Cool Japan Gifts / Traditional Arts & Crafts - Online Shop Saiga > Shodo (Calligraphy) > about Shodo
Although the origin of calligraphy was China, the style unique to Japan
was made by invention of the Japanese syllabary(Hiragana). Shodo is the
traditional culture of Japan with 1300 years of history. And it is the
art of a line. The artist of Saiga is Meishu(Calligraphy Master). She starts
from rubbing a Sumi(ink stick), and writies for each customers heartily.
We wish that many people enjoy the world of the deep beauty of calligraphy.
- Shodo is written by hand, so the shape of a character, the shade of sumi,
and a blur degree change with works.
- Due to monitor settings, color may differ from actual color.
- A tint of Hanshi and Shikishi may be subtly different.
- Meishu's seal may change with works.
<About Japanese language>
Japanese consists of three different character sets. Today, Japanese is
laterally written like English in many cases. However, Japanese was written
below from the top for a long time.
- Kanji(thousands of characters)
Kanji has a meaning each and corresponds to a word. By combining characters, more words can be created.
- Hiragana(46 standard phonetic characters)
Kanji can be written by Hiragana. Apart from it, it is used also as the
postpositional particles and auxiliary verbs when writing a sentence.
- Katakana(46 standard phonetic characters)
Katakana is mainly used for borrowed words, foreign names and foreign place-names.
*If you want to learn more about Japanese language, please see Japanese Learning / Language & Characters
and Japanese Kanji Dictionary with Pronunciation.
There are five styles of handwriting in Kanji.
- Tensho(Archaic script): Tensho is materialized by character unification
in the Shi Huangdi era (B.C. 246-B.C. 210). It is used for the seal etc.
- Reisho (Clerical script): Character which made Tensho more practical.
- Kaisho (Square style): Character of the clear shape which simplified Reisho.
- Gyosho (The semicursive style): The point and line of Kaisho are connected
and written so that it can write quickly.
- Sosho (Fully cursive style): Character which omitted point and line.
The style used usually is three kinds, Kaisho, Gyosho, and Sosho. The work of Saiga are written by Gyosho and Sosho.
<About a Shodo Tool>
- Suzuri (Inkstone) : Although a rectangular simple Suzuri is common, there
is also a round shape. And, there is Suzuri engraved with the picture
(mainly picture of a dragon).
- Sumi (Ink stick) and Sumiokidai (The stand which places sumi): Sumi has
a lot of kinds. And the hue of sumi is different, respectively. Glue is
included in sumi. It will adhere, if sumi is placed and neglected on the
square of an inkstone. We wipe sumi after rubbing, and it puts on Sumiokidai.
- Fude (Writing brush): The materials of Fude are a bristle of animals (weasel, horse, goat etc.).
The atmosphere of a character changes according to the kind of bristle currently used.
- Bunchin(Paperweight) and Sitajiki (Cushion) : Bunchin is put on a upper
part on both sides so that it may be easy to write a character. Sitajiki
uses the thing made of cloth, such as felt, usually.
- Hanshi (Japanese writing paper) : The paper for calligraphy has some sizes and a name changes with them.
The one of the size called "Hanshi" is the most common, and it is mainly used for practice.
There are also many kinds of paper and the thickness and the color of paper are also various.