Kaji Aso
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Of Boston and Tokyo, March 11, after a dignified battle with cancer. Teacher, artist, tenor, adventurer, bon vivant, poet and philosopher, he founded the Kaji Aso Studio Institute for the Arts in 1973. Here he brought together Japanese and western culture, visual art, music, poetry, philosophy, theater, good food, river trips and marathon running. Mr Aso was also a Professor at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for thirty-three years. His art is in the collections of museums around the world, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo. Thirteen of his works are registered as Japanese National Properties. As an accomplished tenor Mr Aso performed opera and Italian and Japanese songs. He ran in thirty-six Boston Marathons and leld kayak expeditions down some of the longest rivers in the world including the Mississippi, the Nile, and the Volga. He also designed and built the first Japanese teahouse in Boston where he presided as tea master. Among the many recognitions that Mr Aso received from local and international organizations were the "Distinguished Bostonian" award in 1980 and being named by Boston Magazine as one of the "Bostonians We Love" in 2002. A man of great generosity, an unfailing sense of humanity, and an inspiring spirit, he will be remembered by the many peoplel whose lives he deeply touched. He is survived by his sister, a brother, nieces and nephews, and many students, friends, and admirers. A memorial observance will be held in the Great Hall at the State House in Boston on Wed., March 29 at 7 PM. Donations may be made to "The Kaji Aso Memorial Fund" c/o Kaji Aso Studio, 40 St Stephen St, Boston, MA 02115

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Boston Globe on Mar. 18, 2006.
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113 entries
March 12, 2020
Mr. Aso came to Boston on March 10th, 1967. He passed on March 11, 2006. On March 10, 2020 and March 11, 2020 the tree dedicated to him (a Japanese mountain cherry in Boston's Public Garden) is blooming. There is a haiku underneath by Mr. Aso that says :
Day is over
Yet still cherry petals
Are flying
March 12, 2019
On the back of fish,
Light fragments
Spring Water
- by Kaji Aso

This was the first haiku Mr. Aso wrote when he arrived in Boston on March 10, 1967. He was a painter, poet, singer, tea master, adventurer, marathon runner, philosopher and generous teacher. He passed away in Boston on March 11, 2006. This past Sunday Kaji Aso Studio held a tea ceremony in its gallery for the thirteenth annual remembrance event.
Kate Finnegan
June 22, 2017
Ken Thomson Okatsu
May 26, 2017
Valenda Newell
May 5, 2017
Thinking of Mr. Aso today and feeling gratitude for his beautiful artworks and generosity as a teacher.
February 14, 2017
Twenty two years ago, I was lucky enough to meet Kaji Aso and to learn from him: Japanese calligraphy and watercolor. I was the student who tipped over the bowl during the tea ceremony! When I leaved the studio to get back to France, Kaji Aso offered me two paintings that I still hold dearly. He will be missed dearly. Much love to his memory. Caty Vaganay (student in 1994)
Catherine Vaganay
September 29, 2015
I suddenly thought of Mr. Aso again, just this afternoon. While it has been many years since I have seen him, and years since he has passed, it felt as 'though it were yesterday that philosophy was being discussed; that music and art were being created again, full force, at the Studio that bore his name and became his legacy.

Why did such a poignant feeling arise?

A six year old boy was brought by his mother to my music studio, now in the mountains of Los Alamos, New Mexico.
This boy, who happens to be Japanese, crossed his arms and tilted his head in a way that was uncanny, timeless, and full of spitfire.

The boy did throw a tantrum. I knew that he was not a bad kid, and was in fact, full of curiosity.

Even after all my years of teaching violin, specifically, and being in the art world, I did not know what to do. I don't think I reached him.

Something tells me that Mr. Aso would have been able to handle the little guy.

We never forget. We can suddenly miss someone with quite a piercing intensity.
Kirsten Stromberg
September 12, 2015
Flowers smile for you a lot.
Peter Woodruff
November 6, 2013
Kaji Aso would walk into the room say the word WIND and leave. It was 1974 and I was missing....his crits were sharp and spot on...Abstract watercolor use 300lb Arches and get it right. He was also a marathoner and I have done only 3 but I always think of his studio and wondering could I ever run one? thank you Kaji Aso
October 20, 2013
All that is Nature
Fleeting, beautiful, living
Memory lingers
August 28, 2013
I will always remember Mr. Aso fondly. His wit, peace, adventurous spirit, kindness, and of course, his art, will continue to touch those who know him and of him.
Lawrence MacQueen Pooler
April 3, 2011
While I did not know Kaji very well, I studied watercolor painting with him three different time, and learned many things about art, as well as nature from this incredibly gifted, as well as authentic individual.

