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Ari Inu Usagi

Occupant Fonts • publication

Occupant Fonts is excited to announce the publication of Cyrus Highsmith’s new children’s book from Bunkeidou.

Highsmith’s simple, colorful drawings are well-suited for young audience.
Each hiragana character gets a page featuring an animal plus an adjective, both starting with that character.

あり いぬ うさぎ or Ari Inu Usagi is a primer for learning Hiragana, a syllabic script used in the Japanese writing system. The audience is Japanese school children.

Highsmith’s collaborator, Hiroko Sakomura, provided him with lists of possible words for each character. He explained, “The combination of the adjectives and animals made the book really fun to draw. It raised all sorts of possibilities. For example, instead of just drawing a crow, I had to draw a sad crow. Why is the crow so sad? Where is the panda going so quickly? Some of combinations were easier to draw than others. It took me a while to figure out how to draw a polite Tyrannosaurus rex. In addition to helping kids learn to read, I hope it gets them excited about the power of using words and pictures together to make stories.”

Highsmith also did all the lettering in the book. However, even though he is an experienced Latin type designer, he is not so familiar with Japanese.

“I worked with Japanese type designers at Morisawa to get help with my kana lettering. I couldn’t have done it without their guidance. And I’m quite pleased with results. I think the lettering goes nicely with the drawings”, he said, “and I’m told it reads well!”

Ari Inu Usagi is the follow up to ABC, the Japanese edition of Apple Bear Cat, Highsmith’s latin alphabet book.

Ari Inu Usagi and Apple Bear Cat are available from Amazon.co.jp. The original edition of Apple Bear Cat is available at the Katherine Small Gallery and RISD Works.