sci.lang.japan FAQ / 1. Writing / 1.3. Other questions on writing / 1.3.9. What are the different styles of Japanese lettering?

1.3.9.4. Edomoji (江戸文字)

A chouchin
Photo credit: Stardog Champion (real name unknown)
Used under a Creative Commons licence

This general term covers many Japanese lettering styles which were invented mostly for advertising purposes in the Edo period. For example,

Kanteiryū

Kanteiryū (勘亭流)

Image: ../images/kanji-fonts/kanteiryuu_small.jpg
This style is strongly associated with arts like kabuki and rakugo.

Yosemoji

Yosemoji (寄席文字)

Image: ../images/kanji-fonts/yosemoji_small.jpg
The name yosemoji literally means "letters to draw in customers".

Kagomoji

Kagomoji (篭文字)

This name literally means "cage letters". The font is thick and square in shape.

Higemoji

Higemoji (髭文字)
Image: ../images/kanji-fonts/higemoji_small.jpg

These characters have little "whiskers" on them.

Sumō moji

Sumō moji (相撲文字)

Image: ../images/kanji-fonts/sumoumoji_small.jpg
This style is the one used for sumo wrestling posters.

Chōchin moji

Chōchin moji (提灯文字)

These characters are the ones used on chouchin, hanging paper lanterns, such as the ones you might see outside a yakitori stand in Japan.

Kakuji

Kakuji (角字)

This very heavy, rectangular style is used for making seals.


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