I have also always loved his kind, as well as gentle spirit, and will reflect upon the many extremely special experiences that I had thru studying painting, as well as much more with him. I l learned quite a great deal about life in addition to watercolor thru our various conversations, which thru he has also helped me to to find inner peace.

Kaji most definitely was authentic, as well as an incredibly talented individual whom I miss and will always think back on this incredibly talented individual, whom I am happy to have had the privilege to meet, as well as learn from. He was incredible, as well as most definitely a national treasure who also taught me a great deal about Japan, which I had know nothing at all about until we met.

May he rest in peace.

I learned quite a great deal thru his kind and gentle ways, in addition to also now love many things Japanese, which he also inspired me to read as well as also learn more about.

May his kind and gentle spirit live on forever. r.i.p. Kaji.
Margot Birnbaum
May 23, 2010
I knew him. I did not always understand him. I liked him. I learned from him. I traveled w/him to Japan. That was phenomenal. He did his country proud. When I sought him out again, he was gone. I was surprised/shocked by that. I thought that he would live forever. He said so and often. He never said he was sick. He never said, " Good bye". I will miss him always. He was a character and a cultural icon. It is because of him that I love all things Japanese. May his spirit and love of his culture live among us in his memory.
Niamh Ultaigh
April 28, 2010
Dear Family of Kaji Aso i am so sorry for your lost. Let me share a scripture with you at James 4:8 were it says Draw close to god and he will draw close to you.
April 10, 2009
hi! mr aso

give me osen-bei again

thank you

kay takinami

617-566-2432 home
617-515-1822 buss
kay takinami
May 8, 2008
In the last few years of living out West in California, I have lost touch with much of my life/aquaintences in Boston. So it was a sad shock to hear of Sensei Aso's passing over a year after the fact. So it is now as if he had passed yesterday, and my heart is heavy with his memory and thoughts of his kindness, humour and talent. He was a great man, and a wonderful teacher. Although I met him in a class while a student at the SMFA in 1996, I credit him with planting a seed of Eastern philosophy and approach to art/life/nature/ and painting that is just now bearing its ripe fruit. This approach is concerned with the openess and expansiveness of awareness (of a 'being-ness' expressed in a simple thumbprint or a freshly opened grapefruit) and a profound appreciation of natural form and light. This is in marked contrast to much of the Modernist approach espoused by the school he taught in. (after so much Modernist training, I'll never forget the youthful shock I felt at his blithe casual remark that "Picasso was more like a clumsy cartoonist, not an elegant painter") But his spontaneous, Zen like approach to painting and nature has stayed with me to this day and shaped me in such meaningful ways.

But for all his artistic and personal grace, one mustn't forget how funny he could be too. I made the mistake of mentioning to him one day how my youthful love of bed pleasures sometimes resulted in sessions lasting several hours. He couldnt believe it, slapped his knee and laughed so much! When, heartbroken, I later broke up with one amorous girlfriend, he chided me saying, "well, its not so bad. Now you have two more hours a day to paint!"
Hahaha!!! ...ah, I still laugh at that.

Also, no matter how much I tried to get it out of him, he still never told me his age!
It was hard to guess, and anyway, his spirit is timeless.

Here's to Professor Aso! A true Renaissance man, a brilliant natural genius, and a Great Soul!

Sensei, your love and lessons live on in the hearts of many, including my own. I shall miss you even more now that you have gone to the great horizon, and I cant help but think that this world couldn't contain your beautiful spirit anymore, and so released it.

I finally understand what you were trying to tell me all those years ago. Thank you, Thank you, Domo.
Justyn Zolli
April 11, 2008
jeffrey ray wine
April 3, 2007
Mr. Kaji Aso was a truly gifted man, one that I hold in high honor. He always made me feel welcomed like part of his family whenever I visited. I will never forget the enjoyable moments we've had together and the privilege to demonstrate my origami works in his beautiful studio. I will never forget this extraordinary man who was such an inspiration to me and countless others.
Bernadette Chenard- Hsing
March 23, 2007
Dear All at the Studio,

On the anniversary of Mr. Aso’s passing, I send my belated love and condolences. I was shocked to discover the notice of Mr. Aso’s memorial service last year a month after the fact, unopened, buried under a pile of papers. I was so sorry I hadn’t known he was sick, and sorry I wasn’t able to attend the celebration of his life. The articles and tributes were beautiful. I am grateful you all gave him such devoted support and such a fitting send-off.

