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Japanese Calligraphy Set: What You Need to Know

Japanese Calligraphy

The art of Shodo pertains to Japanese calligraphy in general. This practice is considered as one of the most celebrated as well as revered forms of artistic expression in Japan. Shodo directly translates to the phrase “the way of writing.” This tradition of creative writing was brought by the Chinese to Japan in the 16th century A.D.

Moreover, one can tell that the Japanese people have given this expression a unique set of styles and techniques. These forms are mostly practiced by the noble people, samurai members, and even the Japanese commoner since then.

This buyer’s guide aims to provide relevant information to its readers as well as those who are on the lookout for a good Japanese calligraphy set in the 2019 market. You’ll understand what Japanese calligraphy is used for, the factors to consider when buying one, the top products in today’s market, and a complete review on each of them.

In the end, you’ll have enough information to confidently buy the best Japanese calligraphy set for your level of expertise.

What is Japanese Calligraphy Used For?

To start things off on a lighter note, Japanese calligraphy has a number of purposes incorporated into the Japanese culture. It is an art form and a means of communication for the people of Japan. Moreover, the skills acquired in calligraphy are passed down from generations; thus, emphasizing the balance as well as the beauty in writing.

Traditionally, Japanese calligraphy makes use of a bamboo brush and a Sumi ink. The Sumi ink is made of soot from pine trees. Calligraphers tend to perform flowing and sweeping brushstrokes that are quite similar to that used in painting. Japanese calligraphy is also seen as a meditative practice and a spiritual offering, much like other Japanese practices like the Japanese art of flower arrangement.

What are the Japanese Calligraphy Tools?

In order to ensure that you buy the perfect calligraphy set, you must understand and be familiar with the different tools included in a Japanese calligraphy set. Pay attention as the tools used in Japanese calligraphy, as well as other Asian traditions, are considered as some of the most essential developments in the field of arts and crafts.

These tools are often referred to as the Four Treasures of the Study, which are the calligraphy brush, ink, inkstone, and of course, paper.

Brush or “Fude”

The brush used in Japanese calligraphy is arguably the most vital tool to best implement the art of writing. There are two types of calligraphy brush – the Hosofude, which is the more slender brush, and the Futofude, which is the thicker brush. Both of these are usually made of bamboo complete with the bristles that are typically taken from animals such as the squirrel, wolf, badger, or horse.

Ink or “Sumi”

Do note that the earliest writing inks were typically made from naturally occurring minerals such as graphite; this was before. Today, the ink used in most Japanese calligraphy sets is now made from the soot of pine trees. The mountainsides close to Suzuka and Nara in Japan are one of the highly sought after area for manufacturing ink of the highest quality.

Inkstone or “Suzuri”

The inkstone, or the “suzuri,” is used by both artists and calligraphers to rub the Sumi to create the black ink used for calligraphy writing.

Mulberry Paper or “Washi”

The mulberry paper is considered as a traditional Japanese paper that is usually a bit tough than ordinary paper. Moreover, it has the ability to absorb ink better, which is a great attribute for calligraphy paper.

When it comes to Japanese calligraphy tools, you can expect that some sets come in additional tools. Of course, all of these would depend on the price as well as the style. Nevertheless, if you are planning to buy your first Japanese calligraphy set, it is best that you consult an expert.

Here are other important tools that you may want in your Japanese calligraphy set:

Shitajiki Felt Pad

The word “Shitajiki” directly translates to “under the sheet.” It is the mat placed under the paperweight. Its goal is to prevent any kind of markings on the sheets below as well as provide a better surface for writing.

Bunchin Paperweight

The Bunchin paperweight functions as its name suggest. It is used to hold the paper stable as calligraphers write on them.

Top 3 Japanese Calligraphy Set in 2019

Japanese SHODO Sumi Calligraphy

If you are a beginner calligrapher and would want to get a taste of what it’s like to deal with a Japanese calligraphy set, this Japanese SHODO Sumi Calligraphy should be on top of your list. The best thing about this product is that it includes almost all of the tools necessary for your first successful calligraphy writing.

The tools included in the Japanese SHODO Sumi Calligraphy are one (1) thick brush, one (1) slender brush, suzuri, Bunchin paperweight, Shitajiki, Sumi, and 100 sheets of han-shi paper. With all of these materials, you can immediately start the art of how Japanese writes traditional style characters.

Do keep in mind that when you are starting out with Japanese calligraphy, you must always pay attention to the quality of the brush. The more brush you have, the better chance that you can experiment with the different strokes. Furthermore, different types of brushes can enable your artistic side to try out different ways of writing Japanese characters.

Moreover, those who are calligraphy enthusiasts will find this Japanese calligraphy set to be the ideal product that will enable you to truly appreciate the art. While this set may be perfect for beginners, it doesn’t necessarily mean that those who have already mastered Japanese calligraphy can no longer use it. Those who are looking to get back into the practice of Shodo again may like this Japanese calligraphy set very much. It’s not too easy and not too complex.

All in all, the Japanese SHODO Sumi Calligraphy is a Japanese calligraphy set that is perfect for calligraphers of all level. Be sure to check the proper use of each tool so as to maximize its full potential. As for the quality of each tool, you don’t have to worry about anything. You can rest assured that this Japanese calligraphy set can deliver the results you desire.

