9 November 2003
Hiragino, the family of Japanese OpenType fonts included with MacOS X, has a rich feature set and history that few people are likely to be aware of. There is much more than meets the eye, and knowing the features and history is well worth your time if you have even a passing interest in Japanese DTP. For one Japanese Mac developer, Ergosoft, the special features of Hiragino are a way to make money. If Apple itself really knew what it had, it might be working harder to make more money off the fonts too.
Hiragino started just about the time that Japanese Postscript arrived in the late 1980’s. At that time, the king of the typesetting market was Shaken KK. Anyone who knows Japanese typography knows Shaken. It had the most sought after type library, the best designers, the biggest market share. Shaken made so much money that it became arrogant and absolutely refused any offers from Adobe and Apple to jump on the Postscript bandwagon.
But there was trouble in paradise. A few designers felt Shaken was becoming stagnant and left the company. Each sought his own vision, yet they came together to create the fonts that would eventually end up in MacOS X.
The principals of the Hiragino story are Tsutomu Suzuki (who died in 1998 at the age of 49, leaving a design legacy that will probably never be equalled), Osamu Torinoumi and Keiichi Katada. Together they founded a company called Jiyukobo. For this article, we interviewed Torinoumi, who now runs the company, carrying on the work he started with Suzuki, and looks at the design philosophy.
In addition to the design art, there are also technical and marketing aspects to the Hiragino story. So this article also looks at the advanced typography features of Hiragino and has an interview with Isamu Iwata of ErgoSoft, a Japanese software company attempting to leverage those advanced features and the rich typography of MacOS X in the market. After all, good design and software development require a revenue stream for their continued existence.
Read the rest of this article:
A new business model
Finding new ways to market complex fonts
The Jiyukobo story
Joel Breckinridge interviews OsamuÂ Torinoumi, and finds the origins of Hiragino
Ergosoft, Hiragino and ATSUI
Building on ATSUI for support of the Japanese market
Adobe releases OpenType Font Folio
First release of Adobe full library to include OpenType versions
The Second Wave of Japanese Desktop Publishing
Joel Breckinridge takes an extended look at recent Japanese publishing trends
OpenType – an introduction
When is the right time to start adopting the new type format, what kind of support can you expect?
Agfa Monotype supports stroke fonts
Font scaling system, shipping in 90% of laser printers, supports stroke-based fonts for South East Asian market
Calligraphy for all!
Calligraphy competition draws 4,500 entries for mass sitting
MacOS X Kanji fonts
Japanese support in MacOS X, fonts in OpenType format – with AAT tables
Joel Breckinridge takes a look at a type creation package specific to the Japanese market
Stroke font technology
Joel Breckinridge looks at a new font rendering technology