The importance of Mr. Aso and the Studio in my life is hard to express. It was a magical, passionate, challenging, sometimes exasperating time and place. He led me, and allowed me to learn to lead; taught me, and encouraged me to teach. It felt so natural, to fall into this family of artists, musicians, poets, and philosophers who shared my innate drive as an artist to seek beauty, to follow “nature and temptation.” How lucky I was he/you were there.

Food played a major role in our bliss. Forgive me, Gary, but I have to share this memory from when we were roommates in J.P. I woke up at 3:oo a.m. one night after dreaming of barbeque. I followed my nose downstairs to find young Gary Tucker kicking back with a juicy steak, a glass of Cognac and a fine cigar, a la Kaji Aso. And midnight trips to Chinatown for whole fish in black bean sauce, traipsing through the streets of the North End for cannolli and espresso afterward. Lobsters at Bruce’s down the Cape. Bernard’s magnificent feasts . Of course, grilled octopus every December. Motley crew crammed around the little kitchen table every Thursday. The cracked yellow coffee pot. Oh God—Indian Thanksgiving at Katie’s.

I shared a sublime Italian dinner alone with Mr. Aso in a little restaurant he discovered in London. Once, in the house in Hampstead, London, Mr. Aso cooked me a hamburger (no mad cow jokes—the beef, he wanted me to know, was so much more flavorful than ours—and it was).

Mr Aso cooking for me, and serenading me, were special moments. A carful of us were headed for the Berkshires for a Tanglewood weekend at Eugene’s family house. It was very late, dark, and our usual witty sarcastic banter died down as we nodded off. Gently, Mr. Aso began singing The Tennessee Waltz—sweet strains in the fragrant night air. But nothing compared with the times I was painting on the third floor in the wee hours after an opening-- hot summer nights with the windows wide open to the swelter, or in winter with snow tapping on the glass, when from the gallery the most beautiful harmonies would rise up to me—Mr. Aso and Gary practicing the duets from The Pearl Fishers, the most sublime melodies I had ever heard.

Underlying it all was the simple fulfillment of gathering around hydrangeas or tulips; laughing, chatting, then settling into quiet concentration with our pencils or brushes, forgetting time, in the zone together.

I was grateful then and still am today. Thank you all for keeping the studio flourishing—I’m not being maudlin when I say the studio’s existence still gives me strength, inspiration and support. I hope someday I will be able to contribute again in a direct way.

With much love,

Jane Morris
Jane Morris
March 2, 2007
When Mr. Aso first came to Boston he was a guest at our home, and sang some songs in the living room. My mother bought a small watercolour entitled, 'The Flower Thief'. Many years later I was enrolled in a class in Asian inspired painting and it was taught by the very same man! He gave the most inspired and intellectual lectures, and we painted many circles! Later I went directly to Kaji Aso Studio. In conducting some research I found that he has passed on. We are all graced with having known him. How are you Kate and Jeanne?
Marlene Bell
October 3, 2006
The world lost a true professor.
Aaron Vine
July 29, 2006
Mr. Aso forever changed my approach to art. Through his teaching I learned to search inside for how to paint "the light coming through the trees."
Eric Podietz
July 12, 2006
As the days and weeks pass, and as you return to life’s routine, may you continue to feel comforted by the love and support of family and friends.
jessica vohs
May 27, 2006
I recently went to Boston (2 days ago) with a friend and although I had not seen the studio in many years...I felt drawn to go there to visit and see Mr. Aso...I was saddened to hear of his passing...but I distinctly felt his presence in the garden....and in the room where he taught me watercolor painting so many years ago...the cooing of the doves was a symbol of his being to me and brought back memories of his teaching and a happy day when we sang "Sentimental Journey" together....In my mind and heart, he represents eternal youth and beauty and Love of Life. His Art is Magical...and his love and appreciation live on in all of us...Love and Peace to you Mr. Aso...I will always remember you.
Mindy Gilbert
May 26, 2006
a teacher of much more than painting,
still , 27 years later , lessons of Mr. Aso,
I remind myself of often.
james conlin
May 25, 2006
I was another fortunate person who met Mr. Aso. As a youth of 17yrs, new to Boston, I came acrose the studio in its very early days. Stayed off and on for 5 years. I arrived in a state of bafflement, left five years later, still baffled. But touched and transformed from the experience nonetheless.

