The ancient traditional art of Japanese calligraphy is indeed as beautiful as it is intricate. Calligraphy (Shodo) itself boasts a long, rich history across the world, with Japanese calligraphy itself dating all the way back to the 6th century.
These days, mastering the highly regarded art form of shodo is a revered task. Japanese elementary school kids begin their basic training of shodo in penmanship class. Some students even take special classes outside of school to learn more and practice their skills. Only a small fraction, though, will continue outside of school to master the traditional art.
Japanese Calligraphy – What Is Shodo?
To the untrained eye, shodo may appear to be just brush strokes of Japanese characters, but there is much more to it than that!
Shodo is reliant on the technique of the brush strokes, the flow of brush and ink, the accurate composition of characters, the way the brush is handled, the shading of the ink, the placement of the characters…the list can go on and on and on.
More than just a physical exercise, shodo is a mental practice of connecting the body and mind to ensure everything flows in harmony.
History Of Shodo
The art of shodo originated from China, eventually making its way through to Japan. Initially, calligraphy was an essential part of education for the members of the ruling families. However, as time passed by, shodo organically spread to the common people as well.
The origins of Japanese calligraphy are derived from Chinese calligraphy characters, which were modified to fit the Japanese language – this became known as Kanji. Japanese calligraphy will go on to incorporate Kanji alongside Japanese syllabic scripts hiragana and katakana.