5.Sita-jiki(Mat, under sheet cloth)

6.Bun-chin(Paper weight)




The bristles of the fude come from the hair of animals such as rabbits, sheep, cats, racoons, horses, weasels and mice.

Deperding on the type of hair used the fude can be soft or hard,or a combination of both.

As a general rule, white bristles are the softest, black are hard, and brown tend to be the combination types.

The length of the bristles also varies.

Medium-length bristles are known as "chu-ho", shorter bristles are "tan-ho" and the longer ones "cho-ho".

Depending on the style and size of what you are writing, it is important to choose the right fude, considering all the combinations of bristle hardness and size.

There are many variations of fude, but all have their own advantages, and the right situation to use each one exists.

After use, it is important to wash the fude in water. Only wash the areas which you have used. If using a soft-bristled fude, you will need to clean all the bristles. However, if you have only written with the tip, only clean this area, taking care not the wet the bristles at the base.

A new brush will come with glue on the bristles, so before use, it is important to wash this out in water.

For beginners, a fude with bristle length of 4-6cm(known as chu-ho), and hard bristles is the best choice.

[Storage and Care]

Being made from animal hair, the bristles of the fude are very attractive to insects, which will ruin the fude. It is important therfore to stove the fude in an airtight container, preferably with some kind of insecticide or mothballs. Also by dipping the fude in ink and storing, insects will be repelled from it.


The ink used for shodo is a mixture of carbon, glue and fragrance.

The glue is made cheifly from animal protein, and has the consistency and properties of gelatin. It is dissolved in warm water, and then sets solid.

To combat the unpleasant smell of the carbon and glue, a special fragrance is added to the ink while being mixed.

Chines ink is known as "to-boku", while Japanese ink is called "wa-boku".

Ink comes in various forms - sticks, paste or liquid. If you require a large amount of ink, the liquid form is most convenient, as it requires no proparation.

diagram 1diagram 2

On the flat surface of the Suzuri(inkstone), gently grind the instick either with vertical movements(diagram 1) or in circles(diagram 2). Do not apply too much pressure to the inkstick. Every now and then, reverse your hold of the inkstick to avoid it dercloping a diagonal face.

After use, dry the end of the inkstick with paper.

If exposed to direct sunlight, humidity or placed near a heater or air-conditioner, the ink stick can deterioriate and break. Always return it to its box, and if possible, avoid leaving it in such places.


A Suzuri(inkstone) can come in many forms. As well as the usual stone, it can be made of wood, earthenware or day, and can be rectangular, aquare or circle shaped.

On the flat surface of the suzuri, add a small amount of water and grind with the inkstone until desired consistency is reached. The ink should then be scraped into the small through at one end. Repeat as many times as required.

While it appears smooth, the surface of the inkstone is actually rough, serving to very gently "grate" the inkstone so it can more easily disperse colour.


There is a huge range of paper varities on which you can write Shodo - Japanese - style, Chinese - style, European - style etc. They all have different properties, which can affect such thing as the colour of the ink and how much it spreads, can be made by hand or machine and come in a range of size.

For beginners, it is best choose paper which will not absorb too much ink, as this can make writing difficult. During practice, use the standard "Hanshi" size paper (33cm x 24cm).

5.Sita-jiki(Mat, under sheet cloth)

The "Sita-jiki" is a mat of felt, which is placed under the paper to prcuent the ink from staining the writing surface.

6.Bun-chin(paper weight)

Use a "Bun-chin" (paper weight) to prevent the paper moving while writing.


When not writing, rest the brush on the brush rest (Fude-oki).


Keep some water in a container (Sui-teki) on hand while writing.