What is KAKIZOME? The First Writing Of A Year

Japanese Calligraphy (Shodo) meets Kakizome. 

Each country has a new year event and each family has each way of spending the new year. The Japanese major New Year icons are the pine tree, bamboo, plums, and Kakizome. All of them are symbols of good fortune and longevity.

Many Japanese people will gather with their families to ring in the new year, while others will go out to enjoy countdown events or see the first sunrise of the year.

Kakizome "first writing" is a Japanese term for the first calligraphy (Shodo)  written at the beginning of a year, traditionally on January 2.
Jan. 2 was traditionally the first day for people such as farmers, merchants, and others to go back to work, and Kakizome is said to be in line with this.

In traditional practice, Kakizome is burned at a dondo yaki, or bonfire, where Kakizome, shimenawa (rice straw ropes), kadomatsu (bamboo and pine decorations), and other items unique to Oshogatsu are burned around Jan. 15.

However, writing was not for everybody until the Edo Period (1603-1868) when ordinary people began learning writing, reading, and mathematics. At terakoya (a term for schools in the Edo Period), children first learned calligraphy (Shodo) and thus performed kakizome, and schools in the Meiji Era (1868-1912) and later eras carried on this custom.

In earlier years, educated adults used to write ancient Chinese poems with many kanji characters for their kakizome.
Nowadays, writing just a few kanji is the common form of kakizome, but not many adults engage in it.

However, most Japanese schools, from elementary through high school, still teach calligraphy (Shodo) and kakizome is often homework during the winter break.

What tools do you need to write Kakizome or to start Calligraphy (Shodo)?

The basic items are:
1. Ink-stone (SUZURI) and ink (SUMI)
2. Writing brush (FUDE)
3. Underlay (MOUSEN)
4. Paperweight (BUNCHING)
5. Calligraphy paper (HANSHI)

Our Japanese Calligraphy (Shodo) sets includes item 1 to item 4

Japanese Calligraphy Set Echizen Lacquer Full set

The Japanese Calligraphy (Shodo) sets includes item 1 to item 4 Easy and pack all items compactly and easy to carry.


For the first time use, you can start by using a writing brush pen. You don't need to have all items to get started to do Shodo but just a writing brush pen.

Japanese Calligraphy Natural Brush Pen

To make it simple and easy to start Calligraphy (Shodo), Akashiya's Calligraphy (Shodo) brush pen is the exact right product.



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