Shakyou calligraphy 写経

Shakyou Calligraphy ” set was packed for the camping retreat!

I did the brush meditation in pure nature.

It was just a beautiful experience – sharpening my senses….


#shodo #japanesecalligraphy #shakyou #heartsutra #calligraphyfortravel #rietakeda

Happy Practice!


Calligraphy Style : KANA

仮名 かな
( syllabic script )


Kana is a calligraphy style developed and practiced only in Japan.
It is an amazingly delicate, light and elegant script.
-And it is quite distinguishable compare to other calligraphy styles.

Kana text typically runs and flows on fine paper like a gentle water stream
breathing colourful air and whispering secret dreams.

– Kana is considered to be most mastery, skillful and aesthetic calligraphy style.
It needs highly trained techniques and fine skills as well as a deep understanding of aesthetics in spacing and positioning.

It demands of a calligrapher also a vast level of
sensitivity and knowledge of Japanese Waka poems.
Classic Haiku and Tanka poems are very often used for Kana text.


Kana text is very cursive script (Sousho 草書) consisting of KANA  (hiragana) or
often KANA and KANJI (or Manyogana)mixture.

A delicate, slim small Kana brush is used for practice.

Kana style is also known as Onnade (woman’s/female’s hand 女手)
because it was mainly used and practised by court ladys and women
during the Heian-period (794-1185).

 * images are from the text archive school of shodo
Rie stamp

♧CHUU-SHIN 中心 middle point / middle line


CHUU-SHIN 中心 in Japanese means : centre, middle point, middle line.
CHUU is – lit. inside, the centre point
SHIN is – Kokoro, heart, soul, mind, feeling, spiritIn Shodo lesson, we use this word a lot. It has deep diverse views of “the middle” .
The middle point can be also described as
a balance point / line and a harmonious point / line in Shodo.Normally after you learn Shodo for a while, it automatically grows in you and your eyes are trained to see where “the middle” is – as long as your teacher reminds you each time!
And you’d better ask the teacher and confirm where it is in every text.CHUUSHIN is indeed an essential element of learning Shodo.
Whenever there is a new text to practise, one should always check the CHUUCHIN
and study the structure of characters and the flow of the text.My tip is to find the middle point of a character first and then a middle line of the whole character.


I intend to use this word in my lesson with the meanings like :

the middle point of your body : navel

the middle line of your posture : imagine your spine is lightly hanging from the sky

being in the middle point  : connection/balance between mind and body, still point

the middle line of your position : on the same line as the calligraphy paper’s middle line

the middle point of paper

the middle line of paper

the middle line of brush (vertical line like spine)

the middle point of brush hair

the middle point & line of space on paper

the middle point of character (balance point)

the middle line of character (balance line)

the middle line of a whole text

in the middle of flow : Qi energy is in action

Happy Practice!
Rie stamp

Shodo Index : MIGI HARAI 右払い

MIGI HARAI – 右払い – Brush out ( Right)

This is one of the essential Shodo techniques – requires a Hands-On teaching with your teacher.I would recommend to practise this “right-brush out technique” after you feel comfortable with “left brush out technique”. They are more advanced and need more practice!

1. Nami-hou 波法

2.Taira-harai 平払い


First one practises No.1 and then moves on to No.2.
Please get supervised by a calligraphy teacher.
How to” will be added later!

How to hold the brush?!

〜 The way of holding the brush   〜

So now you set and position all the necessary tools.
And find the very light and comfortable position for your body and mind.
You can sit on the floor with the SEIZA -legs folding or
with the meditation cushion or -bench.
You can also find a good posture on the chair at the table.

Always be aware of the central point and the line of your body- called HARA, that is where our main Ki-energy flows. And try to imagine that the middle of your head is hanging from the sky, so your back bones are loose and light -comfortably set.

You prepared the SUMI ink and paper.
You prepared yourself through light breathing.
You have no tension at all around the shoulders or neck,
your elbows and hands are light and relaxed.

