Japanese Calligraphy 書道（しょどう）
By: Jerry Hall
Traditional Japanese calligraphy is both formalized and exact. While artistic expression and genius are necessary, they are also confined within the technical excellence required by this very standardized art form.
There are many calligraphic societies in Japan. The work on the right is an excerpt from the register of Bokuteki-kai and shows an early work of Takase Sensei.
Bokuteki-kai is a calligraphic society devoted to training professional calligraphers. As there are many Japanese calligraphy societies, ones ranking in a particular society has no bearing on the ranking in another society. And the requirements of a rank are different from society to society.
With rank, the Japanese calligrapher is given a Chinese nom de plume and as shown here, Takase Sensei's nom de plume is Takase Sairei.
Very few Japanese calligraphers ever receive the honor of best in class and Takase Sensei has received this honor more that four times in two different nationally recognized societies: the Bokuteki-kai and Bunka-shodo.
Takase Sensei is ranked as a master in both Bokuteki-kai and Bunka Shodo. Japanese calligraphy is a traditional art and the artist must work strictly within the rules. As an example, to add any color or sumi-e drawing to the work would mean instant disqualification.
Unlike the strokes of Roman letters, the strokes of Japanese character have to be drawn in the correct order, not arbitrarily. When you learn Chinese characters, you draw one stroke after the other. This is called the square Kaisho style of writing kanji.
The Japanese, however, rarely use this style of writing kanji. There are two faster styles of writing in which the kanji become a little bit less legible. It is like writing Roman letters in a fast way: everything is written in only a few strokes. These two styles are called semi cursive (Gyosho) and cursive Sosho.
While it is better to be able to sit down with an instructor, this is not always possible or practical. And if you are fortunate enough to have an instructor, sometimes more detailed information is needed. To this end we have developed an extensive Japanese Calligraphy course for both self-study and to supplement current studies.
About the Author:
The idea here is not to learn how to write with a brush, or what the words are, but just to look at them as an abstract art. http://Calligraphy.smartreviewguide.com
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