Calligraphy, also known as the art of beautiful writing, had for a very long time been held in extremely high regard, studied in great depth, and avidly collected. The writing of Chinese ideograms (kanji) in a broad variety of forms was inherited from the Chinese intellectual heritage.
These styles range from virtually unintelligible grass-style writing to geometric abstractions at the opposite end of the spectrum. There are well-known practitioners of each of these techniques active in modern Japan who have honed their abilities over the course of their whole lives. The most common method is known as kana, and it refers to the Japanese syllabary. Using kana allows one to represent ideograms as well as phonetic sounds in predetermined phrases.
This kind of writing may be done in a variety of ways, including with fine, delicate strokes or big, splashy ones; carefully controlled or uncontrolled freedom; on a scale ranging from vast to minuscule; and with carefully regulated or uninhibited freedom. The kana group is where one would often find traditional Japanese poetry, whereas a group all to itself is where one will find contemporary Japanese poetry. In its canonical texts, known as koans, Zen Buddhism encouraged a more impromptu, stream-of-consciousness style of writing that sometimes included the incorporation of visual elements.
Several artists have employed calligraphy in the style of contemporary abstract painting since it lends itself so well to this kind of art; the Bokusho abstract school has generated some exceptional masters using this type of calligraphy. Not only are calligraphers highly regarded for their expertise and academic knowledge, but also for their ability to achieve a high spiritual level.
This allows them to enter a state of meditative calm, which is believed to be essential for producing really creative brushwork. Even people who are unable to read the script, which is not uncommon given that some of it are very close to being abstract, people value the writing of well-known people in various fields, such as politics or the military. Calligraphy is a popular collectible that fetches exorbitant prices. Writing by well-known persons in various fields is also treasured.