Mr. Aso help me discover the joys of Opera ( I accompanied him on the piano), good food, a taste for cognac, and the fine art of conversation. More importantly he took seriously my nascent artistic labours.

Thirty years later, I still affectionally ponder his work, his style, love of life, mesmerizing personality and the love and loyality of his friends, students and confidants.
David Story
May 22, 2006
Allan Bargas
May 11, 2006
I prepared a broadside(poster)of the poem I sent to the studio on St. Stephens Street. Then, I thought of sending a painting with the poem only... "KYOTO SUNRISE" is the name of the work... and sent it to an address in Japan.I am sending another to the City of Boston. Perhaps a show, a retrospective of his work and ours, his students, could be curated and perhaps it could travel to other cities and countries... . I would like that.
stephen gredler
May 9, 2006
With our deepest sympathy, William and Elizabeth DeVasher
William DeVasher
May 9, 2006
Inspiration is the word I learned from Mr. Aso. I did not know him very long but somehow I remember him very well. I'll remember him as a teacher and a gentleman who inspired me to see how art connects to life.

Thank you Mr. Aso.
T. Tran
May 9, 2006
carol rossi
May 8, 2006
Masao Iketani
May 7, 2006
I met Kaji san at his exhibition held in Ginza, Tokyo. He left me a sumie haiga featuring one of my haiku from "Tachimachi"
Emiko Miyashita
May 7, 2006
It seems so strange to think of the House of Flower Wind without Mr. Aso. I know I am among many tea apprentices who will miss him profoundly! His instructions at tea influenced how I view life and helped me find the calm center that allows for a deeper experience of everything I undertake.
Mr. Aso, I will always take you with me in my heart but truly miss your presence.
Sandi Linebarier
May 5, 2006
Dear Mr. Aso,

Today is May 5th, 2006. It is Boys Day. It is a beautiful sun filled day. We are flying fish kites at Kaji Aso Studio and we have lovely Iris flowers on the table for you.

Thank you for teaching us about the true value of life- every moment.
Thank you for being strong and full of compassion.
Thank you for showing us how everything is connected to everything
and how we each have to be responsible.
Thank you for being a straight talker and a man of peace.
Thank you for fearing nothing and dedicating your life to the betterment of humanity.

Forever- Thank you.
Kate Finnegan
May 5, 2006
As spring arrives in Boston I have been feeling sad that Mr. Aso isn't here to see the beauty of rebirth....but then I remember how he found the essence of beauty in every season....every moment... and allowed no one, most especially himself, to take anything too seriously...so I will miss him in every season, in the midst of gratitude for having known him....while smiling at my foolishness...thank you, Mr. Aso...
Kathy Johnson
May 3, 2006
I had a dream the other night. It was morning. I was walking into his apartment on Westland Avenue in Boston. I hadn't had any contact with him for a long time, which is true. Sunlight flooded the apartment. Two men were moving cardboard boxes. I suddenly realized that one of the movers was Mr. Aso. In this dream, I knew he had passed away. As he carried the box out of the apartment, he turned to me and said, "How are you feeling?" I said, "Okay." He turned and left the apartment with the box. I turned and walked into the sunny apartment. The walls were unfinished space paintings.

I have never stopped painting, and I thank him for this.
Steven Bogart
May 3, 2006
Mr. Aso was a great perso, a great artist, a great man! It is so sad that he had to pass away so soon! We will always remember that what he did for all for us.
May 2, 2006
I met Mr. Aso during the summer of 2001 in Boston. I attended Haiku North America at the Boston Cultural Center. There were some events at Mr. Aso's studio. With the greatest of pleasure, I enjoyed the tea ceremony in his tea house. There was a distant rumble of thunder as we sat silently. And he began to tell a folk story from Japan. It was a wonderful story about the Thunder God and his Son. Even now, I feel such happiness in remembering that wonderful evening.

When John F. Kennedy was assignated in 1963, it was a great shock to me. I realized that if life continues when a Great Man passes away - what would it do for an ordinary man like myself.

Mr. Aso was a Great Man. He influenced so many lives with his ability to teach the arts of Japan.

For the rest of my life, whenever it thunders, I will have a special memory of sipping green tea with Mr. Aso many years ago.

