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Ky?jitai (/, literally "old character forms") are the traditional forms of kanji, Chinese written characters used in Japanese. Their simplified counterparts are shinjitai (), "new character forms". Some of the simplified characters arose centuries ago and were in everyday use in both China and Japan, but they were considered inelegant, even uncouth. After World War II, simplified character forms were made official in both these countries. However, in Japan fewer and less drastic simplifications were made: for example "electric" is still written as ? in Japan, as it is also written in Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea and Taiwan, which continue to use traditional Chinese characters, but has been simplified to ? in mainland China. Prior to the promulgation of the t?y? kanji list in 1946, ky?jitai were known as seiji (; meaning "proper/correct characters") or seijitai (). Even after ky?jitai were officially marked for discontinuation with the promulgation of the t?y? kanji list, they were used in print frequently into the 1950s due to logistical delays in changing over typesetting equipment. Ky?jitai continue in use to the present day because when the Japanese government adopted the simplified forms, it did not ban the traditional forms. Thus traditional forms are used when an author wishes to use traditional forms and the publisher agrees.
Unlike in the People's Republic of China, where all personal names were simplified as part of the character simplification reform carried out in the 1950s, the Japanese reform only applied to a subset of the characters in use (the t?y? kanji) and excluded characters used in proper names. Therefore, ky?jitai are still used in personal names in Japan today (see jinmeiy? kanji). In modern Japanese, ky?jitai that appear in the official spelling of proper names are sometimes replaced with the modern shinjitai form.
In the 2,136 J?y? Kanji (?), there are 364 pairs of simplified and traditional characters (for example, ? is the simplified form of ?). Note that the kanji ? is used to simplify three different traditional kanji (?, ?, and ?).
Some of the traditional kanji are not included in the Japanese font of Windows XP/2000, and only rectangles are shown. Downloading the Meiryo font from the Microsoft website (VistaFont_JPN.EXE) and installing it will solve this problem.
Note that within the j?y? kanji there are 62 characters the old forms of which may cause problems displaying:
Ky?iku kanji (26):
Secondary-school kanji (36):
These characters are Unicode CJK Unified Ideographs for which the old form (ky?jitai) and the new form (shinjitai) have been unified under the Unicode standard. Although the old and new forms are distinguished under the JIS X 0213 standard, the old forms map to Unicode CJK Compatibility Ideographs which are considered by Unicode to be canonically equivalent to the new forms and may not be distinguished by user agents. Therefore, depending on the user environment, it may not be possible to see the distinction between old and new forms of the characters. In particular, all Unicode normalization methods merge the old characters with the new ones.
In the revised version of J?y? Kanji, 5 kanji were removed (but preserved as Jinmeiy? Kanji), and 196 more kanji were added into J?y? Kanjihy? of originally 1945 kanji; 6 of these new kanji have a traditional and a simplified form. They are underlined in the following list.
The Jinmeiy? Kanji List contains 212 traditional characters still used in names. The modern form (shinjitai), which appears in the J?y? Kanji List, is given in parentheses.
The Jinmeiy? Kanji List also contains 631 additional kanji that are not elements of the J?y? Kanji List; 18 of them have a variant:
The following 5 kanji were removed from the J?y? Kanji List in 2010, but were preserved as Jinmeiy? Kanji. They have no simplified form.
Note that ? and ? are kokuji.
Of the 196 new J?y? Kanji, 129 were already on the Jinmeiy? Kanji List; 10 of them are used in names of Japanese prefectures, and the kanji ? appears in the name of South Korea ( Kankoku). Four of these kanji have both a simplified and a traditional form:
Hy?gai Kanji are kanji that are element neither of the J?y? Kanji List nor the Jinmeiy? Kanji List. In Hy?gai Kanji Jitaihy? (?), traditional characters are recognized as printed standard style () while the simplified characters are recognized as simple conventional style (). Here are some examples of Hy?gai Kanji that have a simplified and a traditional form:
In 2010, 67 Hy?gai Kanji were added to the J?y? Kanji List; 2 of them have a traditional and a simplified form:
Kokuji are characters that were created in Japan and were not taken over from China. Some of them, e.g. ?, are now also used in Chinese, but most of them are unknown to the Chinese.
Currently, there are no kokuji that have been simplified after their introduction.
The J?y? Kanji List currently contains 9 kokuji (? and ? are Ky?iku Kanji):
? was removed from the J?y? Kanji List in 2010, but is still used as Jinmeiy? Kanji.
The Jinmeiy? Kanji List currently contains 16 kokuji: