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For my small personal graphic design project I'm doing a Japanese cover of "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas", but I am having trouble finding any Japanese font with a similar style to the English "Diploma Regular".

Example of "Diploma Regular":

enter image description here

W.I.P. version of the cover:

enter image description here

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    The style on your example is called Gothic, Old English or Blackletter. I've found a discussion in another forum where the user was also looking for a japanese blackletter font typography.guru/forums/topic/75049-japanese-blackletter
    – Luciano
    Jul 12 at 9:33
  • I know that at one point a blackletter rendition of kanji was considered for the novel series/manga/anime Youjo Senki / 幼女戦記 / The Saga of Tanya the Evil I think it was shown in the afterword of one of the novels or mangas. It looked cool but was a one off logotype, not a font. They ended up going with a more conventional brush calligraphy style.
    – smithkm
    Jul 13 at 0:02

2 Answers 2

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I don't know if such a font exists, but . . .

It's a Latin script often called Black Letter or Gothic. You could theoretically just write your own, since that kind of script was originally handwritten.

The trick is that these styles of writing are made with an pen with a wide nib, held at a constant angle of around 45 degrees.

enter image description here

enter image description here

You could try writing Japanese with a pen like that, and it would kind of resemble a Latin script written that way. It's also possible to simulate it using the Calligraphy tool in vector software such as Inkscape, or a calligraphy brush in Illustrator. The problem of course is whether writing made in this way would be readable in Japanese, since Japanese is traditionally written with a brush, and not a western style pen nib.

I'll let you be the judge. Here's an example below. Assuming the following are the correct characters (as I don't read or speak Japanese), I took these from the Wikipeda article, I came up with this. However, I don't know if this will be readable for a Japanese speaker.

enter image description here

For comparison, here's a Latin letter B written with the same pen and style

enter image description here

Edit: Looks like somebody else has already had a similar idea here: this is for Chinese, but the same idea basically. https://www.behance.net/gallery/4850969/Chinese-Gothic - Unfortunately, I couldn't tell if this a downloadable font or not. Perhaps you could contact the author.

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  • Just a remark for the Chinese Gothic font: In addition to kanji which both Japanese and Chinese use (although some kanji may be slightly different even for the same character), the Japanese language also has hiragana and katakana (which are used in this question). And as the answer has mentioned regarding readability, the katakana in this answer might be quite readable, but I couldn't recognize some of the kanji in Chinese Gothic.
    – Andrew T.
    Jul 12 at 18:23
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    In Japanese characters example image you showed was that hand made by you? or is it a font that found online?
    – CM138
    Jul 12 at 18:53
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    @CM138 - it was hand made by me.
    – Billy Kerr
    Jul 12 at 20:58
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    @AndrewT. I agree that the hand-drawn katakana in the answer are perfectly legible, but the Chinese font – while lovely to look at – is pretty much illegible to me. I couldn’t even read the full name of it: 哥 is obvious for the first character; I couldn’t tell whether the second was 特 or 持; and I was completely lost on the third (even knowing it’s 汉, I still don’t see it). That seems to go for the entire font: some obvious, some doubtful, some just completely impossible to guess. Jul 12 at 21:46
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    @JanusBahsJacquet Maybe as long as you don't add serifs, not all Black Letter styles necessarily have big serifs, but just keep to the basic 45 degree strokes, perhaps a few flourishes, but nothing too fancy. It also might need a finer nib for more complex characters. I tried this with one of the characters you mentioned.
    – Billy Kerr
    Jul 13 at 11:02
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A search for "Japanese Blackletter Font" produced a few examples, although most seem to be hand-drawn artworks rather than downloadable fonts. But I did find a font called Goura that might be what you're looking for:

Goura font sample

It's Katakana-only (i.e., no Hiragana, Kanji or Roman alphabet). The license says the font is basically freeware as long as you don't use it as part of a trademark or registered design.

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