Half-width, hankaku (
Half-width katakana, hankaku katakana (
In half-width katakana, there are no forms of characters with combined dakuten, like ば, or handakuten, like ぱ. Instead, the dakuten or handakuten are represented by a separate character which has the same width as one katakana character. Thus, for example, "Nippon" (Japan) in full-width katakana is ニッポン, but in half-width katakana it is ﾆｯﾎﾟﾝ, with the handakuten as a separate ﾟ symbol. (See also What are the names of the Japanese non-kana, non-kanji symbols?)
Half-width katakana was originally encoded by the JIS X 0201 encoding standard. (See Encodings of Japanese) The common "Shift JIS" encoding of Japanese is an attempt to enable both half-width katakana and full-width characters together. (See Encodings of Japanese)
Half-width, or hankaku, is also used in a computer context to
describe the ASCII character set, which is referred to as
hankaku eisūji (
There is no half-width version of the hiragana characters.
To input half-width katakana, see How is Japanese input on a computer? For more about the uses of katakana, see What is katakana used for?
In Unicode, half-width katakana is represented from position FF61 to FF9F.
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