Japanese calligraphy, shodou, is a specialized art using a brush and black ink to write Japanese characters. It does carry some similarities to western calligraphy, but is considered more of an art form. The reason for this is that each character has a special meaning in and of itself, and because of the great variety of characters available. In western calligraphy one has twenty six characters, in Japanese calligraphy there is about 48,000 characters one may use (though this requires a lifetime of dedication). Japanese calligraphy is not just popular in Japan, but is now find a large audience world wide. Click here to learn more about Japanese writing.