Chiyo Sanada shares art for sister-state celebration


Emma Dobbs, Staff Writer


Chiyo Sanada has been a Saint Martin’s lecturer for nearly five years. In addition to teaching level one through three Japanese, Sanada will teach fundamental Japanese calligraphy in the spring, a topic she has studied since she was seven years of age. A practicing artist, Sanada created an art piece titled “Yuu-Kou,” meaning “friendship,” for the 55th Sister-State Anniversary celebration between the State of Washington and the Hyogo Prefecture of Japan. The piece was displayed in the entrance of the reception room of the Washington State Capitol on July 27, 2018, to welcome guests with a message of friendship.

The 55th Sister-State Anniversary celebration honored the agreement signed in 1963 between the State of Washington and the Hyogo Prefecture. The agreement has resulted in business, scientific, cultural, and educational exchanges, and collaboration between the governments for 55 years. As a result of this agreement, Washington and Hyogo have provided each other aid in times of need. Washington provided aid to Hyogo following major earthquakes in Japan. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Hyogo provided aid and support to Washington. This accord is the oldest sister-state agreement in the United States.

Governor Jay Inslee, Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib, and Governor Toshizo Ido, and Speaker Matsumoto represented Washington and Hyogo, respectively. Over 100 people attended a flag raising ceremony to welcome Hyogo representatives. They shared a meal to discuss business and economic goals.

The official commemoration event was held in the State Reception Room, where Sanada’s art was displayed. This event included remarks by governors Inslee and Ido, as well as a performance by a local children’s choir, who performed songs in English and Japanese. After gift exchanges, representatives signed a new friendship agreement, reaffirming their commitment to the original pact, as well as mutual help, learning, friendship, and cultural exchanges between each other.

When asked how she felt about having her art displayed, Sanada said she is very happy and honored, and that she is very thankful to have been a part of the event.  Her art piece will be displayed in the Lt. Governor’s office until Dec. 31 of this year. Sanada said the piece may go to auction next year.

In 1995, Sanada graduated with a degree in calligraphy and a teaching certificate from Hiroshima Bunkyo Women’s University and taught Japanese calligraphy after. Sanada shared that she tried many things as a child, including piano lessons, before discovering that she loved calligraphy. She decided her senior year of high school to become a calligraphy teacher, and share art with the world. At university, Sanada studied literature and calligraphy.

Sanada practices Shodo, a form of Japanese calligraphy. Artists use ink, brush and paper to illustrate Japanese characters. When asked to describe Shodo, Sanada shared that Shodo is her life and passion and she puts her emotion into each stroke she draws. “It is the art, the way of writing,” but it is also something that makes her happy and connects her to others. Sanada has participated in many artists workshops, and enjoys sharing her culture through her art.

Sanada moved to the United States in 2000, and learned English through ESL classes at a Seattle community college, and later took a job with the Seattle Times. Sanada shared that while learning English was difficult, and she made mistakes, her hard work and experience made her a stronger person.

Sanada currently serves as an advisor for Saint Martin’s newly-formed Japanese club. The club is named “Kizuna,” which means “strong bond.” The club already has officers and members, and hopes to plan several events relating to Japanese cultures this year. Sanada shared that event ideas being discussed are a celebration of Japanese New Year, an origami project, a tea ceremony, and a Japanese sports day, among other plans.

Sanada’s art portfolio can be viewed at her website,  


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