In profound gratitude and appreciation, I touch my forehead to the floor.
Howard Lee Kilby
May 2, 2006
I, too, learned how to experience the world differently after meeting Mr. Aso at waterpainting classes in Cambridge. I remember thinking, why is he throwing fruit across the floor? why shouldn't I put a cloud in the sky when asked to paint "sky". Then one day, after doing an exercise many times over, he said to me, "Happy Birthday" and I was forever changed knowing that I had finally grasped a deeper way of being.
Tamara Bourso
April 23, 2006
I was very sorry to hear from my friend Jamie that Kaji Aso had passed away. I met him a few times when I played music in his space as part of a chamber improvised music series. We listened to recordings of his beautiful singing, and he talked about the courses he taught, art, books, running in the marathon, all manner of things! He struck me as a truely amazing gentleman. Indeed, he seemed to me to embody many of the best things about the arts in Boston- those ways of being and creating which are unique to this place, this city. I feel lucky to have gotten to spend at least a little bit of time with Kaji Aso.
Katt Hernandez
April 20, 2006
Aso sensei,
I wanted to see you again in Boston...I never forget you in my life..
Just Thank you.
Michiko Imai
April 16, 2006
many blessings for peace to the soul of mr. aso for showing and sharing with others his deeply creative spirit and boundless energy and many loves.
Gineen Cooper
April 14, 2006
Words are too small to express how much Mr. Aso's teachings and his glorious spirit have meant to me. I am so fortunate to have known him and been his student, and to be one of the Kaji Aso Studio teachers and trustees.

Beautiful butterfly
flying free forever
spirit soaring high

Marjorie Layman
Marjorie Layman
April 14, 2006
The old master gone
an empty seat
at the tea ceremony
Brett Peruzzi
April 6, 2006
Dearest Mr. Aso, you have left an indelible imprint in all of us. The precious times shared have taught me the most valuable lesson of them all. They have taught me about the beauty of life, how priceless each instant on this earth is. Around you everything was felt and lived in vibrant colors. From the most humble of things to the greatest of them all, you taught us to appreciate them as precious. Your life is an inspiration, “the good life” where one is truly one with the whole and so very human at the same time. I will always hold you most dearly in my heart.
Olga Lucia Murcia
April 5, 2006
I am greatly thankfull I was able to be near such a man even for the short time that was. I am thankfull that such a man walked our earth. Kaji Aso made been human really to be the greatest gift of life. Thank you teacher for all you did for us.
Aristotelis Grammatikakis
April 3, 2006
I first met Mr. Aso in his watercolor class at the school of the Museum of Fine Arts many years ago. I remember painting with my fingers for weeks wondering why we were doing this. Later I relized how valuable this lesson was for me. The valuable lessons continued with caligraphy and Sumi on Monday afternoons for almost 4 years. He was a great teacher and honorable man. He said as much by his silences as with his praise. He will always be a part of my art. I will miss him and all of the people at the studio. Thank you Kate and staff for all you have done to keep the studio going.
Mike Ferro
March 30, 2006
An amazing artist and teacher. A truly great and giving man (with a very quick wit). There will never be another like him. I am grateful to have know him.

I will think about you whenever I "just paint blue sky".
Joyce Bartlett
March 30, 2006
I am so honored to have known Mr. Aso and to have experienced his teaching. He has touched so many lives in such beautiful ways and brought so much light to this world. His memory is a true blessing and inspiration. May his spirit dance and be joyful in the afterlife. Mine dances with his memory.
Susan Lynn Shoobe
March 29, 2006
My thoughts are with the wonderful group of people that surrounded Mr. Aso at the studio in Boston. Just as he enriched your lives, you made possible and enhanced his life and desire for beauty and peace. Your sense of community is admirable; the studio itself is an inspiring example of a dignified, creative, celebratory and appreciative society. Peace and joy to you, Grace Tucker
Grace Tucker
March 29, 2006
So sad to read of Kaji Aso's demise when, having visited the studio March 4, I'd been flooded with delightful art and artists, and all of this from his creativity.
Virginia Settle-Watson
March 29, 2006
To Kate and Rick,
I was able to begin to know Mr. Aso through you. We had tea together and shared several conversations. He made an indelible impression on my young life. He had a knowing look. And to this day I see it when I think of him. Thank you Mr. Aso, and thank you to the Studio.

