Please Note: These courses will be conducted online via Zoom. To participate fully, you will need access to a device with internet, microphone, and camera (such as a laptop, smartphone, or tablet). Please note that all times listed are New York time (ET).
Shodo is an art form using a brush and charcoal ink on paper, wood plaques, and fabric. It includes Chinese characters (kanji) and Japanese hiragana. Although it originated in the techniques used for letter writing, with its unique form of expression it has developed into an art genre. These online courses will consist of self-study, instructor-student dialogue, and instructor demonstration.
Please note this is not a language course. If you wish to learn Japanese language, please see our other courses.
See the Shodo Level Guide for sample materials at each level.
For a printer friendly version of these courses, please click here: 2023 Fall Shodo (Japanese Calligraphy) (PDF)
Shodo for BeginnersONLINE·5 classes·Sanae Asai
Course work begins October 2
Students will learn the brush strokes used in the basic 楷書 (kaisho)/regular script. This will be a small class size, and the course will involve both homework practice and in-class time over Zoom. (For details of the schedule, please read below.) In the Zoom class, students are expected to show their work with the teacher and other students so that everyone can learn from each other. Students must purchase their own supplies ahead of beginning coursework, and the Language Center can provide recommendations for supplies. This course will prepare you for the Shodo Basic Kanji course.
No prior Shodo or Japanese language experience necessary.
Shodo Basic KanjiFridays, October 6—December 15, 4:30-5:30 pm ET (no class 11/24)ONLINE·10 classes·Megumi Barringer
Course works begins October 2
This course is for those who have previous experience with Japanese calligraphy or have finished ‘Shodo for Beginners’ at Japan Society. Students will mainly learn how to write kanji in the 楷書 (kaisho)/regular script. In the class, the instructor will give a demonstration in the beginning, and then students will get to practice. This course is designed to be taken multiple times, and will help prepare you for the Shodo Kanji course (please consult with your instructor for approval before enrolling in Shodo Kanji).
Prerequisite: students must have previously enrolled in the Shodo for Beginners course or have taken at least 1 course (5+ lessons) of Shodo at Japan Society. (If you do not fit this prerequisite but have previous experience with Japanese calligraphy, please contact us at [email protected].) Complete beginners to Japanese calligraphy should enroll in Shodo for Beginners.
Shodo KanjiFridays, October 6—December 15, 6-7 pm ET (no class 11/24)ONLINE·10 classes·Megumi Barringer
Course works begins October 2
Every week, two typefaces from 行書 (gyosho) / semi-cursive, 草書 (sosho) / cursive, and 隷書 (reisho) / clerical script are practiced in the class. This class is for those who have previous experience with Japanese calligraphy and have learned the basic 楷書 (kaisho) / regular script already.
Prerequisite: students must have enrolled at least once in Shodo Basic Kanji at Japan Society, or have already learned the basic kaisho/regular script style. (If you do not fit this prerequisite but have significant previous experience with Japanese calligraphy, please contact us at [email protected].)
Shodo KanaFridays, October 6—December 15, 2-3 pm ET (no class 11/24)ONLINE·10 classes·Megumi Barringer
Course works begins October 2
Students will write 俳句 (haiku) and 短歌 (tanka) using the Japanese syllabaries of hiragana, man’yogana (classic hiragana), and 草書 (sosho) /cursive script. This course is not for beginners.
Prerequisite: For participants with intermediate level Shodo experience and above. Hiragana recognition and writing is required. (If you do not fit this prerequisite but have significant previous experience with Japanese calligraphy, please contact us at [email protected].)
This course will consist of self-study, instructor-student dialogue, and instructor demonstration. The structure for the courses is as follows:
Assignment Sample: by Monday prior to the class
The instructor will correspond with students (by email) about assignment samples. Students will work individually and submit the completed assignment(s) by the due date (see below). Please note, this will begin on the Monday prior to the first Friday class meeting. If Monday is a holiday, the instructor will send the assignment on Friday night the week before.
Please print the assignment samples out in advance so that you can use them in practice or in class.
