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How To Draw Block-Style Japanese Calligraphy

Whether an artistic savant or just a doodler, this skill will impress your friends and family and all you need are a few brush strokes.


  • TIP: Use larger or smaller brushes to create your Japanese calligraphy on any size surface.
  • Step 1: Stroke down the paper slowly and pause at the end of the stroke before lifting the brush straight up. Keep the brush at a right angle at all times.
  • Step 2: Repeat each brush stroke the same way, being as straight and blocky as possible until the character is finished.
  • FACT: There are nearly 50,000 different characters – or kanji – in the Japanese language.
  • Step 3: Stand, don't sit, and grasp the brush gently in your dominant hand before gently placing it on the paper at a 90-degree angle.
  • Step 4: Saturate the brush with ink and wipe off the excess on the sloping part of the ink stone.
  • Step 5: Work in an open area, free of obstructions, and don your smock in case you spill ink.
  • Step 6: Fill the suzuri with ink and lay out a fresh sheet of calligraphy paper or rice paper, using the stone or paperweight to hold it in place as you work.
  • TIP: Place a towel or calligraphy pad under the paper to prevent bleeding ink from staining the table.
  • Step 7: Choose a Japanese character that contains between three and six strokes or lines to complete.

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