Re: Need for Localized Look of Shared Japanese/Chinese Gliphs??

From: Marco Mussini (
Date: Mon Jul 20 1998 - 08:12:49 EDT

Hi John, thanks for your contribution...

> You're going to get a gazillion answers to this question, but--

Wow! I hope so. I need some clarification and this list seems the right
place to go..

> BTW, I tend to find it interesting to hear East Asian ideographs referred
> to as "kanji," since that's a Japanese word. But I digress.

Please tolerate me... I am a student of Japanese... I am used to call
them kanjis... ok, let's say ideographs, you're right, of course!

> First of all, it is utterly FALSE that there is a language-based
> difference in "Japanese" and "Chinese" shapes for ideographs. (Sorry,
> but this is a pet peeve of mine.) The difference is between Japanese

You are right!

> typography, mainland Chinese typography, and traditional Chinese
> typography (e.g., Taiwan). There are lots of characters which will be
> drawn one way in the PRC and another way on Taiwan, even though both are
> "Chinese."

I agree!

> Unicode isn't intended to provide full, ideal, typographic support in and
> of itself. It's intended for "plain text." For plain text purposes,
> most Japanese readers will simply use a Japanese font even for Chinese
> text and be perfectly happy.

That's the point. We would be really satisfied if we could achieve that!

> Moreover, "minimal legibility" is still possible without changing fonts
> -- a Japanese reader will recognize and understand the characters written
> in the "wrong" non-Japanese way.

Another good point! I was counting on this.

> >By the way, I don't think that the kanjis that are clearly "shareable"
> >between Chinese and Japanese do really have a vastly different drawing.
> Japanese and Chinese think so. (Britons and Americans tend to find one
> another's spellings of their common language bizarre, too.)

I think, for instance, GOTHIC and normal LATIN glyphs for the same
characters are MUCH more different from each other than Japanese and
Chinese versions of the same kanjis are.

Can you confirm or negate this impression of mine?

> Again, it isn't true for "pairs of languages." It's true for different
> national typographical traditions, which are partly language-based but
> partly not. Taiwan and the PRC speak a common set of languages, all
> called "Chinese."

Good point, I agree again!

> And yes, it's also true for Korean.

A question about Korean: I don't know the language, but I thought they
were using those compound, 3-sector, square blocks with entirely
phonetic meaning.
Hearing at your discussions in the group it seems that they also use the
odd ideograph at times. Can you explain me if ideographs are used only
to write Chinese/Japanese names or if they are used for writing native
Korean words as well?



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