Shodo (Daigaku-ryo) (書道 (大学寮))

Shodo was the study of calligraphy under the Daigaku-ryo (Bureau of Education) of Japan's Ritsuryo system (a system of centralized government based on the ritsuryo code).

It was thought that shosei (students who were given room and board in exchange for performing domestic duties) were taught by sho hakase (professors of calligraphy) but despite the fact that there were regulations regarding shosei in education laws, there were no regulations regarding the fixed number of shosei written within the shikiinryo (law which stipulates duties of the ministries) which fixed number of students, and they are thought to have been few in number (an entry in "Shoku Nihongi" (Chronicle of Japan Continued) for December 758 contains an article stating raw silk thread was awarded to shosei by Emperor Junnin, so it was not the case that there were not any shosei at all.)
It appears that the superiority of a shosei's calligraphy would be judged based on its quality, that the curriculum was simpler than the system of Tang Dynasty China which demanded knowledge of disciplines such as "Shuowen Jiezi" and the formation of characters, and that students who passed examinations were placed in clerical government posts such as that of naiki (secretary of the Ministry of Central Affairs). It also appears to be the case that the main duty of sho hakase was to teach calligraphy (which later became myogyo-do (the study of Confucian classics)) to students.

In the Heian period, the position of sho hakase became monopolized by the Saeki clan of Tado District, Sanuki Province but as demonstrated by the fact that Jichie, who is thought to have been the first To-ji choja (the chief abbot of To-ji Temple), studied Confucianism under SAEKI no Sakemaro, sho hakase (although Jichie himself was of the Saeki clan. Jichie's master Kukai, one of the three famous ancient calligraphers of ancient Japan, was also of the same clan), they took on the role of myogyo-do teachers and Sakemaro's son SAEKI no Toyoo also held the position of engraving official seals (regulations under the "Engishiki" (codes and procedures on national rites and prayers) Department of State codes and Ministry of Central Affairs codes) following the statement that 'owing to his fine seal engraving, he was made a member of the Tengaku Kan' ("Nihon Sandai Jitsuroku" (sixth of the six classical Japanese history texts), December 20, 861). In the 11th century, the position of sho hakase became a standby post (a post to which clan members were temporarily appointed until a myogyo-do position became available) for members of the Kiyohara clan and Nakahara clan which inherited the position of Myogyo hakase (Professor of Confucian classics), and it is though that shodo completely disappeared as an area of study.

[Original Japanese]