Japanese Writing Styles
Japanese calligraphy (
, literally “the way of writing”) has been done forcenturies.
e styles of writing currently in use include many of the traditional styles, as well assome newer styles that have evolved as a result of combined in
uence from the Western worldand from traditional Japanese writing.Today, most books are printed in a
typefaces are the Japanese counterpart of the Western serif typefaces, like the one in which this text isprinted.
ey are easily identi
ed by their thicker verticalstrokes and thinner horizontal strokes. Many strokes end withli
le tips that resemble triangles or diamonds (see the ends of the horizontal strokes that cross the vertical bar in the secondhalf of “minch
, literally “
sh scales”).Another popular choice formodern Japanese printing that isusually used for shorter texts andheadlines is
,from English “gothic”), o
en simply called “gothic”. Japanesegothic typefaces are modeled a
er Western sans-serif typefaces.
e date at the top-right of this paper is in a gothic typeface.
e name originated from the use of the word “gothic” in the name of some sans-serif typefaces (for example, Franklin Gothic andCentury Gothic).
ere are two kinds of gothic typeface, known as
,“square gothic”). In this kind of gothic typeface, the strokes have plain,
e other kindis
, “round gothic”). In this kind of gothic, the strokes have roundedends.
e Japanese text that appears in the captions is set in a gothic typeface.
e other kinds of Japanese writing are traditional styles. One such style is
,“proper writing”). A heavy, or bold, kaisho typeface, is used for the Japanese title at the top of this page.
is style is o
en used in schoolbooks in Japan. Itcan be used in places where minch
would normally be used(such as in a newspaper or on a menu) to give the text adi
erent look. Kaisho text may be wri
en by hand on a scrolland hung on a wall as a decoration. Poems or wordsappropriate to the season are o
en chosen to be wri
en onhanging scrolls.
e Japanese text set inline with the text of thisdocument, like the word “uroko” (earlier, in the minch
section) is set in another kaisho typeface, to make it easy to
e Japanese word “
)set in a minch
e Japanese word for a round gothic(maru goshikku) set in a round gothic
e Japanese word for square gothic(kaku goshikku) in a square gothic
e Japanese word “
” (kaisho)set in a kaisho typeface