Introduction to the Calligraphy world!

Japanese modern lifestyle

Hi, I am Nao, an active calligrapher!

The weather in the morning and evening feels like fall is around the corner, and the holiday season is slowly approaching. I’m sure many of you are starting to prepare gifts and message cards.

I often use calligraphy to make tags for small gifts or to add a message to cards. It’s a great way to convey your feelings.

I’ve been learning calligraphy for a few years now, and I’m really enjoying it. Let me introduce you to the world of calligraphy!

What is Calligraphy?

Beautiful writing

Calligraphy is a Greek word that means “beautiful writing”. Calligraphy is the art of writing beautiful letters using an original pen and a metal nib.

It is well known that Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, secretly took calligraphy classes even after he dropped out of college. If Jobs had not encountered calligraphy he wouldn’t have been able to create a PC with a beautiful typeface. Today, we are all familiar with a variety of fonts in our daily lives thanks to that.

 The difference between modern calligraphy and traditional calligraphy

In traditional calligraphy, there are several documents that are fixed types, and there is a beautiful role model that is considered correct. There are detailed rules, and it is required to write beautiful letters according to those rules.

On the other hand, modern calligraphy is a new style of calligraphy that was born around 2010. It can be arranged in your own style without being bound by rules. I was fascinated by this modern calligraphy and started studying.

Japanese Shu-ji and Shodo

In Japan, we also have Japanese style writing culture since long time ago. It’s Shu-ji and Shodo.

Shu-ji (しゅうじ/習字)

It is written with a pencil or brush. At elementary and junior high schools in Japan, as part of the Japanese language classes (Kokugo), students learn the stroke order and learn to write letters correctly and legibly.

Shodo (しょどう/書道)

Shodo is so-called Japanese calligraphy, “Sho” means writing and “Do” means the way.

It is written with a brush. Shodo is not only a way to write beautiful characters, but also a tool for self-expression. There is no right answer, and students can write freely. In Japanese high schools, shodo is a part of art classes, and students are required to express themselves while having their sensibilities refined. Shodo has the similar concept to the modern calligraphy.

“Writing” has played a very important role in every country and has developed as a culture.
Now that mobile phones and PCs have become widespread, it would be good to reconsider the importance of “writing.”

What’s great about modern calligraphy

Freedom expression!

In the fall of 2016, I joined a workshop by my favorite calligrapher Veronica Halim and that was my first experience of modern calligraphy.

I was completely fascinated by the letters written on the paper from her beautiful hands. Modern calligraphy is free as long as you follow the basic rules. You can create your own original and beautiful letters.


Modern calligraphy is an art form that allows you to concentrate on writing.

It’s a great way to relax and get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. I often find that I am so absorbed in writing that an hour has passed before I know it. It’s a great way to relax.

Tools for calligraphy

So you feel like trying calligraphy? Ok, you need just a pen, ink, and paper, and you can start right now !

Calligraphy pen

There are two types of pen, an angled oblique holder and a straight pen. A nib is a metal nib that is attached to the pen, and has two separate tips that allow you to adjust your writing pressure.

In fact, you can write modern calligraphy with a brush pen, too. The tip of the pen is soft, so you can change the pressure and adjust the thickness of the lines just as you would with a calligraphy pen. Japanese brush pens and sign pens are especially popular among calligraphers around the world.


You can write with fountain pen ink or ink used for calligraphy.


For practice, I use a guide sheet with 55° diagonal lines.

Calligraphy in your daily life

Chopstick holder with calligraphy

You can use your calligraphy skill in your daily life such as,

  • Message cards
  • Gift tags
  • Table coordination

Just by adding handwritten letters, your daily life will become a little more special.

Calligraphy is an art form that is easy to learn and easy to use. If you want to give a gift to a friend or your family, you can use calligraphy. It’s a great way to send a heartwarming gift to them.

We are planning to have a workshop where you can experience calligraphy! Please come and join us!


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