Wednesday, February 03, 2010


Calligraphy to the Chinese is called 서법(書法), to the Japanese 서도(書道) and Korean 서예(書藝). I learned this during my Hanja lesson.

Actually Hanja lesson had nothing to do with Korean calligraphy except that the professor who taught me Hanja is very passionate about it. He is a master in calligraphy and conduct lessons for the public during his free time.

It was two weeks to end-of-term exam and the turnout for the Hanja lesson was quite pathetic. To be exact, only three of us were present. Instead of going through our Hanja textbook, our professor wanted to introduce calligraphy to us.

He brought in his calligraphy paper, brushes, ink and inkstone and we arranged the tables and spread out the calligraphy paper. Before we could start our practice, our professor spoke at length the philosophy of calligraphy.

Calligraphy is not just writing; it is also a training of our mind. Once you can get your mind to focus on the brush strokes, it will start to calm down naturally. Soon, it will be fully relax as it leaves the mundane world behind.

It seems like calligraphy, at its best, is sort of a mind meditation. Anyway, I was quite hopeless at the writing but my Japanese classmates were very good. I practiced my writing with the word "된사람" (be a man) and it ended with my professor writing the word and giving it as a gift to me. His masterpiece (left) was originally written across. To accommodate this posting, I make it runs vertically.

To be a man, as in a man with high moral standard and discipline, is not easy. As a word, "된사람" is quite easy to write but a lot of hard work is needed to live up to it.


  1. I'm curious, is there a difference between the Chinese, Korean and Japanese calligraphy?

  2. they look the same to me.

  3. Are you positive it translates to "be a man"?

  4. do you have higher quality jpg of this image that you could send me? it would be much appreciated. thanks!