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Designing with Kanji: Japanese Character Motifs for Surface, Skin & Print

Japanese kanji characters combine meaning with beauty and thus offer a unique medium for artistic expression. But if you don't know the language, how do you find characters that say what you want and are not just a kanji cliche? You can start here. This book has over 130 kanji presented in a simple format for easy use.

For example:
Post the kanji for kenshin on a mirror to remind you of your "devotion" to your studies.
Embroider bussho on a meditation cushion to help you reflect on "Buddha nature."
Tattoo the name Zatoichi on your upper arm as homage to your favorite blind swordsman hero.
Show your "love" with a card decorated by ai.

Pick from Warrior, Heart, Nature, and Spirit categories to find the characters that express your sentiments best. Each entry includes historical or etymological background, often with unusual kanji facts. Then trace, photocopy, or even stencil the clear letterforms - displayed in several different kanji "fonts" - to get just the effect you want. Included is an introduction to kanji, writing tips, and a supplement on Zodiac kanji.

Written by Shogo Oketani and Leza Lowitz.

 

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