The Cultural Affairs Council on Monday recommended that the government seek the inscription of shodō Japanese calligraphy on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

In response, the government will submit its proposal to the U.N. body by next March after officially adopting it at a meeting of relevant agencies, sources said.

UNESCO's intergovernmental committee is expected to decide whether to register shodō on the list around November 2026.

Shodō, which literally means "the way of writing," is the art of writing kanji and kana characters with such traditional tools as brushes, ink sticks and ink slabs. After the arrival of kanji from China in ancient times, the wayō Japanese writing style emerged through absorption of Chinese writing styles and techniques, and led to the rise of the waka poetry culture and the development of the kana characters.

The panel concluded that shodō would be suitable to communicate the diversity and depth of Japanese culture to the world.

The council also picked six candidates within three already inscribed intangible heritage groups: washi traditional paper; yama, hoko and yatai float events; and techniques of traditional architectural artisans.

The intergovernmental committee is likely to discuss whether to adopt them at a meeting to be held around November 2025. As for the sake brewing techniques the government has also proposed for inscription, committee discussions on the topic are expected to take place around November 2024.