Kakizome

Kakizome (in Japanese “first writing”) is a traditional Japanese caligraphy written at the beginning of the year or more precisely on the 2nd of January. This tradition is also known as "Kitsusho Hajime" (First fortune writing).

Kakizome
Kakizome

Water (“wakamizu”) used for Kakizome must be the one taken from the well on the New Year's Day. Wakamizu is also used for preparing food and offerings. It is believed to be holy. Kakizome is written by facing “ehou” (fortunate direction of the year according to local zodiac). Kakizome traditionally includes words like long life, spring or something similar. Everything is written as a poem or proverb. Nowadays many people also write certain favourable kanji characters. On the 5th of January some 4,000 people who made Kakizome gather at the Nippon Budokan arena in central Tokyo.

Kakizome is burned. It is done sometime around the 14th of January at the Sagicho Festival. It is believed that a high fire created by the burning paper means that the handwriting of the writer is going to improve.