June 24, 2009

A Brief Overview of Japanese Calligraphy

[NOTE: There are more academic sources for the information below. To the best of my knowledge this is an accurate summary of one of the things I do best.]

Shodou (書道 pronounced“sho-dough”) translates to “calligraphy” in Japanese. This usually refers to writing Chinese characters onto rice paper, but the character range has expanded since its introduction. Nobles, monks and scholars in ancient Japan adopted the art form from China. Without shodou the Japanese writing system as we know it would not exist. Shodou is a teaching method for writing, a meditation technique, and an art form all in rolled into one.

There are 5 popular styles in shodou, ranging from the practical kaisho (楷書,) to the ancient tensho (篆書) to the abstract sosho (草書).

For a slightly more comprehensive look check out the Wikipedia page.

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