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Hirokazu Kosaka was born in Wakayama, Japan. He graduated in 1970 from Couinard Art Institute in Los Angeles where he earned his BFA. He went on to earn a Masters at Columbia University in 1980. He is an ordained Buddhist priest from Koyasan Hagyu Temple. He is currently the curator and director of visual arts at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in Los Angeles, California and has practiced Kyudo for time untold. For, as he might say, time is not of essence.

At the 2008 ANKF Seminar in California, kyudoka had the opportunity to attend a seminar given by Hirokazu Kosaka. He touched on several areas in his talk entitled “Veranda: The Space Between”. The serenity with which he spoke, would put even the most tense kyudoka at ease on the night before exams.

I was fortunate enough to find a video clip on You Tube covering a small portion of his talk that evening. There he speaks on brushes. (The link may be located under “videos” to the right.)

His first brush came from his great-grandfather, some 120 years or more ago. This brush, as was Japanese tradition, was made from his great-grandfather’s first haircut. This is done with each generation and passed down to the next. He showed us the two brushes, as well, made from the first haircuts of his two sons. He points out the softness. He tells us this is due to the fact that it is from hair never before cut. The tips are soft and not blunt, as would be otherwise.

He showed us brushes made from peacock feathers, ostrich eyelashes, sheep, rabbit and more. He told of how, as a boy, he would catch rats and pluck their whiskers. He collected these over the course of a year to make one brush.

He acquired a brush that he did not know the origin of. He had a friend in a lab run tests on it to find that it was made from elephant hair. Not just any hair of the elephant, though. It was not of the tail as he had thought, but from the soft, soft hair inside the elephant’s ear. He spoke of his curiosity and how this was purely a matter of ego in wanting to know.

In speaking with him afterwards, he related this story to our Kyudo, saying …we should not let our ego enter into our shooting. Let it go!

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