How do I turn a translated haiku into Japanese calligraphy?
March 30, 2005 8:05 PM   Subscribe

How can I turn a translated haiku back into Japanese calligraphy for printing and framing?

I like this haiku by the Japanese poet Kobayashi Issa:

Nebanashi no ashi de oriori naruko kana.

From time to time with feet
sprawled out in noonday sleep
I pull the scarecrow string.

How can I turn this into kanji, and from there render it in a Japanese calligraphy-style font? I'd like to print the result and frame it.
posted by obiwanwasabi to Writing & Language (5 answers total)
I don't know the kanji for a couple of those words, but that translation seems pretty far off to me. I'm sure someone here knows more Japanese than I do, though.
posted by borkingchikapa at 10:30 PM on March 30, 2005

Best answer: 寝咄の 足でおりおり 鳴子かな

I was only able to find one source for this so I can't be sure this is the way it was intended to be written. There are different characters that could be used for 咄, おりおり, and かな. There's also probably no need to break the syllables like I did. Just write all the characters in a line vertically.
posted by mexican at 11:25 PM on March 30, 2005

Best answer: Here's a PDF using the lovely MS 明朝 font.
posted by mexican at 11:34 PM on March 30, 2005

Best answer: I would say that there aren't any fonts that properly approximate Japanese calligraphy. In shodo, no two characters are ever the same, though they may be close. The repeated characters in "oriori" will probably look poor when printed in a calligraphy font, because they'll be identical. A lot of calligraphy artists sell their work cheaply on Ebay, though, and I'd imagine many of them would be happy to do a custom job for you. If you search for "japanese calligraphy custom" on Ebay, some options should come up. Be sure to select the "Search title and description" option. It looks as if this fellow does nice work.

I'd say you should be able to get this haiku hand-done in calligraphy for about fifty dollars, or quite a bit less, depending on the medium used and the artist. As for the translation, Mexican's looks fine, but you'll probably want to leave it up to the artist. In calligraphy, character choice can affect the aesthetics of the work.
posted by vorfeed at 11:20 AM on March 31, 2005

Response by poster: Now that's service! Thanks!
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:24 PM on March 31, 2005

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