10 Best Japanese Calligraphy Pens and Brush Pens 2023 | Create Beautiful Scripts

by Erika Shinomoto
best Japanese calligraphy and brush pens

It takes a lot of practice to use calligraphy and brush pens the right way. So here are the best Japanese calligraphy pens and brush pens for you to master your calligraphic strokes and create beautiful scripts! 

Calligraphy pens and brush pens are extremely popular in Japan, and they have been for centuries. Working with calligraphy pens and brush pens require unbiased focus and concentration; it is a relaxing activity that takes you to a zen mode. But you cannot just take any pen; you need the best Japanese calligraphy pensnand brush pens to help you master this traditional Japanese art to perfection. 

I recently started practicing calligraphy and totally loving it! You need pens that thicken on even the slightest pressure, but can also be used for fine lines.

The pens should also easily shift from dark to light and back again. So here are some of the best Japanese calligraphy pens and brush pens I’ve curated so you can have the right start as well! 

Best Japanese Calligraphy Pens and Brush Pens — Quick Summary

Best Japanese Calligraphy and Brush PensBest For 
Akashiya Sai watercolor Brush PensIllustrations, Drawings
Kuretake Pocket Brush PenBeginners
Japan Bargain Ink Prefiled Calligraphy PenAsian Calligraphy
Sumi Brush PenCalligraphists
Magic Rewritable Calligraphy penBeginners
NUOLUX Sumi Calligraphy Brush PenWriting and painting 
Goat and Wolf Brush SetExperienced Calligraphists
Lang Hao Japanese Calligraphy Pen SetMid-level Calligraphists 
Pentel Fude Brush PenBeginners
Kuretake Bimoji Felt Tip Brush Pen With Special GripManga

Best Japanese Calligraphy Pens And Brush Pens

#1 — Akashiya Sai Watercolor Brush Pens

Best Japanese Calligraphy Brush Pen For Illustrations

Most of the Japanese brush pens are made using blank ink and are used for decorative writing, however, that does not mean you cannot use some colors.

This set from Akashiya is one of the best brush pens you can get; these pens are versatile and are great in terms of quality. It has a soft brush tip and is perfect for drawing manga, coloring, illustrations, comics, etc. 

With a Japanese calligraphy brush pen, you should be able to draw or write a letter or sign your name. This multi-color brush pen set is perfect for these purposes; they let you draw, write, and sign, all flawlessly. The bristles are perfectly designed and have slim handles.

pentel brush pen

#2 — Kuretake Pocket Brush Pen

Best Japanese Calligraphy Brush Pen For Beginners

I love brush pens that I can carry with me in my pocket, which is why I love this beautiful pocket-size Japanese calligraphy brush pen by Kuretake. It is short, tiny, and can easily slip inside my pocket. It has a fine tip, but you only need to add a tiny amount of pressure to make strokes up to 1.5 mm wide. The pen can be gift-wrapped when you order it. It is a great pen to give as a gift for somebody who loves artistic strokes.

best japanese calligraphy brushes

Related: Prefer doodling instead? Here are best Japanese gel pens perfect for drawing, doodling, or simply writing!

#3 — JapanBargain Ink Prefiled Calligraphy Pen

Best Japanese Calligraphy Pen For Asian Calligraphy

The pen is made and meant for Japanese calligraphy writing. It already comes with black ink prefilled and is designed like your regular pens for easy use. You can easily carry this pen around with you and practice those perfect calligraphy strokes wherever and whenever. The tip of the brush is layered to allow you to make strokes of different widths, just like you do in calligraphy. 

Because it looks like a standard pen, it is easy to hold and so, is perfect for somebody who is just beginning his or her calligraphy journey. You can comfortably practice your strokes with this pen.Definitely one of the best calligraphy and brush pens! 

liibot watercolor brush marker pens

#4 — Sumi Calligraphy Brush Pen

Best Japanese Calligraphy Brush Pen With Nylon Tip

This Sumi brush pen can replicate the strokes of a traditional Japanese brush. The brush has a nylon tip that is designed in such a way that it imitates the strokes of an authentic Japanese calligraphy brush to perfection.

