What is SHODO?!

You may not have heard of SHODO before.

What is SHODO?!

I’d like to talk about the Shodo and the inner aspect of this art form in this page.

“SHODO” is a Japanese word which is often translated and described as
“the way of artistic hand writing or beautiful writing”.

In my lessons, I often say the art of traditional Japanese calligraphy.

It is written with two Kanji characters.

*SHO 書: to write, writing, to calligraph-y

*DO 道: the path, the way or the Tao, symbolising the life path we walk/go forward

It is one of the oldest and most profound traditional art forms in Japan, developed and appreciated since the 5th century.

Shodo is not only a highly regarded art form in Japan, it is a skill and an aesthetic.
The depth of beauty in Shodo is the result of diverse techniques and complex movements – that is being accompanied with a flow of brush and ink.

And most essentially it needs to be escorted with an inner silence, calmness and a body-and-mind-connection. Some call it a spiritual connection.

As you might know, in the Japanese Do-Art tradition such as Sado, Aikido, Judo, Kendo, Kado – and the Eastern philosophy, we learn that body and mind are as one, they are not separate things.

When the body and mind are united, you are closer to the sense of MUSHIN 無心 as a clear mind / transparent mind. MUSHIN is often described as the state of no-mind, non-thoughts, a high level of spirituality and a heart – free of disturbances. You can describe this as meditative state as well.

You become aware of your inner energy and you can make the energy flow lighter and smoother. Particularly in Shodo, you can make this momentary energy flow instantly visible and solid on the paper in front of your eyes. 

My teacher often used to say, ‘’the ink never lies’’.  

Make sure you always focus on the present moment because the ink can capture your state of mind. When you are not at ease or nervous, you see it  instantly in the shaky lines – when you are composed, you see that in the light lines. Considering that point, we just need to accept what we see on the paper during the practice.

Whatever the result, the process of doing SHODO always leads you to a peaceful mind.


“If music is the art to express the spirit of word with the voice and instruments
          Sho is the art that expresses the spirit of word with the brush and ink “
                    Rie Takeda



©RIE  TAKEDA school of shodo