Despite having three sets of writing scripts and a vast bank of kanji characters — some of which are obscure to even the most educated Japanese native — Japan has one of the highest literacy rates on the planet. But, as with most nations, the country's newspapers still remain something of a cipher to its children, who often need furigana (a Japanese reading aid used to decipher kanji) to even begin to understand some of the stories printed in these publications geared toward adults.
Now advertising firm Dentsu has teamed up with the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper to offer AR News, an augmented reality app that helps children read and understand the printed articles. The free app works on all iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, etc.) and layers kanji explanations on top of plain text, as well as fun animations that serve to blunt what may appear to be boring walls of text to some children. In U.S. terms, this set-up is akin to giving your six-year-old child the ability to read and fully comprehend the New York Times.
In addition to ramping up children's education, this is also the kind of app that can help bond a parent and a child over the Sunday paper (as long as those continue to exist). You can see the AR News app in action in the video below.