Creating Japanese Calligraphy

Japanese calligraphy is an art form that takes years of practice and a range of special tools. Let’s watch Tsurutani sensei as he creates a beautiful work of art.

The Process of making Japanese calligraphy
Adding water with the mizusashi

Just as an artist mixes the colors on her palette before she starts to paint, so the calligrapher first has to mix water and sumi. Here you can see Tsurutani sensei using his mizusashi to add a little water to the hollow at one end of the suzuri whetstone.

Grinding the stick of sumi

He then takes the stick of sumi, which you can see in the foreground of the last picture, and rubs it gently on the suzuri, blending it with the water to form the liquid ink.

Dipping the fude brush

Taking his brush, he dips it in the ink, being sure to allow it to soak up just the right amount. The calligraphy brush you can see him using here has bristles made of horse hair,

Writing the kanji character

Finally he is ready to put brush to paper. The bunchin holds the paper steady as he focuses on creating the kanji character. He writes each stroke in a particular order, applying or reducing pressure to produce the most balanced form.

Japanese kanji yume - dream

Here is the character he wrote. It is pronounced yume and means “dream”.
Although the calligraphy is complete now, it has to be left to dry for several days so that the ink does not run when it is being attached to the scroll. We take special care when creating scrolls for you by leaving the calligraphy to dry for a least three full days before the work to turn it into a scroll is begun.

Related Information
(Please note that some sites require Japanese fonts installed. is not responsible for the content of external sites.) More information about Japanese calligraphy and Japanese