Why Japanese Books are Written From Right-to-Left.

Japanese texts were historically written to be read from the top of the page down, and right to left. This was originally due to China’s influence on Japan’s writing system, since Japan imported Chinese characters or ‘kanji’ in Japanese in the 5th century via routes through Korea. Since then, recently it isn’t uncommon to see books written in the horizontal left-to-right style used in the west, although it is still most common to see the vertical right-to-left format. Why is Japanese written in these two different directions? Well, actually there was a time prior to world war 2 where Japan had written horizontal texts that were read right-to-left, so technically there were three different formats. That being said, I will be focusing on the two main formats that you can see in modern Japanese, that being tategaki and yokogaki. As I had written above, there are two primary ways Japanese texts are formatted today. Traditional Japanese texts were written with a vertical formatting known in Japanese as tategaki (縦書き), which you can see in the picture below. Tategaki is written starting from the top-right corner of the page, and is meant to be read down and from right-to-left across the … Continue reading Why Japanese Books are Written From Right-to-Left.