Thursday, 10 July 2014

A profusion of lettering

"And finally, while you are still puzzling over the mystery of things, there will come to you like a revelation the knowledge that most of the amazing picturesqueness of these streets is simply due to the profusion of Chinese and Japanese characters in white, black, blue or gold, decorating everything -- even surfaces of doorposts and paper screens.  Perhaps, then, for one moment, you will imagine the effect of English lettering substituted for those magical characters; and the mere idea will give to whatever aesthetic sentiment  you may possess a brutal shock, and you will become, as I have become, an enemy of the Romaji-Kwai -- that society founded for the ugly utilitarian purpose of introducing the use of English letters in writing Japanese."

Writings from Japan  Lafcadio Hearn, edited F. King


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