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Follow the trail ...

Posted by Dave Bull at 3:48 AM, June 26, 2011 [Permalink]

Something a little bit different this evening ...

No, it's not my latest reproduction project; this is simply a page from a late Edo novel, illustrated by the famous Kunisada. I was scanning the book this evening, putting a number of the pages into the Mokuhankan catalogue (part of a 'Partner Shop' venture with Ueda Shingo), and thought that RoundTable readers might like a bit of a break from the usual things appearing on this blog.

The page is completely typical of novels from that era - crammed wall to wall with illustration and text, all jumbled together. The puzzle for you: can you trace the 'thread' of just where the reader should go, as he works his way across the page?

The 'box' at the very top right is the entry point ('continued from previous page'), and the one at the lower left is the exit ('continued on next page'). Remembering that Japanese is written top to bottom and right to left - where do you go in between?

Now this is a particularly easy example, and wouldn't have posed much of a problem for the original readers, but the publisher wanted to make it easy for them, so left little 'signs' scattered in the text at critical points. Can you find them? (click the image for an enlargement)

Here's another one for you to try:

(And if you want to try more - some of them somewhat more complex than these examples - visit the Catalogue page for this book, and work your way through the images ...


Following comment posted by: Steve on June 27, 2011 11:43 AM

cool, not being able to read Japanese, i'd guess for the first image... read across the top of both pages from top, right to left up-pointing triangle, continuing at mid-right-page at up-pointing triangle to left half-black circle, then from right half-black circle across both pages to bottom left corner.

[Dave's edit: I think you've missed a chunk there in your first example ...]

and in the second image from top right corner to top left triangle, down to mid-left triangle to far left half-black circle, then from far right half-black circle to right-handed black-triangle-on-white box, directly to left-handed black-triangle-on-white-box to the "x", then to the left-handed "x" on to the lower-left corner.

this is so cool. can't wait to be able to read something like this!

thanks for sharing Bull-san!

Following comment posted by: Steve on June 27, 2011 12:00 PM

that book has more sensible uses for Unicode Geometric Shapes than i've ever seen in one place.

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