Japanese Calligraphy

If you following my blog, I listed that I will try something new… Japanese Calligraphy.

What is Japanese Calligraphy?


Japanese calligraphy (書道shodō?) is a form of calligraphy, or artistic writing, of the Japanese language. For a long time, the most esteemed calligrapher in Japan had been Wang Xizhi, a Chinese calligrapher in the 4th century, but after the invention of Hiragana and Katakana, the Japanese unique syllabaries, the distinctive Japanese writing system developed and calligraphers produced styles intrinsic to Japan. The term shodo (書道) is likely derived from Chinese origin as it is widely used to describe the art of Chinese calligraphy during the Chinese Tang Dynastyperiod.

Is their a techniques?

Early Japanese calligraphy was originated from Chinese calligraphy and many of its principles and techniques are very similar and recognizes the same basic writing styles:

What kind of materials or tools to be used?


In modern calligraphy, a number of tools are used to make a composition.[2]

  • Most basic four tools were collectively called Four Treasures of the Study (文房四宝 Bun-bou Shi-hou).
    • A brush (fudé?)
    • An inkstick (sumi?). The best inksticks are between 50 and 100 years old.
    • Mulberry paper (和紙washi?)
    • An inkstone (suzuri?) to grind the inkstick against, mixed with water.
  • Other tools include:
    • A paper weight (文鎮bunchin?) to hold the paper in place
    • A cloth (下敷きshitajiki?) to place under the paper (often newsprint is used as well) to prevent ink from bleeding through.
    • A seal (in?).[2] The art of engraving a seal is called “tenkoku” 篆刻. The student is encouraged to engrave his own seal. The position of the seal or the seals is based on aesthetic views. One is not allowed to put a seal on a sutra’s calligraphy.

During preparation, water is poured into the inkstone and the inkstick is ground against it, mixing the water with the dried ink to liquefy it. As this is a time-consuming process, modern-day calligraphy provides liquid ink in a bottle called Bokuju (墨汁bokujū?) and is frequently used by beginners. More advanced students are encouraged to grind their own ink. Paper is usually placed on a desk, while a large paper may be placed on the floor, or even on the ground (often as a performance).

The brushes come in various shapes and sizes, and are usually made using animal hair for the bristles. Typical animal hair may come from goats, sheep, horse-hair, etc. The handle may be made from wood, bamboo, plastic or other materials.

Here’s the video I took in our class.





One thought on “Japanese Calligraphy

  1. Nice Video!! Yes, Japanese calligraphy is one of the most popular fine arts of Japan. Calligraphically works are appreciated not less than products of painting. But this kind of the fine arts possesses also philosophical sense. In the simplest understanding, the calligraphy is an art to writing beautifully.I follow this type of arts & video from “Sumigraphy”.


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