Workshop at the V&A, London

Subversive SHODO at the V&A  ( Friday-Late ) in London
On Friday 27. May

Japanese Calligraphy Workshop with Rie Takeda 
Featuring the poetry of Akiko Yosano “Tangled Hair”(1901)


I am going to give a calligraphy-session as a part of Friday-Late at the V&A on Friday the 27th.May.
There will be three sessions throughout the evening.
I start with the presentation, calligraphy-ing one of the Akiko Yosano’s Tanka poems (Tangled Hair)
And participants can try out some basic calligraphy techniques and move to practising the calligraphy text featuring the poem.
After the session, participants can keep their own calligraphy.

*Experience in Japanese calligraphy is not necessary. Each participant from beginner to advanced level can discover and experience the essence of Shodo the art of Japanese calligraphy. 
The Participants can learn to focus on bringing the balance of mind and body together as well as a one’s individual mindfulness process by special designed practices. So students can learn little by little how to concentrate on their own Qi flow, conduct and apply it with brush and ink onto paper.

Scheduled workshop times :

– max: 12 people at each session
– one session is approx. 45min
– text and materials are prepared
– sign-in workshop at the door: entry free* places are designated on a first come, first served basis.
– please ask the museum staff, which room the calligraphy workshop takes place.

みだれ髪パッケージ               髪アクション


Victoria and Albert Museum
Cromwell Road

General enquiries
Tel: +44 (0)20 7942 2000


ABOUT Friday-Late at the V&A
The original contemporary late night event”

An ever-changing, curated program of live performances, cutting-edge fashion, film, installations, debates, special guests and DJs, with bars, food, and late-night exhibition openings.
Held on the last Friday in every month (except December & September) from 18.30 – 22.00.
Friday Late is free and drop in. All events are available on a first come, first served basis.
All visitors to Friday Late should use the main entrance on Cromwell Road. If you are a V&A Member, corporate member or hold a ticket to an exhibition please use the Exhibition Road entrance.
Exhibition Tickets are available from the Exhibition Ticket Desks. Tickets are subject to availability, and no booking fee applies. Please note tills close at 20.30.
All events are free and places are designated on a first come, first served basis, unless stated otherwise. Please note, if the Museum reaches capacity we will allow access on a one-in, one-out basis.
Filming and photography will take place at this event.

Rie stamp

Workshop on Sun.29.May

SHODO Calligraphy Workshop
in Bad Säckingen, Germany on Sunday, 29.MAY.2016


Theme :  ” The lime green hill “ 新緑の丘

Experience in Japanese calligraphy is not necessary. Each participant for the beginners to advanced level can discover and experience the essence of Shodo the art of Japanese calligraphy.
The Participants can learn to focuses on bringing the balance of mind and body together as well as a one’s individual mindfulness process by specially designed practices. So students can learn little by little how to concentrate on their own Qi flow, conduct and apply it with brush and ink onto the paper.


♧ Teacher: Rie Takeda

♧ Date: Sunday, 29.MAY.2016

♧ Time: 16:00 to 19:00 (with a tea break)

♧ Fee: 18,-Euro (Student: 15,-Euro) per afternoon

♧ Materials and Texts: all inclusive and prepared
♧ Maximal: 12 Personen

♧ Beginner to Advanced level
♧ Language: German, English or Japanese
♧ Place: Haus Fischerzunft, Fischergasse 12, 79713, Bad Säckingen * see the map below↓

♧ Please sign up for a workshop place under
or Tel.07761-55 38 502

♧ Rie Takeda’s calligraphy Web :
Neo-Japonism Web  :

♧ Rie Takeda’s concept of teaching SHODO calligraphy is focused on:

  • mind and body connection
  • discovering individual inner quality and peace
  • “hands-on” guidance
  • inner balance
  • “Here and Now” momentum flow
  • mindfulness process
  • de-stressing the body tension
  • conscious breathing
  • raising Qi(energy) flow and awareness

Planed workshops on Sundays 2016 :

♧Please sign up for the workshop under 

or Tel 07761-55 38 502
Organized and sponsored by Deutsch-Japanische Gesellschaft Freundeskreis Nagai
Fischergasse 12, 79713, Bad Säckingen


©RIE  TAKEDA school of shodo

My morning calligraphy: sanshotai

I’ve started my Sanshotai calligraphy in early morning again.

At 5 am, it is already getting brighter hand some early birds are warming up their tunes.

This is for me the most silent and the best time of the day to *calligraph*

Here I share some of my sanshotai-three calligraphy style texts for practise.



Sky, emptiness

In three calligraphy styles


Hope, wish, long for





I mostly update *one calligraphy a day* on my new instagram so if you are interested in, please have a look.⬇

Happy practice!!

My instagram:

Shodo Web:

OTEHON Text: Three Styles

It is still chilly outside and we had some snow this morning!
The Sakura is just coming to us soon… but shall we finish this cold wind off with the three Shotai-practice?!

This is the text to practise 3 calligraphy styles and learn about the style development of the Kanji characters.
I would recommend it is suitable for colder seasons.
It is great for the advanced learners.
For the upper-intermediate students, please practise only two styles: Kaisho and Gyosho. You can use a medium sized brush as well as a bigger one.
Please always start to practise from the Kaisho, Gyosho and to the Sousho.