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The brush is portable; you can carry it around with you in your bag and begin your calligraphy practice wherever you are. The ink is also refillable. It comes with three refills so you do not have to worry about it getting over. You can use this as a calligraphy brush or as a typical fountain pen. If you’ve already got a hang of calligraphy and are looking to take your skill to the next level, this is one of the best calligraphy and brush pens for you! 

kuretake brush pen

Related: Looking to gift someone? Check out the best Japanese gifts!

#5 — Magic Rewritable Calligraphy Pen

Best Japanese Calligraphy Pen For Beginners

True Buddhist calligraphy masters only get one shot to get the calligraphy right; there are no rooms for any mistake. But unlike them, you are allowed to cheat and start over, again and again. And for that purpose, nothing is better than this magic rewritable calligraphy pen. 

It does not use ink. You just need water and the writing fabric that comes with the set. It is the perfect practicing set for beginners who are not yet confident about their calligraphy skills.

When you use water to write on the fabric, it looks just like ink but vanishes in a couple of minutes, giving you a plain palette to start over. The set comes with three brushes, rack for them, water dish, and the fabric.

Before you indulge in calligraphy brushes, this is a good place to start. If you’ve just started working on your calligraphy skill, this is one of the best Japanese calligraphy and brush pens you could get for yourself! 

fude brush pen

#6 — NUOLUX Sumi Calligraphy Brush Set

Authentic Japanese Calligraphy Brush Set 

Here’s another one of the best Japanese calligraphy and brush pens you should give a try. The calligraphy brush set from NUOLUX looks authentic. It also uses wolf hair for the brushes, just how it is supposed to be. The brushes have super long handles, just the way they are with authentic brushes. These pens are used both for writing and painting. You will need to get ink and paper to begin with. Now, this is where you can go truly authentic by buying an ink stone and grinding bowl or you can simply get a jug of ink. 

tombow 61500 twintone marker set.

#7 — Goat And Wolf Hair Brush Set

Best Japanese Calligraphy Brushes

These brushes are beautiful and authentic and are made with real goat and wolf hair. There are three different sizes in the set. The brushes swell when you dip in the water, which shows just how absorbent they are. This is a great feature to have in calligraphy writing brushes. 

The wooden handles are stylish and long; they have been designed to give you maximum comfort. You can practice calligraphy for hours using these pens and not worry about getting hand cramps. These pens have modern designs but have features of those authentic Japanese calligraphy pens. You will have to buy your own ink and paper. Again, you can take the long, authentic route or cheat on the ink.

tombow brush pens

I recommend having one of these best Japanese calligraphy and brush pens set in your collection!

#8 — Lang Hao Japanese Calligraphy Pen Set

Best Japanese Calligraphy Pen For Calligraphists 

This calligraphy set works as a great gifting option; a lover of calligraphy will love this beautiful set that comes in a gorgeous box. The brushes are made with real wolf hair, just how traditional Japanese calligraphy pens are supposed to be made. The deal about using wolf hair is that it prevents the ink from dripping and is super absorbent. It basically saves your ink from being wasted. The pens are versatile, with each brush head designed to produce a different brush stroke. 

japanese calligraphy brush

This is one of the best Japanese calligraphy and brush pens to give as a gift to a calligraphist! 

#9 — Pentel Fude Brush Pen

Best Japanese Calligraphy Fude Brush For Beginners

This is yet another Japanese brush pen that you can carry around with you. You can use this pen all the time, anywhere you want. The tip of the pen is fine, so it barely looks like a brush. This, however, has a benefit. You do not have to reserve the pen specifically for calligraphy; you can use it for everyday purposes too. 

The body of the pen is designed like typical ball point pens, which makes it comfortable to hold and write with. This is great for beginners who are just beginning the journey and cannot handle thin, long handles yet. This is another one of the best Japanese calligraphy and brush pens for beginners!

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japanese calligraphy brush pen

#10 — Kuretake Bimoji Felt Tip Brush Pen with Special Grip

Best Japanese Calligraphy Brush With Felt Tip 

The Bimoji brush pen is specifically made for Manga-style Japanese calligraphy writing. The brush head of the pen is medium-thick, which allows you to make solid strokes. The tip is made of felt, but the strokes created by it make it seem like you are using genuine animal hair to make your brush strokes. It’s definitely one of the most affordable and best calligraphy and brush pens I’ve used. 

