The art of writing – the art of self-control and discipline!

“The library – the world in one place” – this is the motto of Library Week 2022. By participating in the program, we offer our readers a series of author and travel meetings. On May 6, Mr. Roman Bankević (writer and traveler in one) showed us across Iceland. On May 12th we will be taking another trip into the world with the very cute couple, Michał Dziuba and Tomoe Ito. The pole and the original Japanese introduced Japanese calligraphy, and they also told us a little bit about “日本” – the land of the rising sun (日 – the sun; today 本 – the original).
Initially, it is worth noting that the Japanese developed three writing systems: Chinese kanji characters and two syllables – hiragana and katakana. There is also a fourth Latin alphabet in common use. Simply put, kanji characters are used to write nouns, hiragana transforms them into adjectives and verbs, while katakana, for example, is used to write words of foreign origin. When it comes to pronunciation, black magic For starters, the kanji characters can be pronounced differently and thus have many meanings. It’s not easier with the art of writing in Japanese. The order in which the characters are written cannot be random, and their number is impressive: in kanji it is estimated at about 50,000 (these are logograms borrowed from Chinese, which represent specific words. Some words require the use of several characters and have a complex meaning, for example plane -飛行 機 also means fly, jump, and machine); Both hiragana and katakana contain 46 characters (each hiragana has a katakana equivalent); There are more than 60 thousand Japanese characters in total. Japanese is one of the most difficult languages, it takes years to learn, but for those who do not want something difficult – Europeans successfully learn the basic set, and even reach the academic level (knowledge of about 2000 kanji is enough to communicate).
An important aspect of the “art of fine writing” in any culture is the constant practice of the workshop, and what distinguishes Japanese calligraphy is the emphasis on focus and precision, which are, in a way, more important than the information carried by the sign. . In Japan, “Shodo” (literally “way of writing”) teaches concentration and trains character – its main goal is the pursuit of excellence, other skills are a side effect. Writing teaches more than just signs and letters, it teaches how to express yourself.
In this art, it is important to follow the rules, that is, to be disciplined. First of all, it should be remembered that in Japan, text is written vertically in columns, from top to bottom, and the columns follow in order from right to left. Write with your right hand, keeping the brush in the right corner of the paper. It is also important to position your body, control your breathing rate, and write in this technique. In addition to this, the density, angle and length of the line. Mastering this art required tremendous self-control, which is why clergy and warriors learned calligraphy. Meditation is often preceded by the writing process in order to achieve the maximum state of control over your body.
In addition, what distinguishes Japanese calligraphy from the fine art of writing practiced in Europe are the tools. The Japanese use brush (well-chosen brushes do not tire the hand even after several hours of writing) and hard ink (crushed by rubbing an ink cube on a writing stone, then mixing it with water). Handmade rice paper is used as a base.
In Japan, learning “Shodo” begins in elementary school. Calligraphy competitions are organized every year. There is a custom called kakizome (書 初 め) – this is the first streak in a given year, participants call the same word, the best action wins.
During the workshops in the public library of the Zamość commune in Mokre, young and old readers had the opportunity not only to see the “master of calligraphy” in action, but also to experience this art in person. The impact of the participants’ effort and focus can be admired in the photo report posted on Facebook.
We would like to thank the coaches for an interesting adventure with “Japanese Calligraphy” and wish everyone to find the right path to self-control, improvement and character training!

[BPGZ Mokre, w oparciu o relację prowadzących oraz dodatkowe źródła (m. in.: J. Zakrzewska „Prze-myśleć piękno. Estetyka kaligrafii japońskiej”, Wikipedia,, oprac. Anna Dubel]

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