When I decided to minor in Japanese back at SDSU, I had to choose one Japan-related elective class in addition to my language courses, so I picked one on Japanese calligraphy. Called 書道 shodo, lit. “the way of writing,” it’s a method for making beautiful kanji words and phrases on paper, an art form with a very long history. Although you can buy liquid ink that’s ready to use, our teacher insisted we spend the extra time to mix a solid ink stick (sumi) with water in our ink wells instead, which (she said) would help us compose ourselves mentally to create beautiful characters on the page. While most Japanese study shodo for a few years as children and some get really good at it, there’s a big trend away from all kind of manual writing of kanji these days, thanks to the ubiquity of pasokon and sumaho (personal computers and smartphones) in modern society. If you’re interested in Japanese calligraphy, we stock authentic fude brush pens you can use right away, and we also have a popular Customize Japanese Calligraphy Board service, in which our native Japanese employee will write any character or phrase you want on a sturdy Japanese shikishi autograph board.
Learning about Japan through calligraphy.