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I created this site in the hope that people from all over the world will learn
about Shodo (Japanese calligraphy)


Japanese Characters


The Japanese written language has three types of characters: Kanji, Hiragana and Katakana.


Kanji (Chinese characters)

Characters were invented in China around 4,500 years ago and these are said to be the beginnings of Kanji. Calligraphic style changed with the passage of time until we arrived at the characters we have today. (See The History of Shodo (Japanese calligraphy))

Kanji were introduced from China to Japan in 285 (some historians believe that it was actually in the year 57). It is thought that, until then, there was no writing but only speech in Japan.

Each kanji has its own meaning and fixed rules for Hitsujun (stroke order) and it is necessary to memorize this stroke order to be able to write Kanji accurately and beautifully.

There are some Kanji in both Japanese and Chinese that have the same form and meaning but there are also many with different forms and different meanings.




Hiragana and Katakana

As it was difficult to express the Japanese language in writing using only the Kanji that were introduced from China, the Hiragana and Katakana (each with approximately 50 characters) that we currently use today were created in the 8th – 9th centuries. These are characters that can only be found in the Japanese language and they do not have any meanings as an alphabet.

Hiragana characters were created by breaking down Kanji.

Katakana characters were created by taking a part of a Kanji.
Katakana is mainly used for  non-Japanese names, place names and borrowed words.
(E.g. Sumisu (Smith), Amerika (USA), Conpyuta (computer)...)


Hiragana
      
Katakana


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