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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Kaisho and gyosho: two calligraphy styles

楷書 行書

Kaisho and gyosho: two calligraphy stylesKaisho and gyosho: two calligraphy styles
Shodo, or shuji, is the Japanese art of calligraphy. There are several different styles of Japanese characters, corresponding to fonts in the Western alphabet.

Two of the most popular are kaisho 楷書: the regular block style that looks closest to the printed word, and gyosho 行書, a semi-cursive script slightly more fluid than kaisho, but not fluid to the point of near-illegibility - as is the case with the very free and flowing sosho 草書.

Above are two examples of the same phrase written in the two styles: kaisho on the left and gyosho on the right.

The phrase is, as most shodo phrases are, a four-character phrase (yon-moji-jukugo 四文字熟語). It is pronounced tosho hitori tanoshimu, and simply means "the solitary pleasure of reading."

Read more about Japanese calligraphy.

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