I started Shodo four years ago as a way to help my youngest on her kanji tests in school, never with the intention of pursuing it seriously. Something about how my Sensei teaches, and the regularity of studying together every week changed my attitude.

Below is my official certificate that I reached shodan, first dan (rank, level), not kyu anymore. With the kyu levels, you only copy, no freehand. You’re really a beginner student. Shodan kind of says I got the basics, so now I can study the hard stuff. When Sensei gave this to me, I was a bit overwhelmed emotionally. It’s a real milestone. This is in kana, so it’s not a level up for everything Shodo, but it’s still my first dan.

The two pieces below are what I submitted to get the level.


7 thoughts on “Shodan

    1. It feels pretty amazing actually. Makes me feel like you can really do anything if you put the effort into it.

      My daughter got shodan a long time ago actually, lol. She’s 2 dan, pretty awesome.


  1. Showing my ignorance but I am confused by the long tails on some of the characters. I expected all characters to be of the same general size seen in the certificate. What am I missing?


    1. Yeah, there are 2 things. The first is that sometimes the long tail just looks aesthetically pleasing. The second is that the tail is actually another character. The kana that is pronounced “shi” is usually just a long line. And part of calligraphy is letting the words flow together. So the result is that it looks like tails.


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