Shakyou Calligraphy

I am just introducing the Shakyou 写経calligraphy with the Heart Sutra (Hannya-Shingyo) to the advanced students.

They are doing very well!! Despite the tiny Shakyou brush…. 

Once one gets used to it, the brush movement would become lighter and smoother – and eventually you would feel very meditative just like hearing the hymn of Heart Sutra.
Happy Practice!!




I would like to say…

Thank you to everyone who attended the workshop in Freiburg.

Compliment on your beautiful mindfulness!!

Excellent works –


Next workshop in Freiburg is on Sunday the 19th. March.

Happy Practice!


Rie stamp

Otehon “A shooting star”

Do you enjoy watching the winter stars?!

I love the winter stars..they look bright, clear and so beautiful.


This Otehon is perfect for our cold icey evenings.
The text is called; “Fuyu no Ryuusei”

The direct translation is like..

“A shooting satr in winter (sky)”


This Otehon consists of four letters.

1.冬 Kanji ~fuyu,  Winter

2.の Hiragana ~ particle between two nouns

3.流 Kanji ~ Ryuu, to flow

4.星 Kanji ~ Sei/ Hoshi, Star(s)

*流星 ~ Ryuusei, a shooting star

-for the beginner to intermediate level

-using medium/large brush, can be both hard or soft haired

-if you are beginner, make sure you practised already jumping, corner, slide-out techniques at least a few hours.

*Above: A Kanji ” Star ” in Sanshotai.

Happy Practice!


Otehon texts for new year 

I first prepared three calligraphy texts for Kakizome,  the new year’s calligraphy. And one Sumi-calligraphy for the Rooster year!!

“Tori doshi 酉年”: the year of Rooster.

“Toridoshi” in Kanji. 

Top one: Rooster, below: Year

This Kanji Rooster, only used for zodiac calendar.

“Toridoshi” in Hiragana

The Kanji, Tori.

The text for kid’s calligraphy class.

“Tori 鳥”in Sumie-calligraphy style. 

This Kanji literaturely means bird.

The new year calligraphy is always quite playful. To begin with, we talk about our Christmas holiday how it was, with a cup of green tea. And warming-up,  practise practice and practise…

At the end of lesson,  I ask students what their new year’s theme/resolution is and let them pick a word that describes the theme,  like “peace”or “stress-free” and so on…  And I translate the word into Japanese and pick a best matched Kanji for the word.

Student then calligraph-s the name, date and the Kanji on the best Seisho piece at the end.

Happy Practice!


酉年 2017 from the Monkey to the Rooster

How did you start your 2017?!

The year of Monkey was a quite restless and messy one,  loads of changes happened in the world – around us.

Let us hope that the kind Roosters will bring us some peace and harmony.

This year,  the Chinese zodiac new year starts on the 28th. Jan.

The Sylvester is on Friday the 27th.

I give myself a second chance to start the year this week,  so I could property leave some monkeys behind and welcome the Roosters….

I wish you all a healthy joyful year 2017!


Last workshop in 2016


The last workshop-style course was on last Sunday.

Thanks very much to everyone who took part in the workshop in Freiburg!!

All did beautiful works!!

Some managed to practise quite many texts, some focused on the specific techniques!!

Well done!!!


Next workshop is on Sunday the 22nd.January in 2017.

The theme is ” KAKIZOME – New Year Calligraphy : The year of the Roosters”
I will bring some big calligraphy brushes so that people can try them out.
Believe me – it is always fun with a big brush!!



Happy Practice!

Rie stamp


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:

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!


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

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!


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.