What is the difference between a Japanese font and a Japanese typeface?
"Japanese typefaces" are collections of letters, numbers and punctuation marks that form sets of styles for ideographic(Kanji), hiragana and katakana. Think of typefaces as being a family of type whose members share common design choices but can vary in weight and styles. Hiragino or Reimin, for example, are Japanese typefaces.
"Japanese fonts" are considered to be a subset of a Japanese typeface. They are the physical (or digital) character sets of a particular typeface in one particular weight and style. Reimin EB is a font; a file you use on your system. In short, Reimin would be the typeface chosen for a project, but the actual font in use might be Reimin EB 56 points.
How many japanese typefaces are there?
Japanese typefaces can be roughly divided into four types: “Mincho(明朝体)”, “Gothic(ゴシック体)”, “Mouhitsu(毛筆体)”, and “Pop typeface(ポップ書体)”.
1: Mincho typeface
The Mincho typeface is a major style of Japanese font in which the vertical line is thicker than the horizontal line. At the start position and the end position, there are triangular mountains representing the press of brush which are the equivalent of serif types. The triangles at the end of single horizontal strokes, are called uroko in Japanese, comparable to serifs. . Mincho is known as a highly readable font and is most frequently used in novels, the main text of magazines, body copies of posters, and leaflets. It will often be used as a set with vertical writing. The type gives a classic, formal, or traditional impression in contrast with Gothic..Mincho(or Serif) fonts
2: Gothic typeface
The Gothic typefaces are the equivalent of san-serif types. It has almost the same thickness of horizontal and vertical lines and has (almost) no triangular decorative elements (Serif) commonly seen in the Mincho typeface. It gives a modern and powerful impression, is used for text emphasis and/or headings such as posters, and catchphrases of advertisements, and is often seen in letters such as headlines in magazines. Nowadays, it goes well with horizontal writing. Gothic fonts are the most standard fonts on web pages on the Internet. In Japanese manga and books, a style called ” mixed text composition”(混植) is often used. It’s to interleave Japanese text with Western text in a line.Gothic(or San-serif) fonts
3: Mouhitsu(Brush) typeface
Mouhitsu(Brush) typeface can be roughly divided into five types: seal script(Tensho 篆書), clerical script(Reisho 隷書), cursive script(Sousho 草書),semi-cursive script(Gyosho 行書), and regular script(Kaisho 楷書). While the Kaisyo is written independently for each stroke, you can see continuous writing in Sousho which expresses the movement of the calligraphy brush. Sousho gives a Japanese-style, traditional, and clever impression. Gyosho is generally used for New Year’s cards and traditional greeting cards.Mouhitsu(or Calligraphy) fonts
4: Pop typeface
It has a pop taste, giving it a childish, intimate, and slightly comical impression. However, this font will rarely be used by professional designers. The reason seems to be that it is difficult to obtain a sense of unity in design when many characters are lined up, and there is an amateurish atmosphere. If you are aiming for something with a high degree of perfection in terms of design, it seems better not to use it positively.Pop(or Unique) fonts
What is the best font for Japanese?
When you choose a Japanese font, it is important to understand the main four types of typography:
Typography obviously plays a key role in both web and graphic design. Selecting appropriate Japanese typefaces is an essential work to make texts readable on display and your brand more appealing to customers.
The fonts often used in Japan are "Gothic" and "Mincho". Mincho has different line widths, so it is easy to read even when it is small font size. Because of higher readability, Mincho is used in long sentences such as reports、novels and newspapers. On the other hand, on displays such as personal computers and smartphones, due to the screen resolution, Mincho style is rarely used because the thin lines and lines may not be displayed clearly in contrast with Gothic.
The Gothic typeface has a uniform line thickness.making it easy to see even from a distance and is a "highly visible" typeface. It is suitable for headlines that you want to emphasize, outdoor signs and large posters that need to stand out. On the other hand, the Gothic is less readable than the Mincho because it has a constant line thickness and is not characteristic.
The best Japanese font
1. Reimin font
Every Japanese designer knows Reimin. It’s like Helvetica in Japanese. Reimin is a contemporary Mincho typeface which has a classic, and elegant expression. With wider counters, the small variations within the Kana creates a modern design, and whether used in vertical or horizontal typesetting, it is beautiful and easy to read. This typeface has a straightforward clarity, and can be used for the body text of books and magazines, graphic design and headlines.Reimin font