Not seduced by luxury… | Shimizu Kosho


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The young Chinese Prince Wen of Teng wanted to know what would make a “great man”. This is a serious question, particularly for someone who would later be given a lot of power. For all others the answer is still interesting to know. The prince knew where to find help. He sent for Mencius (370-290 BC).

Mencius answered the Prince: “Not seduced by luxury and comfort, not changed by hardship and troubles, not bent by the presence of power. This is a true man.”

This did not quite answer the Prince’s question about the nature of a “great man”, but there is no record of his not having been satisfied with the answer. Actually it didn’t matter so much, as the Prince died at a relatively young age and before climbing the throne.

During his monastic career Shimizu Kosho was given responsibilities for different educational institutions adherent to the monastery. And he obviously had a good sense for Chinese classics. His calligraphy on the other hand is all but classical. It is rather unconventional, free and open minded.


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Shimizu Kosho | Tea bowl

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Tea bowl by Okuda Eizan decorated by Shimizu Kosho. Okuda Eizan is a Shigaraki potter and Urasenke tea master. Eizan was Kosho’s student at Todaiji starting in 1978. Impressed potter’s seal on the bottom of the bowl.Screen Shot 2018-02-23 at 11.38.37 AM.png


The inscription on the tea bowl reads 漱石枕流 Soseki Chinryu, “rinsing one’s mouth with a stone and resting one’s head on a pillow of flowing water, essentially an inversion founded on a mistaken use of the words stone” and water.” This originally Chinese phrase inspired Natsume Soseki in taking his pen name.

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