Moji Salvage 18


The latest in a series of visual excerpts from the out-of-print book 和英文字レタリング (Japanese and English Lettering) by Tsunetoshi Hurusawa (古沢恒敏), a collection of assorted lettering styles culled from history.

Originally published in 1978, the book is a great study of lettering used by typical “fancy”/ファンシー businesses — mainly cafés, “snack bars”, cake shops, and assorted 1950s-1990s service-oriented businesses. A number of the lettering styles within the book became the blueprints for these types of businesses’ lettering.

『和英文字レタリング』 is a great compendium of work that helps explain much of the Tokyo letterscape of recent history. This visual series will continue in weekly installments.

October 1, 2009

Ian Lynam is a graphic designer living in Tokyo and the art director of Neojaponisme. His website is located at His new book, Parallel Strokes, on the intersection of graffiti and typography is available now.

7 Responses

  1. Leonardo Boiko Says:

    The one on the right feels totally like something from néojaponisme (just add some red). Ian should make a computer font out of it.

  2. Marcos Fernandes Says:

    fascinating. there was always something a bit “odd” about japanese fonts. looking forward to find out more.

  3. bendall Says:

    This one is weird man – two Fs??! And if O gets two, why does Q get three? Plus lower case q is all different and shit?

  4. Shii Says:

    One on the left could be at the entrance to some shitty little cafe that hasn’t redesigned since the 1980s.

  5. Ian Says:

    Hence the post. This more interesting than the use of 99% of digitized typefaces used for new signage.

  6. Shii Says:

    Oh, absolutely, it brings back fond memories of Kyoto.

  7. Leonardo Boiko Says:

    I’m envious of whoever is old enough to have fond memories of this.