Harder haired brush is suitable.
Papers : a whole Hanshi or a half sized Hanshi
Time: please take 30min-40 min longer than usual Text



晴窓 静かに 書を 繙く

(せいそう しずかに しょを ひもとく)


Reading the pages

Quietly peacefully

At the sunny bright window




*From the left: Sosho-Gyosho-Kaisho


Happy Practice!!


Rie stamp

Calligraphy Text : TOMODACHI / FRIEND

OTEHON Text : “TOMODACHI” (Friend)

This is prepared for the beginners class and kid’s class for the third grade 7-8 year-old. The meaning is friend or friends.

TOMO: Kanji

DA: Hiragana

CHI: HIragana

友 : Tomo / YU

  1. friend, friends
  2. to be together, to meet spend time together as friend
  3. harmonious brothers/ sisters
  4. harmonious relationship, to work together

Origin: the shape of two hands describes giving both hands and helping each other.

→friend(s) who shares the same truth and values.


2010 01学生-友だち


Please make sure you practice each Harai techniques correctly.

For Tomo, always check the middle line and the whole balance.

For Hiraganas, try to bring the crossing point at the middle of the second line.

You can write your name/calligraphy name in the middle of the empty space.


Happy Practice!


Practice: finding the centre point

For learning and practising SHODO,

being able to see the “CHUSHIN” – the middle point becomes quite essential.

The way of spacing and placing the characters does not sound so complicated – but

it takes many on going years to master the art of balancing,

the art of seeing the middle and the aesthetic of space.

Here I introduce the best way to train our eyes and also practice the sense of space.

This can be used for two and four character-texts.

You can only lightly fold the paper, it does not need to be too exact or tight.

I would suggest to fold the paper like below even from the warm-up practice.






And here is for 5-6 character-texts





Happy Practice!


SHO Gallery “MU”

Autumn seems to me … a beautiful season for practicing calligraphy and being mindful.

I am doing a lot of calligraphy-ing in early morning lately and I am still loving it! Never ending story! It nourishes me so much and creates inner peace.

…Stillness, solitude, a little nostalgia, a warm candle light and incense make my day.




Transparent calm mind,

free from thoughts and disturbances.

It means our infinite worthful

human life – activity itself.

Ink on paper, 40x40cm, 2010

Rie Takeda

Practice : How can I make the Sumi ink?!

” To rub the ink ”

For private lessons, I normally prepare the ink maybe 60% dark black.
And I let students rub the ink and darken the rest 40% by themselves.
Because I found it is essential minutes for them to ” arrive ” to the lesson and
” leave ” their daily life and thoughts behind.

Firstly you find yourself sitting in a comfortable position on the floor or chair.
As long as your shoulders to arms and neck area are totally relaxed —( no tense unnatural pressure found please) and belly button area is free and open-you can sit however you like.

I normally sit on SEIZA ( to sit with feet folding), my students sit in various ways like on Seizas,
on the meditation bench, on the meditation cushion or in lotus sitting.
Please make sure that the table height is right for your back, shoulders and belly button area.


You pour some water into the BOKUCHI ( Ink stone’s well)
And start to rub the ink stick onto the surface called BOKUDOU ( ink stone’s temple or hill).
Ink stick should ideally be ground in circular movements.
And keep moving the Ink at an angle of 45°
You are not putting any pressure anywhere.

As you keep lightly rubbing the Ink, always make sure your shoulder is low and relaxed.
And try to slow your breathing down and deeper.
I often recommend students to “breathe in” as the ink goes down to Ink stone’s well
and “breathe out” as it comes up to the ink stone’s temple.
Like this it is easier for beginners to find a breathing rhythm and come to the non-thought-mind.

As you continue this process slowly and lightly- your thoughts are getting far away and your sense of concentration are being sharpened.

I know it is not easy to be in non-thought mind
but as you practise more you notice your mindfulness is more present.
Slowly but surely….

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.



“SHO” is Peace

Calligraphy is to lead you to peace and harmony

Welcome to School of SHODO!

書は 和なり – SHO wa Wa nari “ (an old Japanese proverb above)
This is always my principal motto for learning and teaching SHODO,
the way of Japanese calligraphy.
It was the essence which kept me doing Shodo,
and fascinated me all the way and still does now.Even as a 5 year old child, I felt amazingly transparent and harmonious
yet free each time I was doing calligraphy, no matter which state of mind I was. And then I found out that the more I concentrated,
the better the brush flowed, and I became more peaceful.
This is for me the most sensational aspect of SHODO learning.
I try to bring across this essence to every student of mine and at every session remind them of it.

Nowadays we tend to see only the results or the pure technical elevation and materialistic rewards.
However – every process and stage of learning Shodo is to be your treasure and a sense of deep peace in you is much more valuable.

It’s been already more than 30+ years since I got familiar with brush and ink and attached to SHODO.
The more I get to know about SHODO, the deeper attraction I find in the world of calligraphy.

I feel grateful that I do spend my time and energy in the world of SHO which has such a rich and long history giving endless possibilities to discover peace and harmony in myself and outside the world.

I would like to show the essential ways of enjoying and learning the SHODO
which I have studied and developed from my experience as a calligraphy teacher and as an artist over the years.

And I really wish that the harmonious circle of people who enjoy the richness of SHODO expand more and more- both in Japan and all over the world.

Have a moment of inner peace with a cup of tea!


Rie Takeda

 See the web site :


©RIE  TAKEDA school of shodo

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.