Why do some kanji have alternative forms?
Some kanji, like 沢, have an alternative form like 澤. There
are many reasons why these variations exist, including reforms of the
written language, simplifications used in handwriting, and typographic
|長田広告, with 廣 instead of 広|
In the illustration on the right, the third kanji from left, 廣,
is the old form of 広 in kōkoku (広告), advertisement.
Kyūjitai (旧字体) refers to the older form of the kanji before
the Tōyō kanji came into being. See What is the difference between Tōyō Kanji and Jōyō Kanji? Some
of the old forms of the kanji are still in use, particularly in
people's names. See How do Japanese names work?
Other terminology regarding variant characters includes:
- Honji (本字)
- Literally "original character", this is another name for
- Itaiji (異体字)
An itaiji is a variant form of a kanji, like 嶋 instead
- Kantaiji (簡体字)
- The Chinese simplified forms of characters used in the People's
Republic of China and Singapore. These are different from the
Shinjitai used in Japan, consisting of a much more radical
restructuring of writing. For example
- Kyūjitai (旧字体)
- The unsimplified traditional Chinese forms. These are still used
in Taiwan and Hong Kong. They were used in Japan up to 1949.
- Kyūji (旧字)
- Another name for kyūjitai.
- Ryakuji (略字)
- Common simplified forms.
- Seiji (正字)
- Literally "true character", this is another name for
- Shinjitai (新字体)
- The Japanese simplified forms of characters. See
Writing reforms in modern Japan. The Japanese changes are much less
radical changes than the ones done in the People's Republic of China,
- Shinji (新字)
- Another name for shinjitai.
- Zokuji (俗字)
- "Folk" characters, abbreviated or otherwise non-standard
characters which have no historical basis but are still used.
Chinese characters have a long history and there are many different
ways to write each of them. See Handwritten styles.
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