Re: Problems/Issues with CJK and Unicode

From: John Jenkins (
Date: Fri Apr 07 2000 - 13:55:57 EDT

on 4/7/00 10:25 AM, at

I have heard that there are "problems" with the way Unicode handles CJK
script; perhaps due to the unification of some characters. Would someone
in this list mind offering a bit more insight into this matter?

This is, of course, covered in The Unicode Standard, v. 3.0, pp. 261-262.

Basically, because of the divergent development of writing in various East
Asian countries, there are often distinctions in the proper way to write
certain ideographs depending on the country. This is analogous to writing
"colour" in Britain and "color" in America.

Because the underlying identity of the ideographs is not in question, they
have been unified in Unicode. The net result is that a careless system
might result in a Japanese user seeing text unexpectedly displayed using the
glyphs preferred in China instead of Japan.

The seriousness of the problem has been greatly exaggerated. Not only does
the text remain perfectly legible even if written "wrong," under most
circumstances a native reader might not even notice that it's "wrong" in the
first place. Moreover, proper use of locale-specific fonts or pan-East Asia
fonts with glyph shape selectors will handle it without the user being any
the wiser.

John H. Jenkins

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