sci.lang.japan FAQ / 1. Writing / 1.3. Other questions on writing

1.3.9. What are the different styles of Japanese lettering?

Metal kanji for printing
Photo credit: Matt Smith
Used under a Creative Commons licence
In the same way that there are various ways of writing English, both in handwriting and in type, Japanese has many different ways of being written.

There are two main styles of writing Chinese characters,

  1. Handwritten and brush styles, such as kaisho , gyōsho , and sōsho . These originate from China. See Handwritten styles for more about these.
  2. Printed styles, such as Minchō or Goshikku . See Printed styles for more about these.

A variant of traditional Chinese forms is Edomoji (江戸文字), Japanese calligraphic forms created during the Edo period (see 12.6.1. Complete list of Japanese eras).


Thanks to Jeff Schrepfer, Kouji Ueshiba, and seto-san for help with this entry.


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