Fondest wishes,

Andre Bilodeau
March 29, 2006
What I am, as well as the way I am, is deeply indebted to Mr. Aso.
I miss his jokes, his voice, his excellent cuisine, and of course his veracious endeavour to create art. There was nothing like him,
who had dedicated every moment of his life to "being with" people. He never told me what to do. Instead, he was always with me, which eventually helped me understand which step I was expected to take. Only did he stress how beautiful and precious was "nature" that would make human beings what they were supposed to be. He never criticized but encouraged me. He was a true Japanese master of art and life.
I miss you very much, Mr.Aso. How I wanted to drink tea with you in your tea house, which you gave me an opportunity to build the foundation of.
Katsu Tsuji
March 29, 2006
thank you endlessly
for my new eyes
your aesthetic surgery
has cut deep rivers
of wisdom
in my heart..
i will miss you
even though you will always be
the brace keeping these eyes
John Kolwaite
March 28, 2006
The essence of Kaji Aso's teaching have had a lasting influence not only on my work as an artist but also on the way I teach art.
Thank You Mr. Aso.
Elizabeth DaCosta Ahern
March 28, 2006
I am so sorry for your loss. I know how much Mr. Aso meant to all of you. May his spirit remain within you. For many years Mr. Aso had been warm and kind to me, he will always have a place in my heart. May he rest well.
Tricia Pepe
March 28, 2006
I am saddened that a person of such imagination, talent and vitality is no longer with us. I am sure his important work will live on through the studio he founded.
Pat Bobrow
March 28, 2006
Thank you Mr. Aso for all that you have given to me. Being with you and the poetry group, and creating haiku poems together over the past year have changed my life - Thank you.

looking at nature ...
oh - the colors and shapes of
seeing nature
Brenda Soyer
March 28, 2006
last days of Winter --
the old dog catches
the firefly
Paul Mena
March 28, 2006
I send my condolences to the family and the studio. Although I did not ever meet Kaji Aso, he must have been a wonderful man. I certainly appreciated the award he and the studio gave to my mother, Elizabeth Searle Lamb, last year after her death.
Carolyn Lamb
March 28, 2006
I was surprised and saddened by Mr. Aso's passing. In my brief connection with him and his studio, I've found his work and presence and spirit admirable. May he rest in peace.
Terry Chau
March 28, 2006
I fondly remember the kindness and curiosity of Mr. Aso as he and his friends honored me as a guest at a tea ceremony last fall. I will think of him this Spring when the wisteria blooms. I am lucky to have met him.
Grayson Baur
March 27, 2006
I went with my father to Boston in 2003 to enjoy the Boston Early Music Festival in June. I wondered if I might find a tea house in Boston I could attend in my spare time. I found Mr. Aso's website and thought that it would be the perfect journey to seek out his studio. I found it and toured it, disappointed however that Mr. Aso was not there. As I left, to my surprise, I recognized Mr. Aso walking up the sidewalk. It was the only time I met and talked with him, but he spoke with me in such a friendly and encouraging way like he had known me all of my life. He seemed to be talking to my heart. This message is to celebrate Mr. Aso's heart. Ichi go Ichi e. Thank you, Aso sensei!
Daniel Christian
March 27, 2006
Laurie Mayville
March 27, 2006
A most remarkable, accomplished, and gracious man, may he rest in peace
Wayne Stoner
March 27, 2006
An honor to have shared time with a man of such spirit.
Wanda Cook
March 27, 2006
Now we see your face, only
in the raindrop
the butterfly
and every drop of dew
but when the winter night is cold
I'll step outside the warmth of home
I'll look up at the nests of stars
as bitter cold clears my mind;
and the moon ~ sharp
present, bold,
illuminates me
and we will talk, then.
Barry Maloney
March 27, 2006
Daisuke Takahashi
March 27, 2006
I have fond memories of my first meeting a year ago with Mr. Aso and since that time I have enjoyed his reporte with Richard (freelance Globe Reporter) and of Mr. Aso's joy in seeing Gabriel our son and his genuine affection for my entire family. Especially his allowing our daughter Misha to enjoy a calligraphy class.

It was a tremendous blessing to have Kaji acknowledge the worth of my life journey and experience with Asian people through his spectacular illustrations of my book The Majestic Crane: An African American Girl's Journey to Asian Culture.

