I recently found a strange spelling of a reversed S (Ƨ) on an old Japanese matchbox label (late 19th century), in the phrase "MANUFACTURED IN ƧEIRYUKWAN". At first I thought this was just a mistake in the graphics, or perhaps the Latin alphabet was not well known. However, I later found an example where the normal and reversed S occur side by side, in "OSAKANATUƧINSIYA ƧEIZU". This does look like the artist should've noticed. This made me wonder: is this some weird old-style form of transliteration, and what could the difference between those twop forms be? I don't speak Japanese unfortunately, so I couldn't come up with any guesses.

  • 2
    Can you add a photo of the matchbox? Seeing the Japanese text would help...
    – a20
    Jun 8 '18 at 16:39

Are you referring to this?

enter image description here

As far as I understand, 'reversed S' does not have any particular meaning, so I suppose this is probably a mere mistake, or maybe an intentional design element like this. Other matchbox images from Seiryukwan (for example, here) on the net do not have this "problem".

  • Yes. As I said, the side-by-side in the other example made me consider there might've been more to this.
    – user32849
    Jun 8 '18 at 18:17

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