Kanji are ideographs and pictographs used in written Japanese. Inscriptions are oriented vertically and read top to bottom. Chinese and Japanese calligraphy is usually performed with brush and ink and when done well, owe their startling emotional power to the expressive potential of that media. Working in wood with a flat burning stylus is much more restrictive in that the wood grain influences the the path and burn of the stylus. A computer driven laser is capable of imitating brush calligraphy but then, the expressions are reduced to mere fonts. We've avoided the tech solution and still make inscriptions by hand. They look a bit primitive in comparison to brush calligraphy but hopefully are still appreciated! Translations are based on the outstanding "Japanese Martial Arts Character Dictionary" by Thomas R. Jenkins.