Re: Japan loves UNICODE

From: Brendan Murray/DUB/Lotus (
Date: Thu Apr 27 2000 - 10:43:29 EDT

"mary ink" wrote on 2000-04-27 11:22 UTC:
>This is the kind of patronizing tone that Unicode developers and champions

I have to rush to Markus' defense here. I appears to me that Mary has never
been at the receiving end of the interminable, pointless, illogical,
xenophobic arguments that are put forward by the anti-Unicode brigade. My
usual solution is to propose JIS X 0221, as Markus and presumably many
others do too.

Unfortunately, with the advent of JIS X 0213, the anti-Unicoders have been
given a lot of ammunition, especially when much of the registration work
has run into problems: most of these have been procedural, but any
rejection is taken as further proof that the international community has no
idea when it comes to Japanese. It doesn't matter that many of those
participating in the excellent work done by the IRG are Japanese - those
who oppose Unicode consider these hard-working experts as some sort of
linguiistic/encoding traitors.

One objection I received recently was that one might sent an e-mail from
Japan to a recipient in China and the glyph would change. If this Chinese
user than printed out the document, this would contain the incorrect glyph,
which would cause the earth to stop spinning on its axis if this were
snail-mailed back to the Japanese originator. While I understand that many
people are jealous of their names, the fact that people don't use accents
in English is not interpreted as a personal insult by those who have
accents on their names; similarly most Japanese people don't take the use
of a Chinese ideograph as a personal insult. Presumably spelling a Japanese
person's name using Latin characters must be much more insulting - at least
the Kanji originally were borrowed from China, while Latin has been foisted
on the language by the limitations of technology.

I'm willing to predict the next wave of objections, once the Kanji used in
names have been encoded in Unicode: they'll complain that the fact that
they're off the BMP means a) Unicode considers Japanese names to be
unimportant and b) the data is all twice as long as it needs to be. Oh,
don't forget the new symbols: the snowman in JIS X 0213 is full-width,
while that in U+2603 is half-width. I have no doubt that we'll receive
plenty of complaints about these too.


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