Mastering the Brush: Japanese Calligraphy Education in Schools

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Hello to all the Japanese language learners out there! As you study how to write Japanese characters, Kanji, Hiragana and Katakana, Japanese people also study how to write the characters in their schools. Then, how and what Japanese people study it? Let’s take a closer look at in this blog!

What is Japanese calligraphy?: The differences of Shodo, Shuji, Shosha

Although native Japanese speakers also tend to confuse the meaning, there are 3 types of Japanese calligraphy: Shosha (書写), Shuji (習字), and Shodo (書道). So, what are these 3 types of calligraphies? Let’s take a closer look below.

Shosha (書写):
Shosha is the activity of learning how to write characters accurately. This begins with learning the basics of handwriting characters and how to use a brush. The purpose of shosha is to express characters beautifully and accurately. Shosha is important as a practical skill for writing everyday characters, signatures, and letters.

Shuji (習字):
Shuji is the practice of writing letters and characters beautifully. The emphasis in this activity is on learning how to write beautiful characters and how to use a brush. The goal of shuji is to improve the technique in the details of writing, including the beauty and balance of the characters, the pressure of the brush, and the flow of the strokes. Shuji is a means to improve the shape and balance of individual letters and to write more beautiful and attractive characters.

Shodo (書道):
Calligraphy is a traditional Japanese art form that seeks to explore the beauty and artistry of the written word. Calligraphy emphasizes not only the writing of characters, but also the expression of the spirituality and aesthetics behind the characters. The basic principles of calligraphy include the shading of the ink, the movement of the brush, and the balance of the characters. Calligraphy is a beloved artistic endeavor that has its own unique calligraphic styles and styles and is used to express individual letters, poems, and quotes as beautiful works of art.

All 3 of these types are incorporated into school education in Japan. In elementary and junior high schools, where education is compulsory, students learn calligraphy and calligraphy as part of the Japanese language program. Calligraphy can be chosen as an elective subject in the high school curriculum and studied as an art subject.

Japanese calligraphy in compulsory education

Calligraphy was introduced into Japanese language education in elementary schools in 1971 and became a compulsory subject. Calligraphy is positioned as one of the areas of Japanese language study, but Japanese language and calligraphy textbooks are separate. Writing characters is necessary not only in Japanese but also in many other aspects of school education, and there are many situations in daily life where writing characters is necessary, such as when writing letters. In the calligraphy class, students are expected to develop the below ability.

Proper posture and writing instrument holding

Correct posture and writing instrument holding are necessary for efficient writing of letters in a legible and well-formed manner. Maintain a straight back and stable body posture while positioning the paper and eyes in the proper position so that the brush tip is visible. Pencils and felt-tip pens are used primarily in first and second grade, but attention must be paid to finger and wrist position and pencil angle in order to teach proper holding.

To Write carefully, following the stroke order, paying attention to the dots and letter formation

The correct stroke order and stroke stroke pattern of the dots are important for the formation of characters. The character is formed by following the stroke order, from the first stroke to the last stroke (tome, hane, harai), and then stroking the dots in sequence. In order to write accurately, special attention should be paid to the way the first and last strokes of the strokes are written, and students should acquire an attitude of carefully writing easy-to-read characters.

To write characters correctly by paying attention

To write characters correctly and neatly by paying attention to the positional relationship between dots, the way they intersect, their length and direction, etc. It is necessary to understand the relationship between dots based on the character’s letterforms. Care must also be taken regarding length and direction. For example, in the character “river,” if the first stroke is too long compared to the other two strokes or if the direction is not appropriate, the character will not be recognized as a character.

Private school of Japanese Calligraphy: popular and standard lessons

This section introduces the advantages and benefits of attending a calligraphy class and at what age you can start.

By learning calligraphy in a class, you will be able to write more beautiful letters. In order to write beautifully, you need to have a good posture. Another advantage of learning calligraphy is that you can maintain a good posture and acquire good manners. Students learn to write by watching a model carefully and practicing many times to write neatly, which helps them develop concentration and perseverance.

In addition, calligraphy lessons help students develop the ability to learn at their own pace and on their own initiative, rather than in school. It also builds self-confidence through promotion to a higher level.

Japanese calligraphy is popular not only among children, but also among adults of all ages as a lifelong hobby.


Calligraphy plays an important role in Japanese school education. There are three types of calligraphy: shosha, shushu, and shodo, which are integrated into compulsory education. Calligraphy teaches the beauty and accuracy of letters and helps students develop concentration and perseverance. Learning at a calligraphy school is also popular and loved by people of all ages.

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Shodo (Japanese calligraphy) Information