Get serious with shodo: Learn Japanese calligraphy

When first interacting with Japanese culture and kanji, you may come across the ancient art of shodo, japanese calligraphy.

Watching master calligraphers can be almost hypnotic, their brushes gliding with the paper in such a way that it seems effortless. So you try and…splash. Ink stains on paper and your first kanji looks more like a deformed stick man.

This is where most people give up. They tried it. It was fun, but not for them. But not you. You relish the challenge, pick up the brush and try to do art. Now is the time to get down to business with shodo.

Relaxed versus engaged

Photo: iStock: bee32

If you want to use shodo as a way to practice your kanji, or just want to experiment with artistic styles and a brush, there’s no need to get serious with time commitments or fancy equipment. Instead, you can easily practice kanji with amho youshi (water-based writing paper) or collect some pen (brush pens) to give free rein to your creativity. Or, you can get all the proper gear (see below) from hundred yen stores.

But let’s say you really want to master the art of calligraphy itself and create beautiful characters and flowing brushstrokes. In that case, your best option is to start working towards a calligraphy certification. It may also work for the casual hobbyist, as there is no time limit and you don’t have to attend a daily class, but you can still work towards achieving recognized “calligrapher” status.

Shodo Ranking

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