K254 Shinobu (Perseverance) by Ashikaga Shizan 足利紫山


(signed) Kan’un* ,age 101


Ashikaga Shizan (足利紫山, 1859-1959)

hanging scroll, sumi on paper 32.1 cm × 33.9 cm.


*Shizan’s Zen-master name.

Shinobu is a central concept in Japanese culture. According to the circumstances, it means “perseverance,” “effort,” “endurance,” “patience,” and sometimes “stealth.”Pronounced nin, the character forms the first half of the word ninja. In conversational English, the equivalent of shinobu is “hang in there!” Zen master Shizan had “hung in there” for more than one hundred years when he brushed this wonderful piece. It serves both as a declaration of unshakable Zen endurance and as an inspiration for all of us to persevere to the end.