December 27, 2018

Squared (lined) paper

The Shinchosha press release announcing the new Twelve Kingdoms novel describes it as a "massive 2500 page epic." To be precise, the page count refers to the draft manuscript submitted by the author.

The actual text reads 「400字で約2500枚」 or "around 2500 pages of 400 characters each."

Kana and kanji fonts are generally not proportional. Characters of the same font size take up the same amount of space. This means that typeset Japanese naturally right-justifies. Or rather, bottom-justifies.

The equivalent of "lined" or "college ruled" paper in Japan is called genkouyoushi (原稿用紙).

The standard paper size is 400字 Japanese-B4 (14.3 x 10.1 inches). Each sheet is 10 by 20 vertically-aligned squares in two halves (designed to be folded down the middle), or 20 by 20 characters (字) total.

A typesetter's primary concern is avoiding widowing or orphaning punctuation marks, which usually get their own box. Word processing software handles this algorithmically. Wikipedia provides the following style guide.


The rules for handling punctuation marks in vertical text are called kinsoku shori (禁則処理).

Even in this computerized age, genkouyoushi remains synonymous with writing. The characters in Bungo Stray Dogs are named after famous authors. So naturally genkouyoushi is used in the title cards.

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Comments:

# posted by Anonymous Anonymous
Thanks for explaining this! I know enough Japanese to read the announcement, but I had no idea what "400字で" meant. This was very helpful.
12/29/2018 5:04 AM
 

# posted by Blogger erdene
I’m excited about this new novel!����
1/31/2019 12:02 PM