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Representation of Japanese Language Characters on the WWW

You are here: irt.org | Articles | World Wide Web (WWW) | Representation of Japanese Language Characters on the WWW [ previous next ]

Published on: Sunday 29th November 1998 By: Pankaj Kamthan

Japanese Characters And Encoding Methods

Japanese language character set primarily consists of Kanji, Hiragana, Katakana. Documents in Japanese need at least two character sets : ASCII and JIS X 0208. The latter is a 2-byte character set including Kanji, Hiragana, Katakana and some other characters.

These are the two most common encoding methods supported by the browsers, such as Netscape Communicator and Internet Explorer.

Viewing Japanese Language Characters

Platforms With Japanese Windows 95/NT

Microsoft Internet Explorer

If you have Japanese version of Microsoft Internet Explorer installed, then all you need is to change the Fonts in the View menu to Japanese (Auto Select). (There seems to be a problem in installing English version of Microsoft Internet Explorer on Japanese Windows 95/NT.) You can obtain a copy of Microsoft Internet Explorer at http://www.microsoft.com/ie/logo.asp.

Netscape Communicator

If you have Netscape Communicator (English/Japanese version) installed, it does not require any supplementary software to display Japanese characters. All you need is to change the Encoding in the View menu to Japanese (Auto-Detect). You can obtain a copy of Netscape Communicator at http://home.netscape.com/comprod/products/communicator/index.html

Platforms With Japanese Unix/X Window System

The process is similar to that of the previous section, though, I must admit that I haven't used such an environment.

Platforms With English Windows 95/NT

Shodouka Launchpad

One of the easiest way to view Japanese characters on your browser is to use the Shodouka Launchpad. Shodouka is a server-based Internet service that lets one read the Kana and Kanji on any Japanese document on the WWW without the need for any special software.

Enter the URL in the following form and select Submit. to reset the form select Reset.
 

Shodouka LaunchPad

info


 

The problem with using the Shodouka Launchpad can be the bandwidth - it tends to be slow as it converts every character to an image file and displays it.

Microsoft Internet Explorer

If you have the English version of Microsoft Internet Explorer, all you need is to download and install (usually just one step) the Japanese Language Support at http://www.microsoft.com/ie/download/ for the browser from Microsoft. (There seems to be a problem in installing Japanese version of Microsoft Internet Explorer on English Windows 95/NT.) Then all you need to change the Fonts in the View menu to Japanese (Auto Select).

Netscape Communicator

Netscape Communicator support viewing Chinese/Japanese/Korean HTML on US Windows 95 and NT 4.0 using Bitstream Cybertbit fonts at ftp://ftp.bitstream.com/cyberbit/cyberbit.exe to view Japanese text. You can download the Japanese font from http://ms.www.conxion.com/msdownload/ieinstall/ie3lpkja.exe. Another site is: http://av.yahoo.com/bin/query?p=ie3lpkja.exe&hc=0&hs=0.

Carry out the following steps:

  1. Select Preferences... item under Edit menu.

  2. Select the Fonts tab.

  3. Select the language you want to set font in the For the Encoding selection. For example, "Japanese".

  4. Select the font you installed in Variable Width Font.

  5. Repeat the same for Fixed Width Font.

  6. Click OK to close the Fonts Preferences box. You need to close the Fonts Preference box every time you set up a font for a particular language.

There is also a partial support for HTML Forms:

NJWIN

A useful alternative to installing browser-specific font support on your platform, is to use NJWIN Multilingual Support System at http://www.njstar.com/. NJWIN is designed to enable any windows program to display and print Japanese characters under the English Windows 95 environment. That includes Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Communicator. Most of the present Japanese coding standards are supported in NJWIN, and coding can be switched on the fly from one coding to another depending on the document being viewed.

NJWIN Interface:

Platforms With English Unix/X Window System

Microsoft Internet Explorer

Currently, Japanese language support for Microsoft Internet Explorer on UNIX systems does not exist. Also, the only UNIX platform for which Microsoft Internet Explorer is available is Sun Solaris.You can keep yourself aware of the new developments via the Internet Explorer WWW site at Microsoft.

Netscape Communicator

To set your Netscape Communicator (UNIX/X Window System version) to recognize Japanese characters, carry out the following steps:

  1. From the menu bar on Netscape Communicator select View menu and set Encoding to Japanese (Auto-Detect).

  2. If you are running X11, there should be a directory (or similar to that) /usr/X11R5/lib/X11/fonts/misc on your computer (which is the X server) that contains the fonts typically used by Netscape Communicator. The names of the Japanese fonts include: jiskan16.pcf.Z, k14.pcf.Z and others. You need to have these.

  3. If you don't have them, you should get them and install them. Then add the following to your fonts.dir in /usr/X11R5/lib/X11/fonts/misc:

    jiskan24.pcf.Z -jis-fixed-medium-r-normal--24-230-75-75-c-240-jisx0208.1983-0
    jiskan16.pcf.Z -jis-fixed-medium-r-normal--16-150-75-75-c-160-jisx0208.1983-0

    and so on. You should also check if they are compatible with your fonts.alias file in the same directory. Then do:

    xset fp rehash

    on shell prompt.

Emacs

GNU Emacs is one of the most powerful text-based editors in use today with ports for many operating systems including, Windows 95 and UNIX. With W3 mode at http://moose.cs.indiana.edu/elisp/w3/docs.html it can function as a WWW browser and with Mule (MULtilingual Enhancement to GNU Emacs) at ftp://sh.wide.ad.jp/JAPAN/mule/mule-1.0/, it can also be used for displaying Japanese characters.

For the use of Japanese characters with other browsers such as tkWWW, W3C's Line Mode Browser and NCSA's Xmosaic-1.2 for X, details are given at http://www.ntt.co.jp/japan/note-on-JP/.

Creating Japanese Language Characters

There are various word processors that can create Japanese characters. For those who have Japanese Windows 95 on their system can use, for example, Microsoft Word 97 to create Japanese documents and save them as HTML files. For those with English Windows 95, there are many commercial and freely available word processors. See the list of references. For example, using NJStar Japanese WP, one can create Japanese documents and save them as HTML files.

Acknowledgements

Stan Swiercz assisted in pointing out and installing the necessary Japanese fonts for Netscape Communicator (Unix/X version).

References

Japanese Text Encoding On The Www

Japanese/English Dictionary

Macintosh

If you use Macintosh, you can try the resources in the following links or buy the Japanese Language Kit.

Unix/X

Japanese Software

Japanese Language Word Processors For English Windows 95/NT&

Japanese Www Sites : General

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