I'm learning Japanese and decided to pick up some manga in Japanese to improve my reading. I found a preview of a manga I'll be receiving and had a look inside. I found the following character, and everything tells me it's a そ, but I'm not sure. Is it a weird font? Is it a certain common stylization?

panel from Tsurezure Children


Sure it is, there's two legit ways to write そ in Japanese.

Two strokes so


One stroke so


I suspect that the two strokes version is historical but usage made the one stroke version more common. It is definitely not a weird font, just one you didn't encounter yet.


Both are the same characters. It's just a different font.


そう!! It's just the way the computer font is styled but it definitely is a そ.


The 2 stroke version is the original. It’s still taught in many books this way. The one stroke version is derived from writing in cursive but is widely used. This is also the case for ゆ and ふ for example.


By the way, hiragana was derived from kanji via cursive style of writing kanji (e.g. Wikipedia). The kanji from which そ was derived had/has two dots on top. From there you have the two-stroke variant, from that the one-stroke variant. It is basically writing with brush with different levels of "precision" and "speed".

Hiragana origin; by Pmx [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)]

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