Professor William Reed Releases New Book

Song of the Brush, Dance of the Ink: The Path to Self-Discovery Through Japanese Calligraphy
William Reed stands beside his shodo work at a gallery

Japan Studies Professor and professional calligrapher William Reed celebrates the release of his latest book, Song of the Brush, Dance of the Ink: The Path to Self-Discovery Through Japanese Calligraphy. Reed holds 10th-dan in Shodo, the highest possible rank in Japanese Calligraphy. He has received numerous awards internationally for his works, regularly exhibits in galleries, and is the Vice-Chairman and Professor of the Japan Calligraphy Education Association. Professor William Reed teaches the course Calligraphy and Kanji Culture at iCLA.

William Reed’s new book details his own journey in Shodo, which began nearly 50 years ago.

Song of the Brush, Dance of the Ink: The Path to Self-Discovery Through Japanese Calligraphy brings the traditions of Japanese calligraphy (known in Japanese as Shodo) into a contemporary context and not only sheds light on the benefits of calligraphy for the mind and body, but also opens the path to mastery. It bridges the gap between the world and Shodo, which has been often perceived as inaccessible due to language and cultural barriers. The book teaches readers how to practice Japanese calligraphy and use it as a discipline for self-mastery and self-expression.

This book introduces people to the best parts of Calligraphy that I have discovered over 50 years of practice. But it doesn’t stop there! From the moment the book went to press, I continue to discover new applications, collaborations, and connections that I share with students in my class Calligraphy and Kanji Culture. We are exploring how Calligraphy works so well with Music and why, measuring deep levels of mindfulness and focus while painting calligraphy using special AI tools, and discovering shortcuts to mastery that produce striking improvements within the first 2 or 3 months of the semester. 

A book should never stop on publication. That is actually the starting line! Since the book has come out I have created a Song of the Brush Newsletter, Facebook Group, a monthly net cast called Calligraphy and Conversation, have been featured on Podcast Interviews, and have expanded into doing commissioned calligraphy for shrines and temples, as well as collaborations with professional musicians. As an art form Calligraphy has a lot in common with playing a musical instrument, and it fits many genres of music from Jazz to Latin to Classical. Shodo is the Way of the Brush, and it is in following that Path of Mastery that you also discover yourself.

Professor William Reed

William Reed’s Faculty Profile
Samurai Walk