Japanese calligraphy

Japanese Calligraphy

Japanese calligraphy

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is a form of calligraphy, or artistic writing, of the Japanese language. For a long time, the most esteemed calligrapher in Japan had been Wang Xizhi, a Chinese calligrapher in the 4th century but after the invention of Hiragana and Katakana, the Japanese unique syllabaries, the distinctive Japanese writing system developed and calligraphers produced styles intrinsic to Japan.


Japanese calligraphy shares its roots with Chinese calligraphy and many of its principles and techniques are very similar. It is most often written with on and it recognizes the same basic writing styles: (Chinese: 篆書 ); (Chinese: 隸書 ); (Chinese: 楷書 ); (Chinese: 行書 ); and (Chinese: 草書 ).

Chinese roots

The Chinese roots of Japanese calligraphy go back to the twenty-eighth century BCE, to a time when pictographs were inscribed on bone for religious purposes. When this writing developed into an instrument of administration for the state, the need for a uniform script was felt and Li Si, prime minister in the Chinese dynasty of Qin, standardized a script and its way of being written. He sanctioned a form of script based on squares of uniform size into which all characters could be written from eight strokes. He also devised rules of composition where horizontal strokes are written first and characters are composed starting from top to bottom, left to right. Because the symbols were inscribed with sharp instruments, the lines were originally angular and in many...
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