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I was at a Japanese class and saw what I thought was a mistake, or at best shorthand for the character [傘]{かさ} -> 仐 I thought the four ([人]{ひと}) had been forgotten but my Japanese teacher told me this was regular Japanese like how other archaic characters get simplified (國 -> [国]{こく}, see Wiki page here). I am not convinced so if anyone could share more solid evidence on the validity of the character or your own opinions?

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1 Answer

up vote 12 down vote accepted

It isn't a 新字体{しんじたい} ("new kanji form"). Strictly speaking, 新字体 refers to a specific set of official simplifications which you can find in the 常用漢字表. For example, the 新字体 of 鬪 is 闘, replacing the broken gate radical 鬥(とうがまえ) with the gate radical 門(もんがまえ).

In contrast, this is an unofficial simplification. This sort of simplification is usually called a 略字(りゃくじ), meaning abbreviated character. You can see other examples of 略字 on Wikipedia, which has the following chart:

略字 chart taken from Wikipedia

Since none of these simplifications are official, you won't find them in official materials such as the 常用漢字表, and they don't count as 新字体. You may see them in handwriting, or you may even see them in fonts or other printed material. And since they're unofficial, there is no complete list; people may invent new non-standard forms whenever they wish.

However, you may be able to find some resources which identify these simplifications as 略字. In this case, you may consult the Japanese Wiktionary, which helpfully lists 仐 as a 略字; or the English Wiktionary, which tells you that it's a non-standard form; or, you may consult Unicode, which defines it as "(J) non-standard form of 傘 U+5098 傘, umbrella, parasol, parachute".

The biggest difference, perhaps, is that official 新字体 simplifications are considered the standard form of a character, so you'll find them used most of the time. Unofficial 略字, on the other hand, are not considered standard forms. While they're not uncommon, you'll probably see them quite a bit less often than the official forms.

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Haha, love #13! –  istrasci Sep 12 '13 at 15:22
    
@istrasci That's the first one I ever learned, thanks to Chrono Trigger :-) –  snailboat Sep 12 '13 at 15:23
    
Never played Chrono Trigger in Japanese. Your link is broken but I found this on Wikipedia. –  istrasci Sep 12 '13 at 15:48
    
Thanks for the detailed answer and interesting links. –  Totoro Sep 12 '13 at 16:13
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