The pen contains water-based ink, which causes a downside as you cannot refill it after it gets over. But the ink is also helpful in making the calligraphy strokes look genuine and authentic. 

japanese calligraphy fountain pen

Is Japanese calligraphy expensive?

The cost of Japanese calligraphy can vary depending on several factors. Here are some factors that can influence the price:

  • Artist’s Reputation and Skill Level: Calligraphy created by well-known and highly skilled artists tends to be more expensive due to their expertise and reputation in the field.
  • Complexity and Size of the Artwork: Intricate and larger calligraphy pieces often require more time and effort, resulting in higher prices compared to smaller and simpler works.
  • Materials Used: The cost of calligraphy materials such as brushes, ink, and paper can contribute to the overall price. High-quality materials may be more expensive, particularly if they are traditional or rare.
  • Customization and Personalization: If you request a personalized calligraphy piece, such as having your name or a specific message written, the cost may be higher due to the additional time and effort required.
  • Market Demand: Prices can also be influenced by supply and demand dynamics. If a particular artist or style is highly sought after, the prices may be higher.

It’s important to note that Japanese calligraphy encompasses a wide range of styles and artists, so prices can vary significantly. Some calligraphy pieces can be relatively affordable, while others can be quite expensive, especially if they are created by renowned artists.

Ultimately, the cost will depend on your preferences, budget, and the specific artwork you are interested in acquiring.

What is Japanese calligraphy called?

Japanese calligraphy is known as “Shodo” in Japanese. The term “Shodo” consists of two kanji characters: “Sho” (書) meaning “to write” or “writing” and “Do” (道) meaning “the way” or “path.” 

Therefore, Shodo can be translated as “the way of writing” or “the path of calligraphy.” It is a traditional art form that involves the skilled and artistic writing of Japanese characters using a brush and ink on paper or other suitable surfaces.

What are the rules of Japanese calligraphy?

Japanese calligraphy follows certain rules and principles to achieve aesthetic harmony and balance in the artwork. Here are some key rules and concepts:

  • Brush Grip: The brush should be held with a loose and relaxed grip, allowing for smooth and controlled movements
  • Posture: Maintaining proper posture is important. The calligrapher should sit upright, with a stable and grounded position.
  • Stroke Order: Each stroke in a character has a specific order and direction. Calligraphers must follow the stroke order to maintain the traditional and harmonious flow of the characters.
  • Brush Techniques: Various brush techniques are employed to create different effects. These techniques include thick and thin lines, dotting, flicking, and variations in pressure.
  • Balance and Proportions: Achieving balance and proper proportions between the different elements of the characters is crucial. This includes the size and positioning of strokes, as well as the spacing between characters.
  • Speed and Rhythm: The rhythm and speed of writing influence the overall aesthetic of the calligraphy. It should be balanced, flowing, and harmonious.
  • Ink Control: Mastering the control of ink flow is essential. The amount of ink on the brush should be appropriate to create consistent lines and avoid excessive smudging or blotting.
  • Empty Space: The effective use of empty space, known as “ma” in Japanese aesthetics, is important in calligraphy. Leaving appropriate spaces between characters and strokes adds elegance and balance to the artwork.
  • Individual Style: While following the traditional rules, calligraphers also strive to develop their own unique style and artistic expression within the framework of Japanese calligraphy.

It’s worth noting that these rules are guidelines and principles followed in traditional Japanese calligraphy. However, contemporary calligraphers may also explore innovative styles and techniques while still respecting the fundamental principles.

Is Japanese calligraphy hard?

