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The Shodo is the Japanese art of calligraphy.

Similar arts also exist in Korean culture (seoye), Vietnamese (thu pap), and especially in Chinese culture (Shufa), the country from which Japan imported the writing system around the year 400 AD.

In Japan, the art of calligraphy was influenced by Zen philosophy.
A work of shodo is considered a work of art, like for example a painting, and is an outer representation of the interior of the calligrapher who realized it. Since it is written with a brush, there is no possibility to delete or fix what the ink has traced, each sign can be more or less determined, slower or faster, more or less thin, and represents the mood of the calligrapher in the moment in which it has been drawn.
To become great masters of shodo, according to Zen philosophy, the right way is not the continuous practice, but meditation, which leads to "hollowing out" of himself, to break free from any disturbance that can be a nuisance during the execution of a work of calligraphy.

Today, the shodo is a hobby still widespread in Japan, and not only among Buddhist monks, in fact there are many clubs dedicated to this art in japanese high schools.
opera di shodo zen hitsuzendo

Tools for practicing shodo

To practice the art of shodo, you need four basic tools, defined as the "Four Treasures of Shodo":

-a paper sheet (kami, 紙);
-a brush (fude, 筆), which can have a different shape or size depending on your style;
-a tablet of ink (sumi, 墨) that must be dissolved in water;
-a particular hollow stone (suzuri, 硯), filled with water to dissolves the ink;

Other tools which are usually used are a paperweight (bunchin, 文鎮), a cloth to absorb excess ink to be positioned under the sheet (shitajiki, 下敷き), a container for the water (suiteki, 水滴), a brushrest (fudeoki, 筆置き) and a brush holder (fudemaki, 筆撒き).

shodo work

Guided tours, activities and other things to do

If you are planning a trip to Japan and you want to add something special besides the visit of the different monuments and famous places, we suggest you to use the site Govoyagin. This is a very useful site to enrich your travel experience, especially if you are going solo or it's your first time in Japan and, for language barriers and more, and you will not have many opportunities to interact with the locals and to enjoy something different from the famous places marked in the tourist guides.

What Govoyagin is

Govoyagin is a website where you can find many particular activities all over Japan (and not only in Japan).
You can buy tickets online for some famous attractions, but also book tours and really special experiences with locals ready to guide you and take you to places outside the tourist circuits that you would hardly ever find by yourself. Last but not least, you can reserve a table in hundreds of restaurants.

Some examples

On Govoyagin you can buy tickets in advance to visit the Tokyo Tower or the Tokyo Sky Tree, but also book guided tours of Kyoto temples accompanied by a samurai, or to go around the streets of Osaka on a go-kart dressed as Super Mario, or even play videogames against an unbeatable Japanese otaku at his place.
Last but not least, if you need to reserve your table in some restaurants, such as the legendary 3-star Michelin, also in this case you can find this kind of service for sale on Govoyagin. Take a look at Govoyagin

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Do you need a Pocket WiFi Router for your trip to Japan? →

Facebook Instagram Google+ Youtube - unauthorized reproduction of content is prohibited

Author: Davide Lee