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Shihan Students

It is a custom in Japanese sumi-e brush painting for the teacher, or sensei, to test his 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 artist name that contains an element of the teacher’s name. This way the traditions of sumi-e are passed from teachers to students, through generations.



Misa Okada received her 10-year certificate from Takashi Ijichi in 2010. However, she has been studying brush painting for much longer than that, more than 30 years. She studied with Kazuko (Suzy) Reynolds, known by her artist name of Washu, for 21 years. Misa’s artist name, Sashu, was given to her by Washu. Misa’s favorite subject to paint: birds!




Joe was born in Philadelphia. In 1945, at the behest of his uncle, he switched from drawing and watercolor to photography. In 1978 he attended his first Japanese sumi-e brush painting exhibition given by Kazuko (Suzy) Reynolds, known by the artist name of Washu. In 2000 he started sumi-e training with Takashi Ijichi. As a member of Washu-Kai he attended demonstrations by Washu. In 2007 he was elected as president of the Washu-Kai Japanese Brush Painting Society. After receiving his first-level teaching certification and painting name of Ryujo from Takashi in 2010, he started his own school Ryujo Shikunshi Ryu. In addition to studying with Takashi, he studies with Tatsuko Sandin (Ryushu) and Kayo Beach (Shuka).

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The first time Edna took an interest in painting was in the 6th grade, when she entered a San Diego City Schools art contest, and won 1st place in her age group. After that she was hooked on art and design. In later years she worked in all kinds of mediums: oil, acrylic, professional jewelry design, fabrication, and stained glass windows and lamps. She was always interested in Asian fashion, customs, art and designs, so after trips to China and Japan she knew she had to try her hand at Asian art. In 1993 she found her true calling in the sumi-e style of painting. Edna became a student of various teachers, and in 2001 started taking classes from Japanese Master Artist Takashi Ijichi, her teacher or "sensei". She graduated in 2011, receiving her 10-year student teaching certificate and her painter name of RYU-E, as is the centuries-old custom. This accomplishment fulfilled Edna’s dream, and to this day she continues to take classes, because, she says, “One learns something new with every class.”




From childhood, I have sought to portray "action" and "life" in my drawings. I am still working on this!  My first teacher of Japanese art was Mrs. Kazuko Reynolds (Washu), from whom I obtained a 10 years' certification and painting name (RuShu). When Washu retired, I continued my studies with Mr. Takashi Ijichi.

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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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Creativity was a large part of my childhood and teenage years.  I enjoyed drawing and experimenting with color, shapes and media.  Time passed before I picked up a brush again, this time with Sensei Takashi.  I’m so grateful to have spent the last few years under his tutelage.  His lessons are more than just art instruction, they are cultural and life lessons.  My favorite part of class is critique.  Sensei always has something good to say about each student’s piece of art, all the while correcting, suggesting and instructing.  Thank you, sensei, for opening my eyes to the world of Japanese brush painting and to the world of nature.  I look forward to sharing my love of Sumi-e with others.

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STELLA TING,  “Ryu Gyoku”


Stella Ting was born in Macau, China and immigrated to the United States in her early teens.  She has always been intrigued with the art of Asian brush painting even as a young child.  Years later in her adulthood, Stella had the opportunity to start learning this beautiful art form. 

Stella is passionate about her art works.  She continues to strive towards embodying the concept of Zen Wisdom and pursues her journey of painting through the flow of inner energy.  She is a recent ten year graduate of Sensai Takashi Ijichi.  She enjoys sharing her insight of this splendid art form of Asian brush painting. Current member of:   Friends of Taka Sumi-E, and Ling Hsiang, Chapter Five of American Artists of Chinese Brush Painting. Stella Ting contact information:, (858)

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Nina Fishman has been a life-long admirer of Japanese culture and arts, beginning with an inspirational trip to Japan when she was a teenager.  She considers art as a way of growing spiritually, and values brush painting as an exercise in mindfulness.   She was delighted to join Takashi and fellow students on a trip to Japan in 2007, and enjoyed the cherry blossom season.  


