As some of you may know from my first blog, which can be found here I am currently working on my final project. My final project will be about Asian calligraphy specifically Chinese and Japanese calligraphy. For my final project I will be documenting my learning of calligraphy through prezi and through videos. I will be doing different styles from both the Chinese and Japanese culture. This will allow me to learn about different Asian cultures, one of which comes a little from my heritage . Through conducting an autoethnogrpahic study I have learnt that there are many aspects of calligraphy and Asian culture that I was not aware of.
Just as I mentioned in my previous post calligraphy is part of not just Chinese culture but also Japanese culture. While it was created originally in China, Japan also felt the need to create uniquely beautiful writing. Calligraphy is traditionally valued in the high court and is an important skill to master. The imperial court studied Chinese calligraphy and created a style that was more fluid and elegant for Japanese people to use.
Calligraphy is not the only thing both Chinese and Japanese cultures have in common. Asian cultures have many things in common. They are:
Both Asian cultures take religion seriously. There are various different religious groups and churches that welcome people to view the perspective praying and soul-searching. Japan considers religion a way of life and living and welcomes all different types of group. China also considers religion part of life however they only officially have five different religions
Social conventions in Asia is also a huge thing. Manners and customs are highly regarded in any part of Asia. They feel that respect is important in building a positive relationship and it allows them to be open and positive with everyone. Some of the social conventions Japan and China have in common are: taking off footwear when entering a home and not directly sticking chopsticks into a bowl or rice or noodles.
Through doing more research on both Chinese and Japanese calligraphy I have noticed that there are some similarities to both of these cultures. Previously in my first blog I have written down all the main types of Chinese calligraphy styles. Through researching Japanese calligraphy I have noticed that their main styles are roughly similar to some of the Chinese styles. The main Japanese styles are:
Kasha Style (Correct Writing)
- Similar to the popular Chinese calligraphy style Kai Style aka regular script
- Each stroke is made in a clear and deliberate way
- People usually study this form of style first
Gyousho (Travelling Writing)
- Similar to the prettiest Chinese style Xing aka semi- cursive script
- This is the style people usually use when taking notes
- Strokes are flow together to form a rounded whole word/ letter
- Can be read by educated Japanese individuals
Sousho Style (Grass Writing)
- Similar to the Chinese artistic style Cao aka cursive script
- The brush does not leave the paper
- Can be hard to read only people who are trained in this style are able to read it
- Makes graceful, swooping shapes
- It is mostly used for decoration than conveying information
Firstly an area of calligraphy that surprised me were the different styles. I always thought that calligraphy was mainly cursive writing that didn’t have any other styles. I always thought that there was one main style of calligraphy being taught and that they just look different based on different people’s handwriting. Through researching thoroughly on Chinese and Japanese calligraphy I have found that there are actually many different unique styles. As generations go by they add their own quirk and twists and this results in a new style being created.
As I was reflecting on the types of styles that are similar I started to notice that there are other aspects that were also similar for both cultures. Japanese and Chinese culture have taught individuals from both Japan and China that calligraphy and writing beautifully is a reflection of their character and personality. It is all about the flow, being focused and real emotions that come from the heart. Through this research I have noticed that different Asian cultures value their emotions and well-being. The stereotype for Asians is that they rarely show any emotions physically which leads people to believe they are emotionless. It is clear that while most Asians may not like or are used to public displays of affection they do show it through their styles of writing.
Lastly another aspect of calligraphy that I have learnt through this process is that it is a highly regarded art form. I always thought of calligraphy as a hobby but it is much more than that. Calligraphy comes with a high status and is usually taught by higher nobleman such as people in the higher court. In most Asian schools they are required to learn how to speak and write in different languages such as english, Chinese and Japanese. Other times calligraphy is taught by their parents and passed down from generation to generation.
I believe that by having an Asian background can give me an advantage on understanding the cultural aspects of calligraphy. Due to my research and revelations I believe that it would beneficial to go out a visit temples near by in person and see calligraphy in action. I believe that by doing some calligraphy physically myself will also allow me to further understand the culture and research that I have done.