Index :   ① Shodo Tools, ② Kanji Name(漢字) & Gago(雅号)


① Shodo Tools:

Q. How many and what kind of 筆(fudes)  do I need for Shodo practice?

A. At least, so far, you need two fudes, one for regular practice(Oofude(大筆) size 3 or 4 Gou(号)), another for writing your name(Kofude(小筆)size 8 Gou(号)).

In Japan, there are 10 different sizes of Shodo fudes. Size: 1= Largest → 10= Smallest. If you don't see the size numbers on Fudes, it should say "It is for 'Hanshi(半紙)'(a regular size piece of paper)" or "It is for 'Hosoji(細字)'(narrow writing for names)".

■Q. My new fude is glued and stiff. How I can use this for the first time?

A. With your two fingers, rub the fude gently and gradually from pointed top to bottom or top to where you want to stop. Some fude is long, so you don't have to do it till the bottom. If it is very hard, add some water and rub in the same way.

■Q. I have a Chinese Style Shodo set(not Japanese style). Does it work for this Shodo Club?

A. Yes and No. As long as you have the basic six tools(Fude, Sumi(Bokuju), Suzuri, Shitajiki, Bunchin, Hanshi(rice paper), you don't have to buy new tools. But most of Chinese Style fudes don't hold enough bokuju(sumi ink). So you may need to buy just for Shodo Fudes separately. Anyway, try first with your current set!

■Q. Why do people use Bokuju instead of Sumi?

A. Nowadays, people get so busy. Bokuju is a premade black ink and easy to use. But rubbing Sumi and mixing with water is the correct manner for Shodo. If you have time, please try. It is very helpful to calm down your anxiety and you can concentrate on your work better. Any left over Sumi should be discarded unless you use it within a few days. Never return left over Sumi to the Bokuju bottle.

■ Q. My fude's hairs are falling, why?

A. This is a very common issue with a new fude. Only a few hairs falling is OK. But if your fude has many hairs falling, you need to buy a new one because your fude's condition affects your work a lot. Remember, fude is the most important tool. Some good fudes are very expensive. as unfortunately "What you get is what you pay for"....But you don't need very expensive ones. For beginners, I suggest you buy one around $30 and above. Hiroshima is a famous place for fude manufacturing in Japan. If you have a chance to visit Hiroshima, it's good to buy fudes and find your favorite one. Or you can buy from Amazon.jp searching for "Hiroshima Japanese Calligraphy Brush". It will be shipped from Japan and delivered to you within a week!

■Q. I want to practice at home. Where should I buy Hanshi papers and Bokuju?

A. I usually order Hanshi and Bokuju from US Amazon.com if I need them immediately. Local hobby craft shops may have them.

■Q. What is that stamp(red seal)?

A. The seal(落款印 Rakkanin) is used for a proof and to show who made the artwork. The stamp is made from a special stone. We carve it with your Gago name(see below) in a special unique Chinese letter font for seals. In Japanese, the carving style is called"篆刻(tenkoku)”. I love carving! I will show you how to do Tenkoku to make seals if you are interested. But always be careful with sharp tools! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seal_(East_Asia)

■Q. How often should I replace with a new fude?

A. Some Shodo-ka(experts) replace their fude every 3 months. But I use the same fude for a long time as long as I think it is OK. So it depends on you. You can decide the time to replace it. Some people like new fude because it is sometimes smoother but not always.


② Kanji name:

■Q.I want to have my name in Kanji. Would you help me?

A. Yes, I will be happy to help you to find a nice Kanji name. If you prefer, writing in Katakana or in Hiragana is OK too. Katakana is used to describe names from foregin countries. Each kanji has meaning. Katakana just makes sounds but has a simple and cute shape. 

Ex.  Emily :Kanji: 恵美里 / 絵実梨 / 笑理・・・Katakana: エミリー    Hiragana:えみりい

■Q. What is a Gago(雅号)?Would you give me a Gago?

A.Gago is a pen name for Shodo. A lot of Shodo-ka use a Gago instead of their real name on their works. I will give you a Gago when you move to the advanced course. Usually you use one Kanji character from your real name and create a new name which sounds nice and cool! Yes, I will be happy to help you to find a good name for your Gago.


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