all photos courtesy Mari Ando

Even for native speakers of Japanese, the kanji characters for all the different types of sushi is not a subject anyone would want to be tested on. They have numerous strokes, are fairly complex and all look similar, owing to the fact that they all use the radical for fish, which is 魚. There’s 鱸 and 鱈 and 鯛 but what do they all mean? That’s where the Sushi Yunomi could come in handy.

It’s not uncommon to go into a sushi shop and be served tea in a yunomi decorated with kanji characters of different fish. However this yunomi, designed by graphic designer Mari Ando, rifts on that tradition by using typography to incorporate the actual readings of each kanji character. And the genius of this mug lies in how the designer incorporated both the English and katakana.

For example, in the image above the top two characters are 鱸 and 鱈. And hidden within the strokes are their English names, sea bass and cod, as well as their katakana readings, スズキ (suzuki) and タラ (tara). See it?

The yunomi were originally designed as a novelty item for this Nagoya-based sushi restaurant but the designer has plans to make them more widely available starting January 2022. For updates you can follow the designer on Twitter.