City Font Project Nagoya

The Kinshachi Font Typeface

Kinshachi Font, one of the City Font Projects launched by Type Project in 2009, is an attempt to create a font that is evocative of the city of Nagoya, and that will be nurtured by the local community and broadcast to the world. Development of ‘Kinshachi Mincho’ and ‘Kinshachi Black’ was begun in 2010, commemorating 400 years since the founding of the city as a seat of government. Symbols of Nagoya culture were incorporated into these typefaces, with the arc of the kinshachi (mythical golden tiger-headed carp) reflected in the starting point of a stroke, and the curvature of the gables and roofs of Nagoya Castle evident in the stroke’s end part.

A kinshachi for the starting point

The starting point of a horizontal Kinshachi Mincho stroke has an ornamental shape that incorporates the curved form of the shachihoko tiger-headed carp. In the character 金 (kin / kane: gold, metal, money), the thread of connection from the sixth stroke to the seventh differs distinctly from that in a customary Mincho typeface. This kind of playfulness is a characteristic of Kinshachi Mincho.

Nagoya Castle for the uroko


The triangular shape found at the end part of a horizontal stroke in Mincho typefaces is known as an uroko (literally, ‘fish scale’). While in most Mincho typefaces such triangles are composed out of straight lines, the end of a horizontal stroke in Kinshachi Mincho features the shape of the curved gables and roofs of Nagoya Castle.

Ligatures


The distinctive ending particles of Nagoya dialect have been realized using ligatures. This is a modernized version of the ancient Owari (Nagoya region) style of unbroken line text (renmentai), which was in everyday usage for over one thousand years, from the Heian period up to the Edo period (mid-1800s). The somewhat forceful expressiveness of this modern style even echoes the strong flavors found in the local culinary specialties of Nagoya meshi.

Maru-Hachi for the brush technique


The Maru-Hachi mark (hachi, the number eight, within maru, a circle), the beloved official symbol of the city of Nagoya since ancient times. As an expression of respect for its history and culture, we applied the Maru-Hachi brush technique when drawing the characters for this typeface. These are auspicious characters that suggest harmonious peacefulness and prosperous business, characters redolent of the liveliness of local festivals.

Nagoya dialect karuta

The Nagoya dialect karuta (traditional card game) is the first product made using Kinshachi Mincho and Kinshachi Black. With the synergy of impressions created by the pictures and the typefaces, Nagoya dialect’s distinctiveness comes to the fore.

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