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Things you’ll love about this Japanese calligraphy set:

  • It includes a variety of calligraphy tools that are of high-quality.
  • Perfect for beginner calligraphers as the techniques needed to master the tools are average.
  • This Japanese calligraphy set is very affordable and is set at a smart price.

Things that this Japanese calligraphy set needs to improve on:

  • This Japanese calligraphy set came with a bottled ink instead of a block.
  • This Japanese calligraphy set does not have an inkwell, which can pose certain problems for the calligrapher.

Final Thoughts:

In the end, the Japanese SHODO Sumi Calligraphy set is the best choice for beginners. It possesses the right amount of tools for those who want to learn as well as those who want to get back into learning calligraphy. In contrast, there are other Japanese calligraphy sets in the market that are much more complex; yet, is complete when it comes to its featured tools.

Japanese SHODO Sumi Calligraphy 7 pcs Art set japanese import by JAPANESE cool items store
  • Japanese SHODO Sumi Calligraphy 7 pcs Art set japanese import by JAPANESE

DAISO Japanese Calligraphy Paper 100 Sheets

One thing is for sure is that the DAISO Japanese Calligraphy Paper 100 Sheets provide its users with very elegant Japanese calligraphy rice paper. You can rest assured that these sheets of paper will not shred nor wrinkle when performing calligraphy. This is actually one of its notable features as compared to other practice calligraphy paper that is bright white.

Moreover, the market loves these calligraphy papers because they are very flexible and can easily be folded over as well as folded right back without occurring any crease or writing problems. In addition, do note that these sheets of rice paper are more opaque and are actually thinner as compared to copy paper.

The DAISO Japanese Calligraphy Paper 100 Sheets is also popular among calligraphers and other artists because it is edible. Aside from calligraphy, you can use these for making flowers on cakes and have these serve as a design on pastries.

Do note that this set of rice papers does not have lines nor any markers on it. If you plan on practicing calligraphy on these, be sure that you have a guide. The papers may be thin but it is not see-through. Moreover, this set of rice papers would be perfect for calligraphy, painting, and drawing because of its quality.

One can tell that the quality of the paper is top-notch and is very smooth. Perfect as practice paper for Japanese calligraphy. It’s milky white and uniform in color. If you do plan on using these papers for painting, you can do so as it holds well with watercolor.

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Things you’ll love about this Japanese calligraphy set:

  • The 100 sheets of Japanese calligraphy rice paper are of high-quality.
  • These sheets of rice paper will not shred.
  • These sheets of rice paper will not wrinkle.
  • The texture and quality of these sheets of rice paper will not get in the way of your work.

Things that this Japanese calligraphy set needs to improve on:

  • The papers are of high-quality; however, some may find it very thin. Thus, this set of rice papers may only be usable for those with experience in carefully crafting calligraphy characters.

Final Thoughts:

Truly, there are a number of types of calligraphy paper. As for the DAISO Japanese Calligraphy Paper 100 Sheets, you can rest assured that these are of premium quality. The only downside that may come up when using it lies in the ability and technique of the calligrapher. Some may find the papers to be too thin, while some may love its thinness. In the end, it all depends on the preference of the calligrapher.

KB711-900SET Kuretake Writing Box Set Autumn Flowers

The KB711-900SET Kuretake Writing Box Set Autumn Flowers is definitely considered as one of the favorites of calligraphers from around the globe. Most of the time, those who are more experienced with calligraphy will be drawn to this product’s refined aesthetic looks. In addition, it is also easy for beginners to use.

The tools included in the KB711-900SET Kuretake Writing Box Set Autumn Flowers are a set of two (2) Saihitsu, one (1) pitcher, one (1) ink stone, and four (4) other flat inkstones. In addition, all of these are placed carefully inside a gorgeous box with autumn flowers on the lid as a design cover.

The construction of the box is amazing. It may look like wood in most pictures; however, it is actually hard quality plastic or resin. Nevertheless, the quality of the box is on point despite not being made from wood. The textured surface, on the other hand, feels like a grain of wood.

Aside from the fact that the ceramic dish included in the package has questionable quality, the rest are of top-notch quality. Be sure to wrap the package well so that no other tools will be damaged while in transit.

The tools rested on a more cheaper kind of plastic. The whole package only comes with an elastic band to keep everything in place. Do keep in mind that despite the quality of the product, it is highly advisable that users handle this with care.

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Things you’ll love about this Japanese calligraphy set:

  • The tools included in the KB711-900SET are of high-quality.
  • The four (4) flat inkstones are very heavy and functional.
  • The overall packaging of the product was amazing and gorgeous. It’s so great that it’s aesthetic perfectly matches with that of traditional Japanese calligraphy.
  • The handle of the brush is quite good and would work well with calligraphers of any level.

Things that this Japanese calligraphy set needs to improve on:

  • The ceramic water container of this product feels like it can easily be damaged. It is important to handle it with care at all times.

Final Thoughts:

Aside from the ceramic water container, the rest of the tools in the KB711-900SET Kuretake Writing Box Set Autumn Flowers are of great quality. While the product may be better off with the more experienced bunch of calligraphers, beginner calligraphers can also give it a shot at handling the tools of this product as it is not that difficult.

KB711-900SET Kuretake writing box set autumn flowers (japan import)
  • For ceremonial occasions or letter etc. at home / in the office in case of need. A...
  • KB711-900SET
  • 1010g
  • Kuretake Co., Ltd. is a Japanese stationery manufacturer.
  • Japan Import
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