There are many kinds of cultures in Japan. Even if you know what Japanese culture is like, many people don’t know the specifics. Especially among them, this page focus on Japanese calligraphy. I would like to introduce Japanese calligraphy method and various typefaces.
1. What is Japanese calligraphy?
Called “Shodo” in Japan. Calligraphy was introduced to Japan from China in the 6th to 7th centuries, from the Asuka period to Nara period, as well as Buddhism. Japanese calligraphy is one of the expression methods to write letters on paper using a writing instrument called “brush” and ink stick, and to convey one’s through the letters and typefaces. It can be said to be art because it is not only a means of writing letters but also a means of self-expression.
2. What is the basic behavior?
The basic way to sit down when doing Japanese calligraphy is to sit straight on a Japanese cushion. The posture also straightens the back muscles. When doing this, there is no special clothing and you can basically write in free clothing.
3. How to do Japanese calligraphy?
Pour a little water into the recessed area at the top of the ink stone and gently rub the ink stick on the ink stone. Then, the ink stick gradually dissolves in water and some ink liquid is formed. When some ink liquid is ready, soak the brush with ink liquid. Use your thumb, index and middle fingers to hold the middle of the brush.
When writing with a brush, hold the brush upright.
When writing letters, use your non-dominant hand to lightly hold the paper while writing.
4. What typeface do you have?
There are five types of kanji for brushstrokes.
The first is the characters written on a seal called a seal script or a passport of a Japanese national. It has the characteristic of rounding the corners of square kanji.
The second is the clerical script. Characters such as “Bank of Japan notes” and “Ichimanyen” written on Japanese banknotes are written in clerical scripts. It is a typeface that was born after the seal script, and although the “upward brushstroke” and “sweeping” parts are flat and characteristic, it is also a typeface that is rarely used in actual Japanese calligraphy.
The third is a typeface that was born after a clerical script called a block script, and is also the basis of Japanese calligraphy. It is also an important typeface for mastering Japanese calligraphy because it is a prerequisite to be able to write a beautiful block script when writing other typefaces or breaking characters.
The fourth is a typeface born from a clerical script called a running script. It features a typeface that has a flow that looks like a slightly broken block script, and you write continuously without stopping the brush, or you write with some characters omitted.
The fifth is a cursive script, which is similar to the English cursive script. Because it can be written quickly, it is written in characters that are even more broken than the running script. Cursive script is difficult to write and read without a certain amount of knowledge, so it can be said to be a typeface for advanced Japanese calligraphy.