Wednesday, February 15 2006

Textbook-style Japanese font

While I was helping my teacher out with her computer (most recently using the terrific Linotype FontExplorer X to coerce Word’s font cache into recognizing her copy of Adobe Garamond), she mentioned that one of her friends had a very nice 教科書体 (literally “textbook-style”) kanji font. Much like western fonts, most kanji fonts don’t look like handwritten characters; Kyoukasho-tai fonts do.

While my teacher is off in Osaka this week, her friend took over the class, and I remembered to ask her what the font was and where she got it. As it turns out, it’s something that Microsoft included on the Office.X CD, as part of the Value Pack. DFPKyoKaSho-W3, or, thanks to the miracle of text-encoding mismatches, “ÇcÇeÇoã≥â»èëëÃW3” (the actual file name as it appears in the Finder).

Here’s how it compares to Adobe Kozuka Mincho:

Kyoukasho vs. Mincho

Update: people who don’t have a copy of Office.X and don’t use ebay can purchase DF Kyokasho from Linotype’s online store for the low, low price of $490. This is actually a pretty good deal; Microsoft’s bundled version is an old-fashioned Mac-only font suitcase, while Linotype’s is a cross-platform Unicode font in OpenType format. And they sell a slightly heavier weight as well, which I think looks better at larger sizes.