Thousands take part in New Year calligraphy contest in Tokyo

More than 3000 people aged from three to 89 wrote down characters at the Nippon Budokan following Japan's new year tradition of Kaikizome (literally 'first writings').

Competitors, some of whom were assigned characters depending on their age and level, were required to finish writing on two pieces of paper within the allotted 24 minutes.

Calligraphy is a widely practised and revered art in many parts of Asia. The act of tracing characters is believed to sharpen the mind and improve concentration.