September, Aoyagi Bisen posted a video to her Twitter account that showed how to write what is widely regarded to be one of the most obscure–and complex–Chinese characters: biang, used exclusively when writing “biangbiang noodles” in Mandarin.
From the perspective of anyone who is familiar with writing Chinese characters, known in Japanese as kanji, the character for biang is almost ridiculously complicated, taking 56 strokes to write.
Aoyagi's video has been shared on Twitter so far more than 149,000 times.
中国の漢字です( ´ ▽ ` )ﾉ！
「ビィアン」と読みます。麺の種類のひとつで「ビャンビャン麺」と呼ばれる麺を漢字で書く場合に使われるようです(^ ^)！ 美扇筆ー半紙用ーを使用してます。 pic.twitter.com/GXMxPCmBro
— aoyagibisen (@aoyagibisen) September 25, 2017
Here is the one Chinese character that is said to be the most complicated. It's used in China! ( ´ ▽ ` )ﾉ The character is read as “biang”, and is used when writing the name of the noodle dish known as biangbiang-men (^ ^)！
With just 52 tweets so far, 27-year-old Aoyagi is a relative newcomer to Twitter, so her “biang” tweet was truly a sudden viral sensation. Born in Osaka, Aoyagi says in her official bio that she started learning Japanese calligraphy from the age of four from her grandmother.
By the age of 17 she was licensed as a calligraphy instructor, and she has continued her study of the art ever since. Today Aoyagi works as a professional calligrapher, performing in exhibitions around the world, representing Japan, while selling her own brand of calligraphy supplies.
— aoyagibisen (@aoyagibisen) July 21, 2017
Here is a new profile picture of me.
On Twitter, Aoyagi regularly posts short videos of beautiful calligraphy demonstrations.
— aoyagibisen (@aoyagibisen) August 2, 2017
To shine! #AoyagiBisen
— aoyagibisen (@aoyagibisen) March 20, 2017
From time to time, she also provides tips and lessons on how to perfect Japanese calligraphy.
— aoyagibisen (@aoyagibisen) March 9, 2017
How to write beautiful Chinese characters. #aoyagibisen
And other times, Aoyagi provides virtuoso performances that more resemble abstract art. In this tweet, Aoyagi challenges herself to write a 108-stroke abstract form made up of different kanji elements.
— aoyagibisen (@aoyagibisen) October 3, 2017
A kanji with 108 strokes.
To help shoo away some “earthly desires”, here's a time challenge. Wouldn't it be awesome if I could write this in one go in a minute or less?