December 19, 2018
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Thousands of calligraphists brush up on writing skills at New Year's contest

Tokyo, Jan 5 (efe-epa).- Thousands of people of all ages gathered inside the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo Friday to demonstrate their calligraphy skills at an annual contest to welcome the New Year.

The contest is traditionally held at the start of the new year, and sees contestants compete based on their abilities with a traditional brush and black ink.

This year's competition was mostly attended by schoolchildren, although there were several elderly as well as middle aged people participating, an epa journalist reports. The oldest contestant at this year's edition was aged 91.

In addition to testing the participants' writing skills and brushwork, the competition also demands a knack for memorization.

The 3,036 contestants have 24 minutes each to accurately stroke two separate phrases, poems or proverbs, without the help of any references or source material.

After their allotted time is up, the calligraphers must submit one of their two completed pieces to be assessed by the competition judges.

While there is no prize money, a coveted certificate is awarded to the winner, chosen by a panel of judges, who are due to announce the winner on Jan. 21, with an awards ceremony expected to take place on Feb. 25 in Tokyo.

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