Kanji Metamorphoses




June 2019


Kuzushiji, cursive Japanese characters used in classical Japanese texts, are known for their difficulty. Mastering them requires years of training, and some scholars devote their entire careers to learning how to read them. Why are they so notoriously difficult? The reason is that kuzushiji can and often do look very different from their modern equivalent. This project examines just how different kuzushiji are from modern Japanese kanji by visualizing transformations between modern kanji and kuzushiji stroke patterns.