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I have a large selection of Japanese fonts suitable for most purposes. If you are looking for a particular style of Japanese lettering, please take a look through my guide to Japanese typefaces (PDF file). This introduces the main categories of Japanese typefaces, although I have several more besides the ones shown in this document. I also have Japanese word processing software that supports common Japanese features such as the following:

An example of ruby applied to vertical (tategaki) text


The same paragraph before (top) and after (bottom) applying kinsoku shori. The upper paragraph begins one line with a full stop and ends the next line with an opening quotation mark.

Ruby (ルビ; rubi): Small phonetic characters that are sometimes used to indicate the pronunciation of unusual kanji. The word “ruby” is actually of English origin — an old printer’s term used to describe the small type used for this purpose. Also known as furigana.

Vertical text (縦書き; tategaki): Although these days it is common to find Japanese documents written according to the Western convention of left-to-right and top-to-bottom (called 横書き; yokogaki), the traditional top-to-bottom and right-to-left tategaki style is still widely used, especially in novels and newspapers. When writing in this way, it is important to adjust the positioning of punctuation marks, ruby characters, etc.

Line breaking rules (禁則処理; kinsoku shori): In European languages, lines of text can be broken at the spaces between words. Written Japanese has no spaces between words, and can instead be broken between any two adjacent characters. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule — some characters cannot appear at the beginning of a line (e.g., a full stop or comma), and others cannot appear at the end of a line (e.g., an opening bracket or opening quotation mark).

Breaking repeated characters (繰り返し文字の処理; kurikaeshi moji no shori): There are many Japanese words formed by repeating a single kanji character for emphasis or pluralization, such as 時々 (toki-doki; “sometimes”), 益々 (masu-masu; “increasingly”), and 我々 (ware-ware; “we; us”). Usually, the second of the two characters is represented by a repetition mark (々). But if a line break occurs between the two characters, it is customary to repeat the first character instead of using a repetition mark (e.g., 時時 instead of 時々).


I can deliver finished works electronically in vector and bitmap formats such as EPS and TIFF files, or by post as camera-ready copies. If you would like to discuss your project, please visit my contact page and tell me about your requirements.

Japanese Fonts

A brief introduction to the styles of Japanese font that are available, and how they can be mixed with Western fonts.

Header image: Dusk falls over the harbour at Takamatsu (高松市), as seen from the top floor of the 30-storey Symbol Tower. Photo: Frank Gualtieri.

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