sci.lang.japan FAQ / 1. Writing / 1.2.

1.2.12. Why do some kanji have alternative forms?

長田広告, with 廣 instead of 広

In the illustration, 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 1.2.3. What is the difference between and ?. Some of the old forms of the kanji are still in use, particularly in people's names. See 9.3. How do Japanese names work?

Other terminology regarding variant characters includes:

Bettaiji (別体字)
Different character, a genuine variant form.
Honji (本字)
Literally "original character", this is another name for kyūjitai.
Kantaiji (簡体字)
The Chinese simplified forms of characters used in the People's Republic of China and Singapore, but not in Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Kyūjitai (旧字体)
The old (pre-reform) form of the character, as is still used in Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Kyūji (旧字)
Another name for kyūjitai.
Ryakuji (略字)
Common simplified forms
Seiji (正字)
Literally "true character", this is another name for kyūjitai.
Shinjitai (新字体)
The Japanese simplified forms of characters. See 1.3.12. Writing reforms in modern Japan.
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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