She has studied with Takashi since 2001, and was awarded the Ten Year Master Artist Certificate in 2010.  She has exhibited paintings in every show since 2002, and also has exhibited at the Del Mar Fair,  where she won Third Place in the Oriental Brush Division in 2008.  She has also exhibited three times at Mission Trails Regional Park.  Nina has donated art for fundraising for various organizations. Nina has also taught several workshops for the Friends Taka-Sumi-e painting society.




While teaching Art in the City Schools, I needed a relaxing outlet for my own creativity. I found sumi-e painting and was hooked. In 2013 I received my title of Sensei after studying with Sensei Takashi Ijichi for 10 years. I have also studied with Sensei Tatsuko Sandin and Sensei Joe Cross. I was a member of the San Diego Watercolor Society, was accepted by Spanish Village for my clay jewelry designs, and am a member of Friends of Taka Sumi-e.  I hope you enjoyed viewing my work as much as I did painting it.

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I was given the name Ryusu by my sensei, Takashi Ijichi in 2014. I actually had to be persuaded to take a sumi-e class; but once I saw the effects of the inked brush on the paper, I was captivated. Studying under Takashi has given me reverence for the traditional religious and cultural undertones in Japanese art as well as an appreciation for the challenges of describing nature in brush strokes. My biggest inspiration comes from interacting with all the other students and society members and marveling at what comes out of their brushes.

I admire Zen sumi-e. However,  I tend to paint detail, and so painting on silk and mashi paper intrigues me the most.

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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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Margie Johnson is endowed with Mastership of Sumi-e painting through the disciplines of Japanese Sensei Takashi Ijichi (RyuHo). Further studies toward perfection ensue with both Sensei Joe Cross (RyuJo) School of Shikunshi and Tatsuko Sandin (RyuShu). Flavors blended into Margie's sumi-e paintings are derived from travels to Japan which served to strengthen her understanding and love of Japaneses culture, art forms and people. Showings have included San Diego County Fair, Mission Trails Regional Park, Art Experiment, and Friends of TakaSumi-e shows. Margie's artist philosophy is that God delights in all artistic creativity as in the blossoming of a morning flower.

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I have always loved my family, friends and beach – now there is more.  After a successful teaching career, I was lucky enough to meet a wonderful sensei who opened the creativity in my heart.   Along with this came a community of fellow artists who supported my efforts with encouragement and critique.  I have achieved a peace in painting that has filled my life with a new appreciation of the world around me – in nature there is inspiration.  My eyes are open and my brush is flowing.   I have been painting for 10 years now.  Japanese brush painting has captivated me.



Deborah received a degree in Fine Art with an emphasis in pottery, textiles and jewelry. Her inspiration for Japanese art and culture began while working for a Japanese company.  Over the past 10 years, she has found her passion as a sumi-e brush painter and was fortunate to visit Japan to further embrace the culture and natural beauty. Under the guidance and lessons of Sensei Takashi Ijichi, Deborah has developed her skills for this natural art form and continues to expand her talents and creativity.




I have been an artist since early childhood using acrylics, oils, and lots of sketching.  I had not done much watercolor until 2002 when I went to Japan to visit a friend.  While there I met Hakuho Hirayama, an 80-year old Japanese Master at her private home outside Tokyo for my first sumi-e watercolor lesson.  She taught at the American Club and had done paintings for dignitaries.  She spoke no English so I learned by watching.  I have one of her beautiful paintings in my home. Upon my return, I looked for Japanese paint classes and found Sensei Takashi Ijichi.  After 13 years with him I graduated in March 2017, receiving my paint name, Ryuro.  I also enjoy photography and painting brings me much joy and peace in looking at nature differently.  I also studied with Tatsuko Sandin (Ryushu).  I continue to paint, make handmade and painted greeting cards, and enjoy silk painting classes with Sensei Ryusu, Stephanie Mast.

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