Offset-embedded characters

By Stephen. May 14th, 2010

I believe our guest blogger Strattera is correct that this offset-embedding represents Japanese characters. I whipped together a computer program to extract them more precisely than his hand-drawn attempt. Here’s what came out.

I would appreciate the aid of any of our readers who can translate it for us. If it’s helpful, this was written on the back: “Her sister’s province.” — Stephen


  1. Aaron says:

    So, it’s pronounced “Izumo shi,” or Izumo city. It is located in Shimane province in Japan. Here is the wikipedia site (in English):,_Shimane

    and here is the official city website (in Japanese):


  2. Aaron says:

    Izumo was its own “province” a long time ago, now it is just a city inside Shimane province.

    … oh, and the name means: “the city where the clouds come out” or “departing cloud city”… or something to that effect. But actually, throughout Japanese history, many place names were constructed from characters based purely on their sound. So, in many cases the semantic meaning of a name is incidental, so long as the characters match the sound.

  3. Observer says:

    Gotta love a Star Wars reference…lol…”Leave Cloud City”…Where’s Cloud City I wonder? It has to be some sort of code for something.

  4. humanspybot says:

    Maybe Star Wars had an Izumo reference! The word Izumo means “Departing Cloud,” so Izumo City is “Departing Cloud” city

    I don’t know any Japanese but I can use the all powerful Google. (Or it uses me.) “Izumo, Honshū/Japan: The Chinese characters represent izu ‘jut out’ and mo (kumo) ‘cloud’”

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