ominous katakana?

In Japan, an eleven-day-old baby was kidnapped from his mother’s side.

According to police, a note in which the suspects demanded a ransom was handwritten in kanji and katakana. Katakana has an ominous aspect as if to mask the identity of the writer. Perhaps the suspect thought that hiragana would show the peculiarities of his handwriting.

“Ominous” katakana? Are these the equations?
angles (katakana) = scary
curves (hiragana) = individual but not scary

Fortunately, the story has a happy ending. The bad guys were caught, though not through graphology, and the child is back with its parents.

Interesting that handwriting in hiragana would be seen as more revealing of individuality than handwriting in kanji. I wonder what the calligraphers of Japan — and those of China and Taiwan, too! — would have to say about that.

In another strange twist, the kidnapper appears to have used techniques from a mystery novel, 99% no Yukai (99 percent abduction), by Futari Okajima, which was initially published in 1988 and reprinted in 2004. The use of katakana in the ransom note is one of the parallels between the book and the recent crime.

A ray of light as baby is recovered unharmed, Asahi Shimbun, January 10, 2006

3 thoughts on “ominous katakana?

  1. Maybe- as people say- we can think of katakana relating to hiragana as Roman capitals relate to lowercase letters, at least graphically if in no other way. I wonder if graphologists can possitively identify a person’s all-caps printing as well as their handwriting…

  2. Yeah, I bet that’s the idea: you can hide your individuality better in (mostly) straight lines than loops and curves. No idea if it’s actually true or not!

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