Calligraphy is an artistic form of writing that first originated in China. With an ink-dipped brush, writers concentrate their soul on expressing the inner emotions onto a paper.
There are mainly 3 types of calligraphies that are popular in Japan. The first one is 楷書(Kaisho), which is the most formal way of writing. Beginners are recommended to start from this as they will be able to learn the basics. The second one is 行書(Gyousho), which is a semi-cursive way of writing. Although it is more abstract, readers will still be able to recognize what the word is if they have a knowledge of Kaisho. The third one is 草書(Sousho), which is the most artistic form of writing. This is preferred when the writers want to convey strong emotion into their work.
⬇︎From the left, Kaisho, Gyousho, and Sousho
Calligraphy has been a large part of Japanese culture for years. For example, Japanese people have traditionally engaged themselves in 書き初め(Kaki-zome) on January 2nd, in which they write poems or celebratory words in a calligraphic form to wish for a good year.
In Japan, calligraphy is taught in the early stages of childhood in schools or kindergartens, and those who are passionate even enroll themselves in private calligraphy classes. There are several reasons why calligraphy is valued so much in Japan. One of the reasons is that the Japanese view those with good handwriting as intelligent, down to earth, and hard-working. Calligraphy is a great way to boost your impression. Another reason is that it nurtures better concentration since writers have to start from scratch because of a single mistake.
You can learn how to write in Japanese while learning Japanese culture with calligraphy; kill two birds with one stone! There are several places within the Hiroo district where you can learn calligraphy. Why don’t you try it out?