Masaki Yamabe (JP) An Experiment for New Hiragana

software, 2002

Although hiragana characters are particular to Japan, they originated from the Chinese writing system the individual signs of which are called kanji in Japanese. Before the kanji system was disseminated from China, Japan lacked a uniform system of writing and indeed any real culture of writing. Kanji characters were used to represent Japanese pronunciation or meaning. It is thought that hiragana characters were formed when the method of handwritten kanji was established. They were not just a simplification of the brush strokes of kanji, but they changed together with aesthetic expressions, and became original Japanese writing. An Experiment for New Hiragana is a work that attempts to express this change on a computer. It is software that creates new hiragana by ‘simplifying’ characters written on the screen.

Masaki Yamabe (JP)

Masaki Yamabe was born in 1977 in Tokyo, Japan, where he lives and works. He studied at the Department of Electronic informatics, Hosei University, Tokyo and the International Academy of Media Arts and Sciences, Japan. He works as graphic designer and programmer at COO/CTO of Alliance Port, LLC and is a lecturer at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. His works have been exhibited at Ars Electronica Campus Exhibition, 2004, and Water for Life at the Madrid Design Centre, 2009.