Calligraphy Techniques for Beginners
For many a deep and lasting interest in Japanese culture, its people and its language, begins with a fascination for beautifully drawn characters produced by a master calligrapher. Compared with the squarish, regular representation of Chinese characters reproduced in books, newspapers, and magazines by modern printing techniques, the appealing brush strokes of a handwritten Japanese scroll, letter, or menu is often considered a work of art, and associated with the aesthetic and mystical. Brush Writing is dedicated to such enthusiasts of Japanese calligraphy who have searched for a basic and introductory guide in English to this traditional and challenging Eastern art.
Any learner of Japanese will almost certainly find this book an invaluable aid to writing kanji, a subject that is rarely dealt with adequately in language textbooks, as well as providing fundamental clues to decipher handwritten Japanese. Through nearly fifty model characters, Brush Writing teaches the basic techniques of writing almost any kanji. For each character, we have clearly shown the correct stroke order, major reading in romanized Japanese, and meanings in English. Advice on balance and other practical tips on writing kanji have also peen included. Equally important to all non-native learners of Japanese, this book explains the secret of writing attractive hiragana, the key, in fact, to ensuring that handwritten Japanese is clearly legible and leaving the impression that it was penned by an adult Japanese hand.
But it does not end there. Brush Writing is more than a kanji guide for students of the Japanese language. After working through the systematic instructions carefully explained in this volume, anyone, with an appreciation of the beauty and art of quality brush work, should find little difficulty in creating fine calligraphy of their very own, even if the meanings of the shapes themselves remain a mystery. This volume begins with a comprehensive, but brief introduction to the history of Chinese and Japanese characters to satisfy the curiosity of the enthusiast. For novice calligraphers, not only have we explained how to use the necessary materials and equipment, such as brushes, paper, and sumi ink, but we have also appended a list of stores selling calligraphic supplies throughout the United States.
For Japanese language students and aspiring calligraphers alike, Brush Writing is the perfect introduction to the art and technique of shodo, Japanese calligraphy.
It is for those who would like an introduction to the Chinese characters of the skilled calligrapher ... that this book was written.... These are lessons in art—not writing, in the usual sense—but art constrained by a tradition that is centuries old. This combination of personal expression within a rigid framework of complex rules will pose an interesting challenge for the Westerner receiving instruction from Ryokushū Kuiseko through the medium of this interesting volume.
—Eleanor Harz Jorden (from the Foreword)
About the Author
RYOKUSHŪ KUISEKO was born in the city of Nagoya in 1934. Soon after graduating as an English major from Dōshisha Women’s University in Kyoto, she married a renowned calligrapher. From 1963 she began studying shodo under her husband while assisting at his calligraphy school. The author has held a special calligraphy class for non-Japanese students for almost twenty years.