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Edomoji (江戸文字 (furigana: えどもじ)) (or edo-moji) are Japanese lettering styles invented for advertising during the Edo period. The main styles of edomoji are chōchinmoji, found on paper lanterns outside restaurants; higemoji, used to label kakigōri and drinks like ramune and sake; kagomoji, literally "cage letters"; kakuji, a thick and rectangular seal script; kanteiryū, often used on flyers for performances such as kabuki and rakugo; and yosemoji, a mix of chōchinmoji and kanteiryū.


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Chōchinmoji (提灯 (ちょちん)文字 (もじ)) characters are the ones used on chōchin (hanging paper lanterns), such as the ones commonly seen outside a yakitori stand in Japan.


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Higemoji ( (ひげ)文字 (もじ)) characters have little "whiskers" (hige) on them. This style is used for kakigōri and ramune signs as well as being a common style for sake labels. While this gyosho-esque script appears fluid and spontaneous, it follows a strict ruleset based on the Chinese-originating "7–5–3 pattern". The brushstrokes must appear as seven distinct bristle lines, with narrower passages requiring five, and three as the stroke terminates.[1]


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Kagomoji ( (かご)文字 (もじ)) literally means "cage letters". The characters are thick and square in shape. It is usually used in inverted form or sometimes as an outline.


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Kakuji ( (かく) ()) is a very heavy, rectangular style used for making seals.


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Kanteiryū (勘亭 (かんてい) (りゅう)) or simply kantei, or shibaimoji (芝居文字), is a style is used for publicity and programmes for arts like kabuki and rakugo. Invented by Okazakiya Kanroku (岡崎屋 勘六), the name derives from Okazaki's nickname, "kantei" (勘亭).


A style specifically associated with kabuki.[1]


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Sumōmoji (相撲 (すもう)文字 (もじ)), sumōji, or chikaramoji[1] style of lettering is used for sumo wrestling advertisements and programmes.


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The name yosemoji (寄席文字 (よせもじ)) literally means "letters for yose" — Japanese theater. A combination of kanteiryū and chōchinmoji, it was used for posters and flyers, as well as in rakugo performances (e.g. mekuri), nafuda, and nobori. Unlike other calligraphic styles, yosemoji allows and even encourages multiple brushstrokes in order to fill in the characters as much as possible.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Richie, Donald (1987). A Lateral View: Essays on Culture and Style in Contemporary Japan. ("Signs and Symbols", 1974). Stone Bridge Press. pp. 85–92. ISBN 9780962813740.
  2. ^ Shores, Matthew W. (August 2014). "A Critical Study of Kamigata Rakugo and Its Traditions". University of Hawaii. Dissertation. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)

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