For kanji calligraphy, you will need a large brush. After some practice, those who wish to move on to kana calligraphy will need a small brush. Please note that Japanese small brushes, used for kana, are not the same as Chinese small brushes, used for small kanji.
Japanese calligraphy is usually practiced on thin and light Japanese paper. Because the fibres are very long, Japanese paper is absorbent and resistant to tearing and folding. Poor quality paper resists the ink, or absorbs it too much, so even beginners should use good paper. More advanced practitioners use different papers for different types of writing, including extra fine paper for kana calligraphy.
Traditional calligraphy ink comes from charcoal and is produced as a solid stick, which is then ground with water on an inkstone to make ink each time you practice. However Yukiko finds the atmosphere here in the UK dryer than at home, so she advises her students to feel free to use liquid ink. Many of her students still prefer the ritual of grinding ink before each practice, to create a calm state of mind for writing.
Inkstones come in many shapes, sizes and materials, but are usually a type of stone which is smooth, but just rough enough to grind the ink stick into a very fine, consistent black ink. Those who primarily use bottled ink sometimes prefer a small dish.
The shitajiki cloth holds your paper still, and responds to your brush to help you draw a good line. The difference between a good quality shitajiki and a cheap one is very noticeable!
The bunchin paperweight holds your very thin, light Japanese paper down without obstructing your view or your brush. Bunchinare available in many sizes and styles, from beautiful handcrafted objects to fun and inexpensive little objects.