The taste that characterizes Japanese art forms are simplicity and elegance. Calligraphy, flower arrangement, and tea ceremony are the most popular when it comes to aesthetic accomplishments. This aesthetic relates to the twin ideals of wabi or cultivated simplicity and sabi or the celebration of the old. Thus, Japanese art forms reflect Japan’s culture of being simple, and having discipline and refinement. In addition, some of these art forms were done for nobility. For instance, in the tea ceremony, the tea serves to welcome noble people.
Shodō, or the way of writing, is one of the Japanese art forms. It is a way or art of writing with beauty and precision. Children learn this in elementary school, and adults do it as a popular hobby. Japanese calligraphy puts importance on the order of each stroke in a character and emphasis on beauty and balance. A brush dipped in ink is used to create letters and symbols. This skill takes a lot of training, and they pass this tradition down to every generation.
There are three styles that are mostly used in Japanese calligraphy. Kaisho, the standard “block style,” follows a strict order that has to be exact in every proportion. Gyosho, the “running hand style,” has creative flexibility and it is what artists prefer. Sosho is the complicated “grass hand style,” in which the brush flows and stays on the paper.
Ikebana, or the Japanese art of flower arranging, aims to express a flower’s every emotion and most natural beauty. Compared to the western style of simply adding flowers and decorations in a vase, the Japanese way is different. Ikebana is usually simplistic, and the inner quality of each flower and other live materials are given importance. It is as an offering consisting of three main stems put together at the base. These three stems represent the harmony between heaven, man, and earth, rising as one.
The Japanese tea ceremony goes by various names. Chadō or sadō, meaning the way of tea, and chanoyu, meaning hot water for tea. This is a ritual that takes time to prepare and has its own special place, procedure, and equipment. The act of preparing the green tea used in the ceremony is an art that also requires training, like shodō. Tea-drinking in Japan is one of the Japanese art forms from the 13th century Common Era (CE). This became traditional, because the Aristocrats adopted this to show their culture.
The traditional Japanese art forms are a source of inspiration for artists around the world. Everyone admires the beauty of their uncomplicated yet elegant art. Each art form displays a characteristic that reflects certain qualities of their culture. Firstly, shodō shows discipline, the precision and order in each character. Secondly, ikebana shows the beauty of simplicity each living material holds. Lastly, sadō shows the gracefulness of preparing and consuming green tea, away from the mundane and having a beautiful garden surrounds you.