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Emeritus Members

In this area we honor certain members of Washu-Kai or Taka Sumi-e Society for their long participation with sumi-e painting in San Diego.  Most honorees have obtained their Shihan certification from Sensei Washu or Sensei Takashi.


It is a custom in Japanese sumi-e brush painting for the teacher, or sensei, to test their students after 10 years of study.  If the student passes the test he or she is certified as a Shihan, or 10-year student, and can teach first level sumi-e to others.  The student also receives a Japanese painting name name that contains an element of the teacher’s name.


We also honor former group members who have earned their Shihan certification from Sensei Washu or Sensei Takashi, but are no longer active group members.

Emeritus Washu-Kai Members

The following Washi-Kai artists have been granted honorary lifetime membership for their long participation in Washu-Kai.

Their nominations have been approved by a majority of the Washu-Kai Board.  Emeritus members have full voting and other privileges of regular members.  

Name                    Painting Name (Year)

Kayo Beach                       Shuka (1995)  

Toyoko Clark                      Hoshu (1990)

Mitzuko Kawamoto            Shuko (1994)

Kazue Knowlton                Koushu (2003)

Misa Okada                       Sashu (1992) 

Candice Oyama                Senshu (1990)

Hiroko Szechinski             Shuhaku (1999)

Former Taka Sumi-e Shihan Members

The following are Taka Sumi-e Shihan students who are no longer active group members.

NANCY LEE, “Ryunan”


I cannot remember a time when I did not know I was an artist.  At the age of 15, I started studying and creating art in a variety of mediums, including oil painting, watercolors, calligraphy, ceramics, stained glass, basketry and fabric arts. One freelance business I had was hand-painted greeting cards, which sold in 10 states. I have taught classes in card-making, calligraphy, and basket-weaving. I also taught crafts to pre-school children.  As a member of San Dieguito Art Guild, San Diego Artist Institute, San Diego Fellow Calligraphers,  and Friends of Taka Sumi-e my art has been exhibited and has received awards. My art is an emotional response to my love of the perfection, mysteries and magic of nature.  I am happiest when I am creating art, studying other artists, walking the beach at low tide and studying nature in her many forms.  The journey of being an artist is such a joy to me. These many years of studying Japanese brush painting techniques has opened a path for my artwork to be painted not from the hand, but from the heart.

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Karen Straus is a photographer, writer, editor and artist, specializing in Japanese sumi-e brush painting and bird photography. She has loved art, animals and outdoor pursuits since childhood.  Her love of nature was reinforced when she had the opportunity to grow up in Africa.  Karen volunteers with the San Diego Audubon Society, Friends of Taka Sumi-e painting society, and the San Diego Undersea Film Exhibition.  She is a member of the Women Divers Hall of Fame.  She and her husband Eric Hanauer travel the world diving, birding and shooting pictures.  She is deeply honored to have been chosen by Sensei Takashi Ijichi to be considered a 10-Year student.

Karen at Cayman Turtle Farm bird aviary,
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