Calligraphy is one of Japanese traditional culture expressing characters artistically using brush and ink

Have you seen Japanese calligraphy?
They are an art of black and white, which turns writing or characters to worth appreciation as an art. It’s called ‘Shodo’.

All children are given Shodo class from 10 years old until the end of the compulsory education. Competition takes place annually. The works are ranked and awarded. It is also one of the popular extracurricular activities.

Therefore, every student owns a set of Shodo utensils. The major components are;

● Fude - a brush. It has a large variation of the diameter size. School students are normally equipped with three sizes; a fat size for the special work, a medium size for practice and the small size to add a signature on the edge of the work.

● Bunchin - a paper weight.

● Hanshi - specific paper for Shodo; white, see-through thin.

● Shitajiki - a felt mat placed under the paper to absorb the excess ink seeped from the thin paper.

 

● Suzuri - a dish to hold the ink.

● Sumi - an ink stick or a cake of charcoal. By rubbing it in the water put in Suzuri you will create the ink. The colour density is adjustable by how far you rub.

Calligraphy requires a special technic for the expression and skills to manipulate the brush on the paper. Also, need to control the amount of the ink.

Art events often have a department for Shodo

Some works of Shodo are as large as the calligrapher has to walk across the paper for writing holding a huge brush.

The aesthetics in handwriting really means to Japanese.
People who wish to obtain a good handwriting skill tend to go for Shodo class as people who are good at Shodo usually make nice, well-balanced writing.

 

Writing calligraphy is one of the traditional activities for new year season

The first attempt of Shodo in a year is especially called ‘Kakizome’, literally, ‘the first writing’.

About author

Tamaki SAITO(西東たまき)

Tamaki SAITO(西東たまき) Writer

Born in Tokyo and raised in Chiba prefecture. I'm excited to reveal the Japan's life behind the scenes that you can hardly learn from the regular sources. Let me hear how far it worked from your side!

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