This website displays the current season of the 72 pentads, each a five-day microseason in the Japanese calendar.

( Sound recommended )


about the text

This website displays the current phase of the 72 microseasons (kō) of Japan, each lasting five days. Also called 72 pentads, they originated in China and were adapted to better match the seasonality of Japan in the Edo period. The current version is from the abbreviated traditional calendar of 1874.

The bottom center of the screen displays the Japanese kō. Descriptions of each from the Wikipedia entry were converted to English via Google Translate, and then further edited. Additional language versions are based on Google-translated results of the edited English phrases. Please make a comment on this spreadsheet if you’d like to contribute better translations.

This text was chosen by Laurel Schwulst.

about the sound

Each sound loop was composed by taking the entire corpus of the kanji used in the names of the 72 microseasons, sorting them into categories (i.e. crops, flowers, birds, weather), and then assigning each category a particular instrument. Each microseason, which has a name 3-4 kanji long, thus corresponds with a loop that consists of 3 or 4 layers. Each loop is a little more than 5 seconds, so that if one were to listen to the entire year, it would take 365 seconds.

The sounds were composed by Tiger Dingsun.

about the font

This website features Pentameter, an expressive monospace variable typeface available in 47 different languages. Pentameter’s axes vary across width (wdth: 75–125), weight (wght: 100–700) and slant (slnt: -16–0). Each microseason is set to a weight that corresponds to the season’s temperature, ranging from the minimum of 100 for the coldest days of the year, to the maximum of 700 for the hottest days (with a consistent width of 100 and slant of -10.)

As a typeface that celebrates the creative agency of hand-coding, Pentameter draws from the spirit of handwriting as an “upright italic.” Its off-beat, syncopated rhythm merges rigid monolinear mechanics with exaggerated stroke endings. You can read more about the design process of Pentameter, view a PDF Specimen or font details, and license it at Type Network.

Pentameter is released by Occupant Fonts and designed by Marie Otsuka. The Japanese characters are set in Morisawa’s Cinema Letter.

about the website

This website, pentad.world, or “Seasons in Pentameter” explores the relationship between changing seasonality, poetry, and sound. You can read more about this project on Laurel’s website.

This website was orchestrated by Laurel Schwulst. The site displays a variable typeface “Pentameter,” designed by Marie Otsuka — who also developed the website. The sounds were composed by Tiger Dingsun. Laurel, Marie, and Tiger designed the website together.

七十二候 東風解凍 黄鶯睍睆 魚上氷 土脉潤起 霞始靆 草木萌動 蟄虫啓戸 桃始笑 菜虫化蝶 雀始巣 桜始開 雷乃発声 玄鳥至 鴻雁北 虹始見 葭始生 霜止出苗 牡丹華 蛙始鳴 蚯蚓出 竹笋生 蚕起食桑 紅花栄 麦秋至 螳螂生 腐草為蛍 梅子黄 乃東枯 菖蒲華 半夏生 温風至 蓮始開 鷹乃学習 桐始結花 土潤溽暑 大雨時行 涼風至 寒蝉鳴 蒙霧升降 綿柎開 天地始粛 禾乃登 草露白 鶺鴒鳴 玄鳥去 雷乃収声 蟄虫坏戸 水始涸 鴻雁来 菊花開 蟋蟀在戸 霜始降 霎時施 楓蔦黄 山茶始開 地始凍 金盞香 虹蔵不見 朔風払葉 橘始黄 閉塞成冬 熊蟄穴 鱖魚群 乃東生 麋角解 雪下出麦 芹乃栄 水泉動 雉始雊 款冬華 水沢腹堅 鶏始乳 あいうえおかきくけこさしすせそたちつてとなにぬねのはひふへほまみむめもやゆよらりるれろわをん