Japanese calligraphy can be challenging, especially when aiming to master the art form and achieve a high level of skill. Here are a few reasons why Japanese calligraphy can be considered challenging:

  • Stroke Precision: Japanese calligraphy requires precise control over brush strokes. Each stroke has a specific order, direction, and thickness that must be followed to create balanced and harmonious characters.
  • Brush Control: Achieving consistent ink flow and mastering brush control can be difficult. It takes practice to control the pressure, angle, and speed of the brush to create various line thicknesses and achieve the desired artistic effect.
  • Character Complexity: Japanese characters, known as kanji, can be complex and composed of several individual strokes. Memorizing and reproducing the correct stroke order and structure of numerous characters can be challenging.
  • Aesthetic Sensibility: Japanese calligraphy places great importance on aesthetic principles such as balance, rhythm, and proportion. Developing an eye for these elements and creating visually pleasing compositions requires time and practice.
  • Patience and Perseverance: Like any skill, mastering Japanese calligraphy takes time and patience. It requires consistent practice, attention to detail, and a willingness to learn from mistakes and refine techniques.
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While Japanese calligraphy can be challenging, it is also a deeply rewarding and expressive art form. With dedication, practice, and guidance, individuals can gradually improve their skills and appreciate the beauty of this traditional art. It’s important to approach it with an open mind, a willingness to learn, and an understanding that progress comes with time and effort.

How to choose calligraphy and brush pens?

  • The Nibs

Mastering the art of calligraphy takes years of practice but choosing the best calligraphy pens is quite the challenge too. The first factor you should carefully pay attention to is the type of nibs. There are two main nibs in calligraphy pens such as Flex nibs and Italic nibs.

The Flex nibs have a round shape and consist of two tines. The tines split while writing or designing and the more they split the wider the lines would be. 

If you prefer wider lines then make sure to apply pressure while writing as the tines would separate and the final result would be a clear calligraphy design.

Meanwhile, Italic nibs are firm and have a blunt edge tip. Most calligraphers use Italic nibs for writing Italic and Gothic styles. If you’re interested in Gothic calligraphy then make sure to get a calligraphy pen that has an Italic nib.

  • Types of calligraphy pens

The main types of calligraphy pens are traditional calligraphy pens and cartridge-filled pens. Traditional calligraphy pens are very expensive and might not be suitable for beginners as they make the letters look wider. If you are a beginner then cartridge-filled pens are the right choice for you.

They are convenient to practice with and also produce clear-cut letters. After reaching the professional stage you can opt to use a traditional calligraphy pen.

  • Brush Pens/ Felt Pens

Brush Pens are mostly used by professionals in calligraphy. The reason why most calligraphers choose to write with brush pens is due to its flexibility.

They are easy to write with and swift without any hassle. When choosing a brush pen pay heed to the hair. Most brush pens are made out of synthetic or animal hair.

However, brushes that contain animal hair are smooth and they let you write, draw or design flawlessly.

Certainly felt pens are also ideal for calligraphy writing and they are very user-friendly. They are quite affordable than calligraphy brushes and aren’t prone to any leakages.

Tips on how to hold and write with calligraphy and brush pens

#1 — Hold the pen like you would a brush, with the end facing up

The key to getting the perfect strokes is to hold the pen with the end facing up. Doing this makes it easier for you to control the thickness of your strokes. You must lightly grasp the pen and hold it gently. You can get good strokes if you apply too much force and pressure. To provide ease to your hand and arm, you must remember to keep your posture straight.

#2 — Control the thickness

Do you want to make your work look like traditional Japanese calligraphy? You must learn how to control and flow smoothly between thick and thin strokes. 

If you want thin lines, only touch the tip of the brush to the paper. If you are unable to get fine lines, you are probably writing with too much angle or force; you need to relax your hand and softly touch the paper. 

For thick lines, push the entire length of the tip against the page. Doing this increases the area touched by the brush, and it naturally results in thicker lines.

#3 — Practice

You do not rush with something so zen and relaxing as calligraphy. If you think you cannot get the hang of calligraphy writing, slow down. You cannot turn into a calligraphy master right at the beginning of your journey. It takes a lot of practice to perfect this soulful art. All you have to do is keep practicing.

Ready to draw out those perfect letters?

These were some of the best Japanese calligraphy and brush pens that you can get to start your journey of calligraphy writing. I hope you found something that suits your needs. Happy Zen time to you!

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Best Japanese Calligraphy and Brush Pens
best Japanese calligraphy and brush pens

Here are the Best Japanese Calligraphy and Brush Pens for you to try!000

Product SKU: 009584KIJ985

Product Brand: Pentel Fude Brush Pen

Product Currency: USD

Product Price: 6.74

Price Valid Until: 2021

Product In-Stock: InStock

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