What better way to have a calligraphy master show off their skills than by writing “RocketNews24?”
A few days ago we saw Shuetsu Sato’s amazing packing-tape kanji calligraphy on display in Shinjuku Station. He used his unique skills to create big, colorful signs like “stay to the left” and “watch your step” that stick out and grab people’s attention far more than normal signs.
Shuetsu explained a little bit how he went about creating his packing-tape masterpieces, but we wanted to see the master in action. So we invited him down to the RocketNews24 headquarters and asked him if he wouldn’t mind showing off his packing-tape calligraphy skills in action.
▼ The master and his canvas.
▼ And his many colorful brushes.
Now the only question was: what would he write?
After much deliberation, we decided to be a little conceited and ask Shuetsu if he would make a sign that said “RocketNews24.” He happily obliged, and we waited and watched in awe as the master went about his work.
▼ The first step: measuring lines for the characters to follow. If they don’t
line up the final product will look ugly, so this is an important step.
▼ After vertical “measuring lines” have been placed, horizontal ones are
put down too. Only then can the actual letters start to be crafted.
▼ Just like a sculptor removing pieces of stone and scaffold as they
are no longer needed, Shuetsu removes measuring lines as he goes.
▼ As more tape is removed, the final product starts to become more visible.
It feels more like an “excavation” than a writing process.
▼ Once all the measuring tape is removed, it’s still not done.
The letters are too square and pointed for Shuetsu’s taste.
▼ He rounds the corners off some of the letters,
giving them a softer feel.
▼ And the final product! It took about an hour to make,
which left us enough time to…
▼ …make another sign! Because we’re just that vain, we went with another
“RocketNews24” sign, this time in classy black and white katakana.
▼ This time we couldn’t see the final product at all partway through,
but Shuetsu keep working along. In his eyes, it was all planned out.
▼ …nope, still don’t see it!
All we could do was trust the eyes of the master.
▼ Remove a little tape here…
▼ Make a little cut here…
▼ And then suddenly the final image appears!
Shuetsu had to break out his inner ferociousness for this one.
▼ Some pictures of the Rocket Squad hanging out
with our new friend and sweet signs.
▼ The two Satos, together at last.
▼ Here’s a video showing Shuetsu at work making the signs from start
to finish, so you can see the detailed process for yourself.
Having Shuetsu visit and show us his craft was an enlightening experience. He did the work effortlessly, his fingers guiding the tape as if he were a skilled pianist playing a complex, packing-tape song.
We felt truly lucky not only to observe the master in action, but to have RocketNews24 immortalized in his unique calligraphy style. Maybe someday, when RocketNews24 has its own subway stop, we can be lucky enough to see it hung up in Shinjuku Station.
[ Read in Japanese ]