I’m very picky about fonts in general. I think rather than being a connoisseur I’m just straight-up snobbish at this point, picking at what fonts are used in mediums such as comics (even professionally-lettered comics) or on the sides of trucks, but I try to make something good out of that snobbery nonetheless.
Like many fonts, a bunch of Japanese-inspired fonts seem somewhat lazy now (or at least oversaturated in use – no Chinese Takeout, no Kudasai, no Karate anymore pleeeease, they are good fonts but so commonly), to be used on your local buffet restaurant sign or on paper invites to some mundane event. Still, there are a few of which I am font. Ha, see what I did there.
Ole Fredrik Ekern’s “Gami“
If you have any reservations about the idea of a font based off of origami shapes, put them aside. This is an excellent-looking font by itself, but in execution it shines even better. It’s hot! It’s sharp! Ow, I got a papercut!!
Chris Hansen’s “Shoguns Clan“
A great font for fans of grunge splatter (which I will admit I am weak to). It’s the only font of its kind that I’ve grown a consistent liking for. I even used a slightly modified version of it for the logo of a game concept in one of my student portfolio pieces. It may have been the only decent part of that piece…
Vic Fieger’s “Osaka Sans Serif“
It’s bold, and I like it. Makes me think of subways.
Allen Walden’s “Japan“
A very simple font that evokes feelings of modern Japanese style.
Ray Larabie’s “Nagomi“
Another very simple, very elegant font.
ClÃ©ment Romier’s “Mister Jun“
A headline font inspired by Jun Seba AKA Nujabes.
I’m still looking for more good Japanese- or Asian-looking English alphabet fonts (bonus points for brushstroke-style), so if you like any others, show ’em to me!
More Font-Related Niceness
There is more of a variety of nice Japanese fonts than I previously believed. There are really no limitations when it comes to font style in any language, so take a look at these websites for nice sources of fonts.
Jayhan’s 12 free Japanese handwriting fonts – I was actually looking for some of these for one of my comics. Yay!
Ninhongoup’s 10 Beautiful Japanese Fonts – I spent so much time at a few of the sites listed here downloading fonts. I may buy some of the pay ones later on when I have use for them. (Fonts are expensive! But nice!)
Soh Tanaka’s 10 Japanese Typography Websites & Free Downloads – A kindred spirit links to more Japanese font websites. I’ve been to all of them, and they have quite excellent free fonts and fabulous pay fonts.
Japanese Fonts – Links to a whole bunch of fonts, some of which are more general, equivalents of Helvetica.