Mr. Aso all the more validated those precious relationships I formed in my youth and my inspiration I received by reading the story The Crane Maiden in 1971, by so generously studying family photos, reviewing my collection of pictures saved over the years of my travels to Asia, and his taking the time to read and edit the book to assure that Japanese culture was presented authentically and in proper context.

Mr. Aso actions were very valuable beyond what I could ever afford to pay him or repay him.

As you know Kaji Aso left the legacy of his Art Studio and a legion of students around the world from the Museum of Fine Arts, in his native Japan, and who attended courses conducted at his studio.

Most of all, he has inspired me to continue to love boundlessly.

Rochelle O'Neal Thorpe
Author: The Majestic Crane
Rochelle O'Neal-Thorpe
March 26, 2006
Master Kaji Aso. . .
Father in the word,
words of life, poetry, art.

Your every move – grace,
Quiet yet powerful.

You – surrounded
by a resplendent aura.

Requiescat en pace (1936-2006).
Lolita Paiewonsky
March 26, 2006
We treasure the memory of the tour to Japan Mr. Aso conducted in the summer of 1985, an experience no ordinary tourist will ever enjoy. Welcoming drumming greeted us at a country inn in Izu. Innumerable and varied temples were visited in Kyoto and Nara. Each day brought us something new and wonderful, and the tea ceremony Mr.Aso conducted in the early morning hours at the Ryoan-ji will never be forgotten. One of his butterflies still graces our living room, perpetually fluttering in the sunlight, reminding us of him and of that memorable pilgrimage. He truly provided a cultural link between East and West.
Charles & Elsie Petty
March 26, 2006
Thank you Mr.Aso
Isao Wada
March 25, 2006
Tears welled in my eyes as I read of Mr. Aso's passing, I had so longed to return to calligraphy classes with him, but that was not to be. My heart sings with great joy knowing that his spirit is now free to explore the depth and beauty of being he so eloquently embodied in this dimension. Light dances, souls sing and eternity smiles. Hugs and love to you all.
Kris Page
March 25, 2006
a breeze ripples
the stone Buddha's pond . . .
his serene smile
Stanford M. Forrester
March 25, 2006
Mr Aso loved life. He shared this love with people. Do something today that makes the place we live better, more beautiful, more peaceful--this is what I learned from Mr. Aso. Please do this too. This is my wish in memory of Mr. Aso. I miss him.
Love, Jessica Vohs
Jessica Vohs
March 25, 2006
May the light that Kaji Aso captured for so many live on forever in our hearts and souls reflecting his wisdom and grace.
Rosemarie Sansone
March 25, 2006
I remember Mr. Kaji Aso as an instructor at the School for the Museum of Fine Art where he was always smiling and kind. He was a true artist and an inspiration to his students as well as a true life mentor to my dear friend Kate. May his work and the legacy of his goodness live on.
Eric Forsberg
March 25, 2006
Mr.Aso's spirit lives on through his art and all the love and energy he devoted to helping Kaji Aso Studio grow to be the inspiriing and lovely studio it is today. He was more than an artist..He was a insipiration, an enlightened being dedicated to raising the awareness of all who surrounded him. I will miss his lightheartedness, insight and calming presence.
Allison Wright
March 25, 2006
This amazing gentleman will be greatly missed.
Judith Funkhouser
March 25, 2006
Master Aso
Good tea, even better conversation.
I will never look at a crocus the same way.
Tim Birnstiel
March 25, 2006
A sparrow alights for a drink
at the edge of a pool
of golden fish
behind the teahouse.
Were we not all little birds
that drank from the deep pool
of this generous heart?
Open to all;
the only requirement
was a thirst.
Lainie Senechal
March 24, 2006
I shall always cherish the professional relationship that Mr.Kaji Aso and I shared for the first six years of the Poetry Festival, including this year. Even more, I shall always be greatful for his quiet lessons , support, and inspiration. We mourn his passing, but we celebrate his life and artistic legacy.-
Harris Gardner
harris gardner
March 24, 2006
Mr. Aso has been a treasured friend of the FINNEGAN family for many years - through good times and sad times. He was a wonderful teacher, wise counselor, and trusted friend and mentor to my daughter, Kate. You will be greatly missed, my friend. Rest in Peace. We love you.
Betsy Finnegan
March 24, 2006
I was honored to know Kaji Aso, my sister, Kate's friend and mentor. Kai Aso came to me in Braintree after my stroke and gave me chi to get well and encourgement. The earth has lost a great man. It has rained in California since his death. I will miss him. his studio is a tremedous legacy that I hope survives a long long time.
susan finnegan smith
March 24, 2006
Mr. Aso was a true artist. A rare, beautiful flower blooming forever...
Theodora Scobi
March 24, 2006
Thirty years ago, Kaji Aso taught me how to paint, how to see, how to let the joy of life flow through me.