Sample Submission: by Friday at 10 am ET
Students submit their assignment(s) as a photo or scan to the instructor via email ideally before class (by 10:00 am Friday). The instructor will email feedback to each student except on Sundays. More details will come from the instructor.
Class Meeting: see class meeting times above.
Students will meet with the instructor on Zoom. The instructor will review key points and details from that week’s sample for the first 5-10 minutes, and then for the rest of class will work with students individually on technique, etc. This will happen with everyone in the same Zoom meeting, so students will also hear/see feedback given to other students. We recommend that while not working directly with the instructor, students may practice the ideas introduced at the start of class and the sample assignment. The instructor may work with each student more than once.
(Early Registration Discount: through Mon., Sept. 18, 2023)
Japan Society members: $270
(Regular Tuition: starting Tues., Sept. 19, 2023)
Japan Society members: $280
5-Class Courses (Shodo for Beginners)
Japan Society members: $160
How to Register
Please register by Thursday, September 28, if possible. These classes are small, so we appreciate your early enrollment.
Registration is accepted online (preferred) or by phone only at (212) 715-1269 or (212) 715-1293, or in-person on select days.
To purchase or renew a membership, please visit the Membership page and pay online. Or, call 212-715-1270 and leave a message; they will get back to you.
All registrants will receive a Welcome Letter from [email protected] on:
- the afternoon of Friday, September 29, 2023
The instructor will email the samples and Zoom link by:
- the end of the day, Monday, October 2, 2023 at the latest
Registrants of Shodo for Beginners will receive an email about course materials upon registration for the course.
ご質問は [email protected] までご連絡ください。電話でのご登録を希望される方は、クレジットカードをご用意の上、212-715-1269又は212-715-1293までご連絡ください。
For more information, please email us at [email protected], or call (212) 715-1269 or (212) 715-1293.
Cancellation Policy: Cancellations are accepted until 12 pm ET on the business day before the course or workshop begins (for Shodo, until 12 pm ET on the business day before coursework begins). After this deadline, cancellations are not accepted and tuition is not refundable or transferable for any reason (including for credit). Upon cancellation, the tuition paid minus a service charge ($20 for courses, $5 for workshops) will be refunded. Cancellations are only accepted via phone.
Japan Society also reserves the right to cancel any course or workshop if sufficient enrollment is not obtained. In such cases, students already enrolled will receive full refunds (no service charge).
By registering for a course, you accept and agree to the above terms of the cancellation policy.
Students must be age 16 or older.
We do not record these classes, and recording of these classes is prohibited.
Students are required to purchase their own materials for at home use.
Shodo materials include: brush, ink (liquid or ink stone and stick), a felt pad, and a paperweight. Hanshi paper if you have it, or printer copy paper will be fine as well.
Alternatively, a limited quantity of Shodo supply kits (which include a brush, felt pad, and paperweight but NOT ink or paper) are available to rent for the semester from the Language Center. Supply kits are
available for a $40 rental fee (of which $35 will be returned for supplies with no significant damage). Partial kits can be rented as well. Please contact the office to arrange rental and pick-up.
Devices include: a computer, tablet, or smartphone which has a camera, microphone, and speaker. It is preferred that you set up a camera to show your work/brush strokes live, rather than your face. This could mean using a stand or creating a comparable set up. If you have two devices, you could create an arrangement where the instructor can see both your work and your face.
If you are purchasing supplies, please do so far enough in advance so that you receive the materials before your first class. The Language Center is not responsible for delays resulting in a student not being prepared by the first class session, and the cancellation policy still applies.
If you need assistance acquiring Shodo materials, setting up your technology/checking your camera angle, or further information, please email [email protected].
Sanae Asai (Master Suiho) obtained a BA in Commerce from Meiji University and finished the courses of Certified Financial Planner…Learn More
Japan Society programs are made possible by leadership support from Booth Ferris Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. Support for Japan Society’s Language Center is provided, in part, by Mark F. Goldfield and Mary E. Hatch; Christopher Hong; Steven Giordano; and Dr. Bic Kanayjorn.