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Sho: Japanese Calligraphy Paperback – 22 Dec 1997

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing (22 Dec. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804815682
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804815680
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 1.8 x 29.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,038,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sho: Japanese Calligraphy
It is an excellent book to learn Japanese caligrafia, level is basic, but it is ideal to start. The exercises are very well distributed and esplicados, the movements are also well documented. The text is clear and concise, and very good general content.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x96fc82d0) out of 5 stars 4 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x973a3800) out of 5 stars A "non-native" English reader takes a look at "SHO..." 14 Aug. 2002
By Nuno Guerra - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is quite nice. It offers a good historical background about Japanese Calligraphy, with a lot of stories by famous calligraphers, interviews, and so on. There are also some useful informations on how to display/exhibit your own work. On the other hand, I found it a bit short about the character writng in itself, there isn't enough information on the way/order of the strokes. I recomend this book in adition with one which has a more technical and basic approach, such as "Brush Writing - A practical guide for begginers". I have the two of them and they seem quite complementary.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x974a6fb4) out of 5 stars Fascinating material marred by poor presentation 8 Sept. 2004
By Kathy Grace - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I received this book, along with "Brush Writing" and the Takase CD vol. 1, as a gift recently. I am finding each of them useful in its way, but this is the book that I most wish were better.

"Sho" covers quite a large range of subject matter--everything from interviews with sho masters to tips on selling your work at exhibitions to instructions on carving in wood, with little sidelights like Japanese monograms and brushes made of mouse hairs (and yes, there are step-by-step photos of actual brush calligraphy, too). Unfortunately, lots of these topics are discussed in just enough detail to make me want more, but not enough to satisfy me. The book lacks focus. In this respect, "Brush Writing" is much better--its author has wisely (I think) decided that a beginning text is not the place to drag in every topic under the sun related to sho. (Perhaps "Sho" is not meant to be a beginning text, but that's part of the same problem--I can't tell whether it's aimed at me, a novice, or at an expert, or at someone in between.)

Organization is a weak point as well. How to line your work (the equivalent, more or less, of matting/framing it) and sell it is discussed well before we get around to making basic strokes with ink on paper. Interviews are plopped in the middle of the book. There are two different discussions on brushes--one near the beginning, the other near the end. There's a blow-by-blow critique of a work in the author's collection that gives some real insight into how an artist imbued his work with emotion, but it uses technical terms that aren't introduced till later in the book. Take a look at the Table of Contents--I think you'll agree that it's all over the place. Great if you're a browser, not so hot if you're not.

Finally, and this is a big one for me, the typography of the book is just awful. It seems to have been produced on a dedicated word processor with a daisywheel printer (anyone remember those?) or something similar. Boldface print is clearly just overstrike. There is no italic. The font is something from the typewriter era. The book is formatted in two narrow columns per page, which are right-and-left justified with no hyphenation, producing many lines that have huge gaps between the words. It's painfully unattractive, to the point of being difficult to read. In a book presumably meant to appeal to Westerners who are interested in an aesthetic of writing, the ugly typography is a major flaw.

Having said all this, I'll repeat--the book contains a great deal of information which fascinated me, and I'm glad I own it. But if I'd seen it in a store, I'd never have purchased it.

In any case, do yourself a favor and order the Takase CD, which contains something like thirty videos of the sensei writing characters and critiquing student efforts, in addition to the usual written text about materials, posture, strokes, and so on. The videos on this CD will make any book you choose much more understandable.

Update:
I see that Amazon has added the "Look inside this book" feature. Please take a look before you buy!
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97326e34) out of 5 stars A true tool for spiritual growth... 8 Jan. 2003
By NFL-PRO-34 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I found this book to offer a complete in-depth analysis and discussion on the importance of Japanese calligraphy from a historical and spiritual reference point. There are many books in my opinion that offer novice information on the stylist qualities and brush stroke procedures, but not many of them focus on the deep history & spiritual connection that mastering the art of calligraphy can bring. The book explains that as your body & mind master the physical art of calligraphy, the spirit becomes enlightened and strong. It explains how great Zen teachers, warriors & emperors increased their proficiency in brush writing and as a result enabled them to reflect a high degree of inner character & self-discipline. Simply a fabulous read and reference for all of us who strive to improve ourselves and understand more of the inner workings and benefits of Japanese calligraphy. A+++
Blessed,
Andy
2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x96fc84a4) out of 5 stars Daughter is pleased 9 Dec. 2005
By Brynn Fraser - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I know nothing about it, but my daughter does. She seems to be very pleased with it. I suppose this is what matters most. She has pointed out a few things that may be questionable, but still enjoys it. She is particularly pleased with the fact that the characters are laid out in a graph, for accuracy, as well as the variations of the different types of Japanese calligraphy. Daughter happy, mommy happy. :)
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