Japanese calligraphy has three basic styles: kaisho, gyousho and sousho. Kana is sometimes considered a fourth style. Kaisho, a block style with few movements, is also known as shinsho. Gyousho is a median style that is not as stiff as kaisho or as sweeping as sousho. Sousho is a flowing style composed with swift strokes. Its fee movement and beauty has made sousho the most popular style with calligraphy masters.
Kana, mentioned above as a possible fourth style, developed from the more radical forms of sousho. Kana, being the main script of Heian women, became known as onnade (women's script). Waka poetry's growth helped to popularize kana. Kana, if compared to the bold Chinese calligraphy, is elegant and refined. Japanese calligraphy is given merit not only for its style, beauty, and meaning, but also for the character of the calligrapher.