[KS] unicode

Charles Muller acmuller at l.u-tokyo.ac.jp
Sat May 30 03:14:24 EDT 2015

On 2015/05/30 12:06, Frank Hoffmann wrote:

 > Don't you agree that Unicode lost a very big chance there (except for
> the Korean font encoding, where it is less important, because there are
> not that many such characters with dual pronunciation in Korean)? I
> mean, if that Korean method of dual (or tripple etc.) entries would
> have been done with the Japanese Kanji, the that would be completely
> reversible. That seems to make so much more sense than creating a one
> way conversion.

I don't think that the process involved in the adding or maintenance of 
ideographs to the "Unicode" character set is being properly understood here.

It is not the case that "Unicode" as some sort of entity, grasps or 
misses an opportunity. Han ideographs have been, and are still added to 
and maintained by the Ideographic Rapporteur Group (IRG; see 
http://appsrv.cse.cuhk.edu.hk/~irg/) that operates as a unit within ISO 
(not "Unicode"). IRG is composed of teams who represent the standards 
bodies of all countries that use Han ideographs (including China, 
Vietnam, South Korea, Japan, and other minor groups). These teams 
generally include government specialists, industry reps (Apple, Adobe, 
Microsoft...), and Chinese ideograph specialists.

New candidate ideographs are proposed at regular meetings by these 
national representatives and must pass a high level of scrutiny to be 
added to the system.

Members of IRG are aware of inconsistencies and problems in the system, 
and are continually working to make it more smooth and accurate--so 
nothing is carved in stone, as it were.

The distinction between "Korean hanja", "Japanese kanji", and "Chinese 
hanzi" for the most part does not hold, except in the case where an 
ideograph was created in a given cultural area and has only been used in 
that cultural area. The rest of the differences lie simply in the 
historical process of the creation of fonts, and most of the 
"traditional" forms of the characters that are being here associated 
with "Korea" were actually contained in the Japanese JIS 0212 set, long 
ago. If you are talking about Joyo (somewhat simplified) forms of 
Japanese ideographs, you can say that they are distinctive, but once 
again, the difference quite often lies in font representation, not 
difference of code point.



A. Charles Muller

Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology
Faculty of Letters
University of Tokyo
7-3-1 Hongō, Bunkyō-ku
Tokyo 113-8654, Japan

Office Phone: 03-5841-3735

Web Site: Resources for East Asian Language and Thought

Twitter: @H_Buddhism

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