Monologue, a Solo Exhibition by Sho Mayumi

Monologue, a Solo Exhibition by Sho Mayumi

2022.04.21(Thu) – 2022.04.27(Wed)

From Thursday, April 21 to Wednesday, April 27, 2022, Yugen Gallery is holding Monologue, an exhibition by the calligrapher and modern artist Sho Mayumi. The exhibition features around 20 works including four new works created for this exhibition.

Sho Mayumi positions monologues, referring to individuals giving voice to their feelings, as the act of listening to voices that do not have a voice. In his words, "What we hear today in the media is only a tiny fraction of the opinions out there. What the other majority thinks and feels almost never gets out into the world."
In an age when words get instantaneously lobbed back and forth, stripped of their context and are at risk of being forsaken by people, calligraphy encourages people to stop, consider and feel words. Mayumi's works attempt to return words that creep up from the folds of emotion to people's hands, and entreat people to lend their ears to voices that do not reach them.

Sho Mayumi is a modern artist with a background in shodo (Japanese calligraphy) and expresses characters in paintings using sumi ink and acrylic paints. Born in Fukui Prefecture in 1998 to a mother who taught shodo, he began studying shodo at age 8 under her influence and grew up surrounded by written characters. He questioned, however, shodo's reliance on copying model characters as accurately as possible and quit his studies at an early age to pursue his own style of drawing characters through self-discovery. Creating art has been his main focus for the last four years. He currently lives and produces artworks in Kyoto.

Capturing the life that emanates from characters

He explores the theme of "emanating life" in his work. "Characters have evolved along with human beings. The history of characters is the history of humankind, and represents life itself. Blood also flows through each character." Every living thing has color and sound in the form of blood and a pulse, and these flow from characters nurtured by people. Mayumi makes visible the innate radiance of this life.
"Characters are a mirror of oneself, so much so that emotions show in fluctuations of the lines. You can only draw the character for disappointment when you feel truly disappointed." Mayumi talks of characters having smells and tactile sensations, and of seeing characters emerge from feelings that rise up, as if through the eyes of a child. His works, in that sense, are complete before he begins to draw them.

He has developed a technique of painting on canvas with acrylic paints in addition to sumi ink to express the felt emotions that are transformed into characters and the colors that arise from them. Thickly applied colors become flesh and blood, awakening in viewers the drive to move forward and the power that lies dormant within each one. Here, the principle of life that Mayumi describes of "freedom from the concept of a means of information" can be felt.


Mayumi's calligraphy created by this keen physical perception is influenced by his own experience in sports. He played baseball at the nationally ranked Seiryo High School in Ishikawa Prefecture, which he describes as follows. "High school baseball in particular is often romanticized, but underneath that it is mixed with thick human muck that in no way can be summed up as beauty." Through the sport of baseball, Mayumi learned that what is truly beautiful is crude and unrefined, and it determined his approach to art.

Calligraphy as a daily human activity


Various letters and characters have heretofore existed around the world. Like the evolution of species up to the present day, they go extinct or exist while changing form. Among them, kanji characters have a history of more than 3,500 years, and have been used continuously with only small changes to their shapes. There are tens of thousands of characters, which can be read either horizontally or vertically. This is rare among the languages of the world, whose writing systems generally are only expressed horizontally or vertically.
Kanji characters represent a pleasing combination of utility and beauty, encompassing both the communication function of conveying knowledge and wisdom and the beauty found in the shapes of the characters themselves. The major influence of kanji characters on culture is clear. Their use in the daily human activities of transcription, communication and seeking beauty is unparalleled.

While taking pride in his outsider status in shodo, Mayumi sees the human activity and life force in characters, and seems to also be seeking out the essence of shodo. This is evidenced by his own words. "Characters connect hearts and synchronize emotions. While the method of expressing intensity through brushstrokes may be different, I have undoubtedly been influenced by shodo as the focal point of my expression."


From the signs of weakening democracy, expectations for anarchism—in the rejection of authority and the social conventions that bind us and finding hope while exchanging words and collaborating with others—have been rising over the past several years.

With his irreverent identity as a calligrapher, Mayumi's calligraphy picks up value that has fallen away from large social frameworks. Instead of communication intended to drive people away, it serves as a receiver picking up voices that cannot be put into words. It presents an alternative way of looking at dialogue and the state of community today, which appear connected but are supremely fractured, and can also be viewed as anarchism infused with hope.


Open your ears to the voices of the heart. Mayumi sees hope budding there.

Artist Statement

The title of this exhibition is Monologue.
Life and death, submission, opposition and abundance are woven from the people and animals alive now and all creation. I lend my ear to the voiceless voices buried under the history of conflict that has been handed down to today as if it is the main story of humankind. These voices may be a type of sympathy. Or perhaps shrieks of delight or screams of the soul. Their eyes that are trying to deliver voices that echo in one's heart are bound and rendered immobile by the time of the present to the point of emptiness. Is that not the five million years humankind has formerly traveled in miniature? Or humankind that has stopped looking up at the skies in the modern day in miniature? I hope that people feel a range of emotions using the monologue found in one's inner self.

ー Sho Mayumi

Highlighted works

《 – Yang – 》

《 – Enshrined – 》

《 – wave – 》

《 – Now it’s noise – 》

*Some of the works on display are subject to change. please note that.

About work sales

At the same time as the exhibition is held, it will be possible to view and purchase the works on the YUGEN Gallery official online store.

Visual Book for Monologue, a Solo Exhibition by Sho Mayumi


Visual Book for Monologue, a Solo Exhibition by Sho Mayumi is a special gift given to exhibition visitors.


This is special gift is limited to gallery visitors who complete and return the following questionnaire. Please respond to the questionnaire to get your copy.


Visual Book for Monologue, a Solo Exhibition by Sho Mayumi


Featured artist: Sho Mayumi B4 version, 24 pp., \1,650 list price (tax incl.)


Career highlights

Sakyo-ku Ward Office, Kyoto City
Surf Disco, Kyoto
Books Ogaki Kyoto Main Store

Osaka Teikoku Hotel
The Lively Honmachi Osaka Hotel

Gallery Q, Ginza

Salon Art Shopping, Paris


[Definitive Edition] Nihon Shodoshi [History of Japanese calligraphy] (Edited by Akira Nagoya, Geijutsu Shinbunsha)



Calligraphy/Contemporary Artist

He has been interested in calligraphy since he was 8 years old, and while he was enrolled in the baseball club at the time, he has been self-taught to develop art. From an early age, he began to express the “colors” of people, animals, and all things based on his synesthesia. Taking its roots from calligraphy, it liberates characters from the concept of information means. Based on the concept of “oozing out life,” he visualizes the emotions and colors overflowing from life and incorporates them into his works. These expressions are currently being developed at the atelier in Kyoto.


Go to author page

exhibition period

2022.04.21(Thur) - 2022.04.27(Wed)


YUGEN Gallery


Token International Building 3F, 2-12-19 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Opening hours


Weekdays: 14:00 - 19:00
Saturdays and Sundays: 13:00 - 19:00
*Ends at 17:00 on the last day only


closing day


Admission fee



*Please note that the exhibition period and opening hours may change without notice depending on the situation.