"We have been able to teach this robot to successfully copy the brush strokes of a master of calligraphy," said Seiichiro Katsura, an associate professor of system design engineering at Keio University.
A perfect copy of a work by long-dead artists such as Monet or Picasso is not possible, as the robot needs a living model to imitate, applying the same pressure and making the same gestures, Katsura said.
But the technology could be used in complex surgery or mechanics.
"In Japan, where the population is quickly ageing, there are fears that valuable skills may not be handed down to younger generations," said Katsura.
The robot was on display at Asia's biggest tech fair the Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies (CEATEC) exhibition which opened on Tuesday at Makuhari, near Tokyo.