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How To Do Japanese Calligraphy: The Easiest Way to Start Shodo At Home!

the easiest way to start japanese calligraphy at your homeJapanese Language Learning

To start Japanese calligraphy, you need at least 6 tools specially designed for it.

6 Tools you need to start Japanese Calligraphy

  1. Fude: a brush
  2. Hanshi: special calligraphy paper
  3. Sumi: a solid black material used to make black ink
  4. Suzuri: an ink well made of black stone
  5. Bunchin: paperweight to weigh down the calligraphy paper
  6. Shitajiki: a soft felt mat put under the calligraphy paper

There are Shodo sets that include all the implements. Of course, I won’t stop you to buy and use them.

We also use the same set when starting to learn calligraphy at school!


But what? Is there any problem?


It’s a HASSLE!

It’s way too much trouble to prepare all these tools before starting Shodo and to put them away after finishing it!


I know I’m simply LAZY.

But there may be some lazy pals in the world and I’ll show you the easiest way to start Japanese calligraphy!

Only one item you need to start Shodo

This is it!


What’s this?


This is a brush pen called Fudepen. The top of the pen is made of a brush and black ink is built in a shaft!

With a Fude pen, you can start practicing Japanese calligraphy whenever you like.

What I love about a Fude pen is that it’s much easier to write letters than doing it with a real calligraphy brush.

There’s a trick to control a brush. On the other way, you can use a Fude pen in the same way as a usual marker.

Additionally, you don’t need any special paper. When you do Shodo, you have to use thin white paper specially made for calligraphic work.

But you can write characters on common paper and notebooks with a Fude pen.

How does the Fude pen work?

Here’s a great video that explains how to write Japanese words beautifully with a Fude pen.

Though it doesn’t have an English sub, you can easily understand how to use it and how to practice writing calligraphic lines with a Fude pen.

You can buy a Fude pen of the same maker (Pentel) as he uses in the video at Amazon. Pentel is one of the biggest and most famous stationery companies in Japan!

Let’s practice calligraphy with Shakyo!

I understand that I can easily enjoy Japanese calligraphy with a Fude pen. But I don’t know any kanji letters! Where should I start my practice!?


If you’re interested in Japanese culture, I recommend SHAKYO! It’s a good introduction to calligraphy.

Shakyo is a kind of Buddhism training to copy scriptures.

SHA = copy, print

KYO = Buddhist sutra

Sutra letters are written in sheer color on paper and you’ll trace them with a brush.

Formally, we do Shakyo with a brush and Sumi (a black ink for calligraphy). But you can do it with a Fude pen as well!

Sheer sutra sentences are printed in paper!

Even Japanese people don’t know every sentence of sutras. The kanji letters in them are too classic and complicated to understand unless you are a priest.

But, for some reason, doing Shakyo makes me feel calm and makes my head clear.

It’s okay if you don’t know the meanings. Just FEEL it. And if you find your favorite kanji symbols, they may have some special meaning for you.

There are some Shakyo paper or books in which you can write letters. They are good for your first Japanese calligraphy experience!

With a Fude pen and Shakyo paper, you can begin your Japanese calligraphy work very easily. Why don’t you give it a try?

Why don’t you PIN it?
the easiest way to start japanese calligraphy at your home, tell me how!

Your Comment Makes My Day!

  1. Apustaja says:

    Thank you for your charts and mentioning the Shakyo. I did not know this was a way to practice, it looks enjoyable compared to making the very large kanji. Do you know of any workbooks made in Japan for Shakyo that can be ordered in the US? Thank you,

    • Junko says:

      Thank you for your message! Shakyo is originally a kind of Buddhism training, but I think it would be good to practice writing kanji letters. It seems the US Amazon sells some Japanese Shakyo books. For example, this one comes with a brush pencil.