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How to Make Japanese Calligraphy Art

If your walls are begging for an Asian touch, this guide will help you decorate like the Far East on a shoestring budget.


  • Step 1: Choose a character Choose an easy Japanese character, like the character for an emotion or an adjective that contains between three to six lines or strokes.
  • TIP: Avoid complex sentences or passages from poetry or music -- often the translation isn't exact and can make for an awkward meaning.
  • Step 2: Find a work area Find an open work area free of any obstructions and don your smock in case you spill ink.
  • Step 3: Prepare work station Fill the suzuri with ink and then lay out a fresh sheet of rice paper using the weight to hold it in place as you work.
  • TIP: Use a different medium, such as pottery, garden stones, or different colored inks.
  • Step 4: Practice writing Practice writing the character several times on scrap paper, especially if you're trying it for the first time on pottery or a personal item.
  • Step 5: Recreate character Recreate the character by studying the strokes or lines it took to make it, and then repeat. Be careful and be patient.
  • Step 6: Frame and hang Frame your masterpiece and hang it anywhere. You may also group several characters together on one page to create variety and interest.
  • FACT: Japan has one of the highest literacy rates in the world at 99 percent for all residents over the age of 15.

You Will Need

  • Japanese character
  • Workspace
  • Smock
  • Suzuri ink stone
  • Sumi ink
  • Rice paper
  • Heavy stone or paper weight
  • Medium-sized calligraphy brush
  • Scrap paper
  • Patience
  • Frame
  • Pottery (optional)
  • Garden stones (optional)

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