Wednesday 28 September 2022

Book Review: Shodo by Rie Takeda (Non-Fiction)

Title: Shodo
Author: Rie Takeda
Publisher: Watkins Publishing
Publication Date: 11 October 2022
Pages: 249
Format: eBook - PDF
Genre: Non-Fiction
Source: ARC via NetGalley

This is a beautiful guide to harmonize the body and mind connection through elegant Japanese calligraphy for fans of Ikigai and Wabi Sabi.

SHO 書: to write, writing, calligraphy. DO 道: the path, the way or the Tao, the path of life

The ancient Japanese art of calligraphy is more than just a decorative skill; it is a revolutionary approach to mindfulness. This book is a beautiful introduction to Shodo, which shows how the movement of a brush channels energy through the body and mind, uniting both in harmony. What results on the paper is a true depiction of the present moment, a movement towards a more peaceful mindfulness.

Shodo expert and professional calligrapher Rie Takeda shares the history, philosophy and craft of Shodo. Decorated throughout with her stunning art, Takeda begins with the basic brushstrokes, and builds up to drawing complete kanji, beautifully nuanced in both appearance and meaning. Introductory sections include practical information on what sort of ink, pens and brushes to use, how to prepare your space, how to sit and breathing exercises. This is alongside spiritual guidance, including the concept of Mushin (an undisturbed mind), Qi energy, and how to discover your unique inner quality.

A final troubleshooting section allows you to identify what wobbles and imperfections in your lines can tell you about the various tensions and stresses in your body and mind. 


I have previously done an online course on Shodo, so I was interested to see what this book would be like. Overall, I think it is a good guide, especially for beginners. As well as discussing Zen and mindfulness, the author reviews the equipment required for Shodo and the basic strokes, before introducing a series of kanji to practice with in more detail. The book is nicely laid out and illustrated throughout with useful diagrams and images of completed kanji calligraphy. It would definitely make a good introductory text for anyone interested in Shodo and it gets 4 stars from me.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

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