Re: Unicode CJK Language Myth

From: Kenichi Handa (
Date: Tue May 14 1996 - 21:42:24 EDT writes:
>> I was unaware that both `choku' in "choku-setsu (in Kanji)" and
>> `zhi' in "yi-zhi (in Simplified Hanzi)" derived from the same
>> character (U+76F4 in Traditional Hanzi) until I saw the word "choku-setsu"
>> written in a Chinese-first Unicode font because their glyphs are quite
>> different. A Japanese who doesn't know Chinese could fail to identify
>> the character if it is written in a Chinese font.
> The important measure of legibility is legibility in context --
> not identification of isolated glyphs out of context.

You ignore the fact that Chinese characters are ideograms, not
phonograms, so each character has some meaning by itself. I
(Japanese) have a chance to get a mail from some American friends as
follows in English (but `choku' is represented by Unicode character):
        "What't the meaning of `choku', how to pronounce it?"
If `choku' is displayed by a correct Japanese font, I can give an
answer to him, but if `choku' is displayed by a Chinese font, I may
fail. Since the mail is in English, there's no way to find that
`choku' should be displayed in Japanese font. Unicode by itself seems
to be of no use in multilingual text (at least, for CJK characters).

Ken'ichi HANDA

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