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Carrying on: Kanji Graphy and Hanzi Graphy

Hanzi Graphy focuses on the history, architecture, and physical characteristics of Chinese characters while establishing a common set of vocabulary. Kanji Graphy takes it further and tells the story of how Chinese characters settled in Japan and became the root for a hybrid writing system. The book is divided into two sections. In the first half, the four scripts of the hybrid writing system are explained in detail. The second half is dedicated to typographic applications. Although these two books were published, the journey of this research is still ongoing. One topic that has yet to be done is analyzing the readability and legibility according to the different systems Latin letters, Kanji, Hiragana, and Katakana. Japanese typography has more than one design option. The choice between horizontal line setting and the vertical typesetting is not just an aesthetic one; it will influence the flow of reading, as well. These two systems of typesetting often appear in one publication and on one page. For this new term of research, Mariko Takagi aims to connect my studies of typography with insights from semiotics and cognitive science. As done in the Hanzi Graphy and Kanji Graphy project, Takagi will use visuals to support the accessibility and readability of information.


Mariko Takagi

Associate Professor Doshisha Women's College of Liberal Arts

Mariko Takagi is a German-Japanese typographer, an author, and designer of books and an educator. She acts as an intermediary between the Western and Japanese cultures in general—and between Latin letters and Japanese/Chinese characters in particular. Takagi spent six years in Hong Kong, where she worked as an assistant professor in the academy of visual arts at Hong Kong Baptist University. In April 2017, Takagi moved to Kyoto to continue her work as an associate professor and researcher at Doshisha Women’s College of Liberal Arts.