In the west,
calligraphy is generally associated with penmanship, and is thought
of as the art of writting neatly. In China and Japan, because of
the flexibility of the materials used and the graphic possibilities
inherent in the scripts, calligraphy has attained the status of
an important art.
The Japanese language has imported chinese characters called ''kanji'',
and the writting system uses these in combination with phonetic
symbols called ''kana''. Like Chinese, Japanese is written in vertical
lines from right to left.
The art of Japanese calligraphy, or ''Shodo'', is the art of writing
Japanese characters with brush and ink
The three basic calligraphic styles are ''kaisho'' block or standard
style), ''gyosho'' (semi-cursive) and ''sosho''(cursive style);
all appeared before the end of the sixth century.