This illustration appeared in a calendar for the month of January. From the upper right-hand corner to the lower left-hand corner appears the text of an old Japanese poem: Let the winds of heaven / Blow through the paths among the clouds / And close their gates. / Then for a while I could detain / These messengers in maiden form. Chihiro’s wish to retain the girl’s charming image may have led her to choose this particular poem. A portion of another poem can also be seen among the lines: I pined with all my heart / To cast eyes on you / But once I did it was agonizing. / The pain I felt longing to meet you / Pales in comparison to the despair I feel now.
Chihiro began studying Japanese calligraphy in the Fujiwara no Yukinari style at the age of 18 and reached a level of proficiency that enabled her to substitute for her teacher. The elegant brushwork, the beauty of the lines and shapes, and the balance of the image and text against the white background displayed in this work clearly reveal the aesthetic sense that Chihiro developed through her calligraphy skills.