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I was intrigued by this question: What do you do if a genkoyoshi line ends with e.g. す。」? and its answer.

I'm not any good at this 原稿用紙 but I remember being told for some types of forms (which I thought followed the same rules) that you need to put the [濁点]{だくてん} (for some reason always called ten-ten and maru in the classes and contexts I heard them) into separate boxes. Was I being misled / is this still current practice for some sort of form?

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The rule you mentioned does not apply to 原稿用紙 for novels and articles. Never.

However, you may be instructed to place 濁点(゛) and 半濁点(゜)into a separate box, when you have to fill some legacy paper forms at banks or government offices.

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This is because 濁点 and 半濁点 consume an extra byte if you encode hankaku katakana strings into old encodings such as JIS, Shift-JIS, EUC-JP, and they have to count the number of bytes.

In my opinion, this is a very bad tradition of the fixed-length-string era, and should disappear at once.

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  • Thanks. I agree they should disappear. It's really annoying to forget and put something in only to realize I've ruined another form.
    – virmaior
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 9:31
  • Once upon a time in Japan, someone had a good idea: “let's denote different but similar sounds with short markings ( ゛& ゜) to modify existing characters and save space.” Sometime later, someone else had a bad idea that negated the good one: “Let's require each of the short markings to occupy one entire fixed-width block of character space.” Fail. Never mind that Japanese has systems for text conversion (of kana to kanji, for example). So giving a character like ダ its own glyph in a font was already a trivial matter. That this was never implemented for 半角カナ or forms is mind-boggling.
    – Mentalist
    Commented Jun 16, 2023 at 1:06
  • Got curious enough to actually read up on it a little. It turns out half-width kana predates even kanji. It predates Unicode! It's essentially a tech relic established by computer scientists of the late 1960s who had their hands full enough just trying to get any Japanese text to display on a screen. As you said, naruto. I couldn't find info on whether there were enough bytes in the table for 半角の「ダ」etc, but even if there were, space was constrained. Maybe someday a 半角カナ variant will be created that is compact but without awkward ゛& ゜.
    – Mentalist
    Commented Jun 16, 2023 at 2:54

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