Re: Unicode & Han

From: Martin J Duerst (
Date: Sun Aug 11 1996 - 11:57:58 EDT

 Timothy Huang wrote:

>Dear Martin,
>I understand the emperor name issue. Perhaps, I should rephrase my
>statement differently. But, the problem of not containing the Chinese
>emperor's name and other related symbols may has several reasons (in my
>humble opinion): (1) The Chinese and Taiwaness delegates failed to
>understand the significance of the issue. And they did not insist or
>don't know what is international fairness. (2) Heavy hands from Japan.
>(3) The Unicode people did not hold the principle rigidly by accepting
>them. This opened a wide door for confusing of the definition of

There are extremely many ways of international fairness, and many
of them conflict with each other. A very good example is the number
of characters. Some people claim that e.g. Korea uses too much space
for such a small country. Although they are technically right, the
argument as such is rather bad.

As for the emperors issue, you argue as if:

- We Chinese don't need emperor's names as precomposed codepoints,
        so we should not allow the Japanese to have them.
- The Japanese got precomposed codepoints for their emperors,
        so we need them, too.
With all due respect to Chinese culture, this really sounds rather
childish. Why does the big brother China have to be so jealous
of the small brother Japan?
Indeed, what you should say is: Japan, for their better or worse,
still have emperors, while we got rid of them some decades
ago. Japan has the custom to indicate years by emperor's aera,
which we don't. To save space, in Japan often the two-character
name of an emperor is squeezed into one square, and for further
convenience is provided as one lead block on typewriters and
as one codepoint on computers. It is rather reasonable to reflect
this typographical practice in Unicode. In China, there is no
such typographical practice (up to my knowledge), so we really
haven't to care about getting such codepoints if we don't use
You don't ask for uppercase/lowercase variants of Hanzi
just because the Westerners have them (or deny them their
use just because you don't have them).

>On the issue of "Unicode is not sealed off, you can still make a request
>through your national standard body if you can document it well enough
>(which should not be that much of a problem in these cases)".

Many thanks for the information. As far as the internal aspects of
Taiwan and their standardization processes are concerned, I guess
there is nothing I could do about it, or that I would want to comment
without further, detailled, information. I hope you can understand this.

Regards, Martin.

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