Are you ready to concentrate, but relaxed?!


Hold the brush really light with mainly three fingers,
the remaining fingers are set free to keep the weight balance.
And the holding point is slightly higher than the 50/50 line of the brush.
The brush always stays straight just like your back posture.
The best angle for the hand to hold the brush is about an angle of 45 degrees.
Also the positioned hand to the wrist and to the elbow stays as one line, no twist or bending.


The three fingers form an oval shaped gap. You always keep this gap between the brush and hand palm by holding the brush very light as if there is an egg in between.

And remember- your shoulder area is loosened.


As you hold the brush, put no pressure from neither hand nor shoulder,- just nicely light.

And imagine that the brush also has a central vertical line in the middle
– so you are actually holding this vertical Hara line of the brush.
This photo shows you the image directly from the above.


Yes, it looks simple.
However it may take some time to learn the proper way of holding the brush because of your habit of writing and using the pens with quite lot of pressure on the shoulders.
We just need to get used to this way of holding.

The tip is :
The brush always stays straight – so does your body line.
………. and let us remind ourselves of loosening the body and relax.


San-Sho-Tai – 三書体


They are three basic calligraphy styles which commonly used and practiced :

KAISHO 楷書- Block style (regular script / standard script)

GYOUSHO 行書- Semi cursive style

SOUSHO 草書- Cursive style


         Sousho                Gyousho                   Kaisho

About the text

黄鳥 春を 話すること 深し

kouchou haru wo wasurukoto fukashi



Bush warbler (Uguisu)has been singing all day outside the window.

SUZURI  硯  Inkstone

SUZURI  硯  Inkstone

SUZURI is an inkstone :

One makes ink by rubbing a ink stick on the surface.
This flat surface where the ink is ground slopes into the reservoir for the ground ink.
One can also pour liquid ink.

Suzuri inkstone

There is various sizes and forms.
For SHODO practice, the size of 12-15cm x 5-7cm would be a good size.
One should always wash with running water and dry with paper or cloth after the practice.
I sometimes use a soft tooth brush to get rid of dried piece.

There are two types of practical SUZURI

-TOUKEN 唐硯 Chinese inkstone

-WAKEN 和硯 Japanese inkstone

The SUZURI is sculpted from the slate / shale of ancient quarries or riverbeds.
SUZURI artisans look for slate with a rich luster, close grain, natural pattern,
and a smooth, hard impermeable surface.
A fine quality SUZURI can be inherited over 100, 1000 years.
Sometimes carved animals, plants, and natural scenes harmonize
with the natural shape of the ink stone. Famous Suzuri artisans in Japan are based in Yamaguchi, Yamanashi, Mie and Miyagi prefectures.

In addition, there are Suzuris made out of ceramic, laques, and soft stones. They are not commonly used for practising Shodo but more for our eyes.


紙  – KAMI – Calligraphy Papers


There are mainly two types of calligraphy papers:

Chinese Paper /KARA-KAMI 唐紙
and Japanese Paper /WASHI 和紙

We can find various types of Kara-kami papers and Washi papers.
And the most common and suitable paper for Shodo is called:
Xuan Paper /SENSHI 宣紙

– Chinese Xuan Paper / CHUGOKU ESEN 中国画仙
made in China
the main raw materials are straw, bamboo, mulberry..
and the characteristics are thin and its ink blurring abilities.
Ink absorption is quite high.
Detailed texture
It is also suitable for Sumie – ink painting 

– Japanese(Xuan)Paper / WAGASEN 和画仙
made in Japan, one of the Washi types.

the main raw materials are gum-pi tree, hemp, mulberry, rice straw..
the characteristics are thick and its less ink blurring abilities.
The ink absorption is less high than Chinese Xuan paper.
The essence of ink colour appears directly on paper.
Fine texture.
It is suitable for thin calligraphy, Kana or Etegami* here I note only papers for calligraphy