Jodaiyo (Japanese calligraphy styles of the ancient era) (上代様)

Jodaiyo is a general term for the "Japanese calligraphy school Japanese style" and "kana calligraphy," such as the three great brush traces and ancient calligraphy in the Heian period. It sometimes indicates only the ancient calligraphy (kana calligraphy) in the mid Heian period.


Kanji (Chinese characters) was made into Japanese style by the three great brush traces in the mid Heian period, and at the same time "kana" was also created. This period is called the completing period of the Japanese-style calligraphy and kana calligraphy. After the Kamakura period, many calligraphy schools were formed centered around the Sesonji School, and the Japanese style began to be formalized with it. To distinguish the formalized Japanese style like this and the Japanese style in the completing period, the latter is especially called Jodaiyo, and Shoka (calligrapher) crying out for the restoration as the classics of the Japanese style, later appeared.

The three great brush traces

In the mid Heian period, the three, ONO no Tofu, FUJIWARA no Sukemasa, and FUJIWARA no Yukinari were called the three great brush traces, and they completed to make kanji into Japanese style by Tofu's style of dignified beauty, Sukemasa's style added sense and sharpness of the Japanese, and Yukinari's style of balance and mildness utilizing both features. The calligraphic style of the Sesonji family, with Yukinari as the first head, was called "Sesonji School" later, which was the origin of the Japanese calligraphic style.

The ancient calligraphy

The excellent handwriting of kana calligraphy written from the Heian period to the Kamakura period are especially called the "ancient calligraphy." The ancient calligraphy were originally makimono (scroll) and jo (quire), and they were gradually cut off and stored, then each of them was called "a piece of excellent classical calligraphy."

The main works of so called Jodaiyo, the ancient calligraphy in the completing period:

San-shikishi (three fine articles of Japanese calligraphy), Tsugi-shikishi (a famous Japanese calligraphy)

Koyagire (Fragment from Kokin Waka Shu Poetry Anthology) (First Class, Second Class and Third Class)

Daiji Wakanroei-shu (Collection of Japanese and Chinese Poems)

Katsura-bon Manyoshu (Collection of Ten-Thousand Leaves, Katsura manuscript)

Japanese and Chinese Poems to Sing, Sekito copy

Japanese and Chinese Poems to Sing, the "deccho" binding-style copy

Sanshikishi sunshoan shikishi (Segments from the Poetry-Anthology Kokin Wakashu)

San-shikishi, Masu-zikishi (fine articles of Japanese Calligraphy, Fragment of a poem anthology)

Honami-gire (Manuscript of Kokin Waka Shu)

Sekidobon Kokinshu (Collection of Ancient and Modern)

Hari-gire (Fragment of the Hari Edition of the Collection of Ancient and Modern Japanese Poems)

The Restoration

Nosho (excellent calligraphy) to restore Jodaiyo appeared in each period.

The Imperial Family, from the late Kamakura period to the Northern and Southern Dynasties, produced Nosho of those Emperors Gofukakusa, Fushimi, and Gouda and others from both the Jimyoin line and Daikkakuji line, and the elegant Japanese style to return to the beauty of Jodaiyo continued, and then, it has been called "Japanese calligraphy Imperial-letter style."

In the mid Edo period, Iehiro KONOE endeavored to restore Jodaiyo, and added a fresh breeze to the Japanese style which was gradually losing its class.

In the mid Meiji period, the restoration of the traditional cultural heritage was encouraged and that of Jodaiyo became active, centered around Shinai TADA and Shugyo OGUCHI.

[Original Japanese]