Letterform Archive – Untangling Japanese Type


Untangling Japanese Type

Untangling Japanese Type
with Toshi Omagari

Co-presented by Book Arts & Special Collections, San Francisco Public Library
Online Lecture at Letterform Archive
Tue, Mar 29, 2022
12:00pm–1:30pm PT

Japan is home to one of the most curious writing systems, one that is in fact made of three writing systems ;  four, if you count Latin. Its complexity has been preserved and supported relatively well in the modern era, leading to a type community large enough to call an industry. Despite fair technical support of the language on digital platforms, practical knowledge of Japanese typography and especially typeface design is not widely known outside of Japan.

In this talk, Toshi Omagari will explore the world of Japanese type, encourage others to try Japanese lettering, and discuss how to better execute and evaluate Japanese typography.

This and all Letterform Lectures are a public aspect of the Type West postgraduate certificate program. Register to attend remotely.

About Toshi Omagari

Toshi Omagari is an independent typeface designer in London. He graduated from the Visual Communication Design course at Musashino Art University in Tokyo in 2008 and the MA Typeface Design program at the University of Reading in 2011. Since joining Monotype in 2012, he has released a number of revivals of forgotten classics such as Metro Nova, The Berthold Wolpe Collection, and Neue Plak, while also working on custom typefaces for clients such as H&M and Sir Quentin Blake. He now runs his own studio.

Writing systems of Toshi's interest and specialty are not only limited to Latin, but others, as well, including Cyrillic, Greek, Arabic, Tibetan, and Mongolian. He is also an avid gamer, and has written Arcade Game Typography, a specimen book of pixelated typefaces from retro arcade games. Inspired by old game fonts, he has started Tabular Type Foundry that releases monospaced typefaces only. He also runs Omega Type Foundry for non-monospaced fonts. His other hobbies include blades and knives, Rubik’s cube, and shrimp keeping.

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