In October, through a dear friend's birthday gift of the Tea Ceremony, I reconnected with him Tuesday evenings in the water color studio and, afterwards, at the intimate, funny, sad, and moving Renga writing sessions.

He was a mischievous and gentle soul who got older but never old.

I will strive to pass on some of his spirit through my own life.

What a blessing to have know him through these years.

Love to all who grieve with me,
Mona Thaler
March 24, 2006
We'll greatly miss him.
Cheri Jaffe
March 24, 2006
My living room in Paris is filled with paintings I did nearly 30 years ago while immersed in the aura that Mr. Aso created - "paint orangeness, not just the orange". I am so deeply saddened to learn of his earthly passing; his voice and teaching are eternal for all of us priviledged to have been in his presence.
Marilyn Davison
March 24, 2006
While we were looking at his beautiful painting of two butterflies he said, "People ask why I painted these butterflies...I tell them that I was really painting the wind." His life was a shining example of human potential and mastery. The world is darker without him.
Craig Hall
March 24, 2006
Thanks for the memories, Mr. Aso,your peaceful attitude and kindness to others, including my daughter Doreen, should remain as an example for the world to follow. Heaven will now have the World's Best Sensei.
Irene Reis
March 24, 2006
Kaji Aso,
You have touch us all in so many wonderful ways. You will be missed. Peace
Aaron Bruce - The Unity Center at Rhode Island College
March 24, 2006
It is a thousand miles to the memorial, but these thirty years, it has never been more than a thousand seconds to a memory of the Studio.
I will have a bonfire in the snow here; I will run, but not as long as we used to do; I will play Mr. Aso's favorite Duet from the Pearl Fishers, in string trio form, with my daughters Kirie and Erika.
Kirsten Stromberg
March 24, 2006
I treasure Mr. Aso's cheerful example. Like my own grandfather, he seemed to have found a routine that included the things he liked doing best, and he enjoyed sharing his loves with others. I will strive to share what I love with others, and inspire them to appreciate life the way Mr. Aso's example inspires me.
Nathan Smith
March 24, 2006
Mr Aso will never leave my life. Going down rivers, singing, writing poetry, making sushi and talking about life and art, he was a Japonese image of a Renaissance man, and being around him was more that a pleasure, at times it was an awakening. These were great times, the trip down the Mississipi, the trip down the Seine, and all these nights at the studio. Great times, great friendships, all thanks to you, Mr Aso, and forever I am obliged.
Michele Gregoire
March 23, 2006
My regret is that I only met Mr. Aso once. I was so impressed and touched by his warm personality that I was hoping to get to know him more. I will always cherish the memories of even that one meeting. May his soul rest in peace.
Rabinder Malik
Rabinder Malik
March 23, 2006
Dear Mr.Aso,
I have known you since I was a baby. I will miss all of your funny jokes, and all that you have tought me will be in me forever. You were a great teacher, artist, and almost family to me. I will miss you a lot. I wish I could see you one last time, but I hope you rest in peace, and i just wanted to thank you for everything.

Emy Takinami
Emy Takinami
March 23, 2006
dear sensei
too manny nice memories
marrason,baseball,play,drink sake
enjoy sushi,japan trip
sayonara and arigato

i want see you again
March 23, 2006
On behalf of the Spring Street Haiku Group, I would like to extend our deepest condolences to Ms. Kate Finnegan and the staff of Kaji Aso Studio, and to all the family and friends of Mr. Aso.

On a more personal note, I remember with great fondness the tea ceremony in which I participated in the summer of 2001 during the Haiku North America conference in Boston. Mr. Aso's gentle manner and sense of joy and reverence in celebration of this ancient ceremony remain indelibly engraved in my memory. May he rest in the peace which he created all around him.


Brenda J. Gannam
Coordinator, Spring Street Haiku Group
Brenda J. Gannam
March 23, 2006
Such a bright candle
Casting its glow o'er the world
It lives on through us

Thank you Mr. Aso for so generously sharing your gifts--may you rest in paradise.

Victoria A. Riccardi
Victoria Riccardi
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