Japanese calligraphy or shodo is an artistic way of writing the Japanese language using brush (fude) and ink (sumi). This form of writing with a set brush stroke order allows for a creative way to produce works of art. Often tied with meditation, the mind is cleared to let the letters flow out with little effort. This state of mind is called mu shin or “no mind state.”
There are different calligraphy styles such as: kaisho “correct writing” described as deliberate and clear strokes similar to newspaper print, gyousho “traveling writing” seen as a semi cursive style, and sousho “grass writing” the flowing cursive style. You can also use your calligraphy to decorate objects such as fans or lamps. Whether you practice “mu shin” or simply enjoy exploring your creativity, you can learn about yourself as you allow the worries of the week to flow out like the ink off the brush while economically beautifying your living area.
In the Shodo program you learn the art of Japanese calligraphy from Hekiun Oda Sensei, a calligraphy master from the Japanese Calligraphy Association in Japan, aka “Genshin-kai”. Thanks to Oda Sensei’s rank as “Shihan” in the association, students in this program will be able to send their work to the headquarters in Japan and potentially be an awarded a rank. Which is a very rare opportunity! The classes are focused on learning various writing techniques while working on assignments that are tailored to each student’s level and ability. Whether beginner or advanced, all levels and ages are welcomed!
About Oda Sensei
Hekiun Oda Sensei was born in 1963 and grew up in Kobe City, Japan, a place known for having many shodo masters living there at the time. Oda Sensei began studying shodo at the age of 5 under the shodo master Goun Katsura. Oda Sensei moved to Chicago in 1990, and since then has held many exhibitions and demonstrations at venues including Uniqlo, the Japan Information Center (JIC), and right here at the Japanese Culture Center. In 2009 he established the Oda Japanese Calligraphy School and has taught over 100 students. Oda Sensei obtained the rank of “Shihan” – the highest rank in shodo – in November 2011 from the Genshin-kai, the Japanese Calligraphy Association in Japan.
For Oda Sensei, shodo is a reflection of the calligrapher’s heart. He explores the beauty of this art form by re-imagining his encounters with life and nature with thin or thick lines and powerful or gentle strokes. The moment just before he is ready to move his brush is powerful, as once a brushstroke is made -there is no going back.