Messages from the Judges of Kanji Category

Here are messages from the judges of Kanji Category.

honorific titles omitted

Osamu Torinoumi

The 2nd Morisawa Type Design Competition will be held. I am very excited to see what kinds of fonts are presented in the competition. Japanese fonts have great potential. It includes vertically or horizontally positioned fonts, fonts written on paper or displayed electronically or all of them. If fonts remain the same despite the fact that computer technologies for both software and hardware are developed day by day, it is not interesting at all. Typography may significantly change in the next few years. On the one hand, I would like to see fonts that challenge conventional typography; on the other hand, I would like to see perfectly formed traditional fonts. I look forward to seeing fonts that satisfy such desire.


Yasuhito Nagahara

Why do we try to design new fonts in addition to a number of existing fonts? In the foreword of the Kojiki (a Record of Ancient Matters), the complier, Ono Yasumaro, describes the difficulty of conveying the meaning of (spoken) words by written texts in Japanese as follows: “言意並朴 敷文構句 於字即難 已因訓述者 詞不逮心.” It roughly means that “it is difficult to convey the meaning of (spoken) words in written texts. Merely a row of written texts would not reach people”. Even in the present day,  the frustration people felt when they cannot convey their exact feelings by written texts led to the creation of Emoji icons. That may be a reason why we want to create so many fonts. I look forward to seeing new fonts with gestures developed by new technology.


Kenya Hara

Nowadays, we often see fonts created as part of Visual Identity (VI). The elaborate creation of VI, where the foundation of identity is created by developing and utilizing dedicated fonts rather than just making marks and logos serve as core elements, has become increasingly common. I look forward to seeing expressive and well-controlled font designs that can lead such trend.


Taro Yamamoto

In some aspects, typeface design can be considered as a kind of handicraft, as it is an attempt to crystallize one’s senses and interpretation into a font type on the basis of tradition, not only through aesthetic inspiration and engineering technology but also through accumulation of training and experience. On the other hand, it is also necessary to maintain consistency and regularity in design to ensure readability. In this aspect, technical perfection and rational design methods are important. However, if technical perfection and rationality limit the potential possibilities of font types, leading to just another stereotyped “harmony and beauty”, then such techniques and “beauty” need to be viewed with skepticism. I have, in my career, worked over years with both font type designers and typesetters. I look forward to seeing many splendid works that satisfy expected functionality and quality, and at the same time have a unique, original appeal.


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