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The Beauty Of Typography: Writing Systems And Calligraphy Of The World - Japanese

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The Beauty Of Typography: Writing Systems And Calligraphy Of The World
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Japanese

A rather different writing system is Japanese, which is syllabic, meaning that each symbol represents (or approximates) a syllable, combining to form words. No full-fledged script for written Japanese existed until the development of Man’yōgana (万葉仮名), an ancient writing system that employs Chinese characters to represent the Japanese language. The Japanese appropriated Kanji (derived from their Chinese readings) for their phonetic value rather than semantic value.

syllabic, meaning that each symbol represen

The modern kana systems, Hiragana and Katakana, are simplifications and systemizations of Man’yōgana. Thus, the modern Japanese writing system uses three main scripts: Kanji, which is used for nouns and stems of adjectives and verbs; Hiragana, which is used for native Japanese words and written in the highly cursive flowing sōsho style; and Katakana, which is used for foreign borrowings and was developed by Buddhist monks as a shorthand. In Japan, cursive script has traditionally been considered suitable for women and was called women’s script (女手 or onnade), while clerical style has been considered suitable for men and was called men’s script (男手 or otokode).

syllabic, meaning that each symbol represen

The three scripts are often mixed single sentences.

syllabic, meaning that each symbol represen

As we can see, the modern kana systems are simplifications of Man’yōgana. It is interesting to see how they have been simplified.

syllabic, meaning that each symbol represen



Last Updated on Saturday, 14 August 2010 17:24