HANZIGRAPHY by Mariko Takagi



by Mariko Takagi


Our world today is — from a digital point of view — a village. Non-Latin scripts are accessible and inevitable at the same time. But still the contact itself does not lead to a better understanding of Non-Latin scripts, they remain unfamiliar and mysterious to most Western minds. Chinese characters are among the so called ‘exotic scripts’ and considered as one of the most complex and incomprehensible writing systems. A very common explanation attempts to describe Chinese characters simply as representations of pictograms and pictorial ideas. But this view clearly compromises the capability and expressiveness of Chinese characters. Actually the Chinese writing system is based on agreements regarding the interpretation of meaning.


The book ‘Hanzi Graphy’ is based on research work that started in 2008 and aims to bridge the gap between the Latin and the Chinese writing systems. By using typography as a common thread, this book is an introduction and primer for Chinese characters. ‘Hanzi Graphy’ starts with a general introduction to the Chinese writing system by demonstrating the six principles of character types. It describes and visualises the differences between Chinese traditional and simplified Hanzis and the Japanese Kanjis. The book analyses the anatomy of Chinese characters in comparison to Latin letters and micro-typographic aspects, each topic filling another chapter. Throughout the book, English typographic terminologies are applied and defined according to Chinese characters.


The book design and graphical visualisation of the content enhances the accessibility of the topic.


HANZIGRAPHY by Mariko Takagi