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Learning Japanese Caligraphy

Have a textbook or grammar book that you find particularly helpful? What about a learning tip to share with others?

Learning Japanese Caligraphy

Postby Kogun » Mon 09.18.2006 1:28 am

Not sure if this is the best forum for this but anyway... lately I've been very interested in learning Japanese caligraphy. Not only does it look like a beautiful art with a long history, and some philosophical elements into Japanese culture. It also looks like a fun hobby and would be a helpful way to study Japanese kanji and practice my hand-writing (which sucks right now). My friend in Japan recently sent me a caligraphy brush, but I don't really know where to begin with it.

What would you recommend for someone wanting to get into caligraphy? Is there a good book or a kit somewhere? Or even a website that teaches some?

Thanks a bunch.
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RE: Learning Japanese Caligraphy

Postby Oyaji » Mon 09.18.2006 1:38 am

The Japanese word for Japanese calligraphy is 書道 (shodou). Throw that into Google and see where it takes you.
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RE: Learning Japanese Caligraphy

Postby Infidel » Mon 09.18.2006 1:51 am

Ahh, Another writing Junkie :)

Well, there are lots of good resources.

Depending on where you live, there could be a Calligrapher near you. The good thing about calligraphy is the standards of "good" are the same for both Japanese and Chinese, so you can show samples to a Chinese calligraphist and use their suggestions with complete confidence. You can alse use Chinese books, although you will need to keep in mind the different meanings of Hanzi vs. Kanji. Also, a Hanzi book may teach Hanzi with no corresponding Kanji. But what matters is that even if the symbols themselves are different, the techniques are the same.

Eri Takase has a good book out that is worth considering if you are serious about learning calligraphy.

Personally, I'm concentrating more on writing penji well, because it is cheaper and faster.
Last edited by Infidel on Mon 09.18.2006 1:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Learning Japanese Caligraphy

Postby Kogun » Mon 09.18.2006 6:39 pm

I haven't been able to find any Japanese or Chinese caligraphers around my area. If I lived in Japan I'm sure I could just sign up for a class and dive right in, but unfortunately I don't. But whether it's Japanese or Chinese caligraphy doesn't matter as you said, and I'm learning Chinese as well as Japanese.
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RE: Learning Japanese Caligraphy

Postby MoogleFan » Tue 09.19.2006 12:37 am

Sometimes a thick, Japanese-style calligraphy brush isn't easy to work with at first! Even now that I've been practicing calligraphy for awhile, sometimes I use a mush smaller brush (like you could find at an art-supply store) with a little tip to write out characters with a lot less effort than that of a bigger brush. India ink is also good.
As far as books go...The Tuttle Language Library's "A Guide to Reading & Writing Japanese (Third Edition)" or likewise, their "Reading and Writing Chinese: A Guide to the Chinese Writing System" are both great books to start with. They contain all of the essential characters and provide stroke-by-stroke diagrams of how to draw each character, their pronunciations, and meanings.
Now, if you want something really crazily comprehensive, "NTC's New Japanese-English Charater Dictionary" is fantastic. It sorts the characters with an easy-to-use system and has loads of different sorts of indexes in the back. Each entry shows the basic character and alternate forms (including the Chinese form and pronunciation), plus different calligraphic styles, as well as pronunciation, meaning, examples, etc., etc...
Here's the links on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Guide-Reading-Wri ... F8&s=books

http://www.amazon.com/Reading-Writing-C ... 47?ie=UTF8

http://www.amazon.com/NTC-New-Japanese- ... F8&s=books
Last edited by MoogleFan on Tue 09.19.2006 12:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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