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Having found some books that use hentaigana (e.g. the 古今琉歌集) alongside standard hiragana and kanji, I've been trying to find a way to input hentaigana characters into text files.

I've found proposed plans to add hentaigana to unicode, but so far nothing has yet been implemented.

Are there any fonts available that contain special glyphs (perhaps in the private use area?) or anything similar so that documents such as the one linked above can be properly digitized?

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    Google tells me that 変体仮名 are encoded in Shift JIS encoding. Take a look here: www10.plala.or.jp/koin/koinhentaigana.html It seems that there are also free fonts available: www10.plala.or.jp/koin/down.html (I haven't tried them, though.)
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 10:02
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    One current solution is to buy 今昔文字鏡, which allows you to use 180,000 characters including 変体仮名. But it appears to me that the project has been inactive for a while. According to the linked article, the proposal to add 変体仮名 to Unicode is partially based on 今昔文字鏡 and Koin変体仮名 character sets, both of which are popular today among researchers.
    – naruto
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 15:57
  • I think the question should fit into meta, but too old to migrate... Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 3:59
  • As of Unicode 10.0 (2017 June 20th) there is support for Hentaigana. See blocks Kana Supplement and Kana Extended-A. I'm not sure how this changes the current answers but it should be taken into account.
    – AnnanFay
    Commented May 4, 2019 at 23:53

2 Answers 2

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It is possible, as other comments suggest, to purchase either the Koin変体仮名 fonts or the Mojikyo (文字鏡) suite for use in word-processing (Office Word, TeX). Koin変体仮名 is also available for free but, obviously, not all the glyphs are usable. As for Mojikyo, there seems to be a free version which can be obtained as follows:

1) The fonts from http://www.mojikyo.org/#TTF_download : download one by one, extract them as these are archived.

2) Go to https://tinyapps.org/blog/windows/201002130700_mojikyo_character_map.html where all the necessary instructions can be found (including step 1).

The drawback is that you can't just type in hiragana and expect Mojikyo Character Map or your word processor to convert them into hentaigana. The mapping issue might be one of the reasons a paid version exists. Hentaigana inventory is also limited (although generous enough for most purposes, I estimate there are more than 200 glyphs).

These two solutions appear to be the more easily found ones. So far I was unable to find others. Lastly, even though I use the Character Map myself, I think it necessary to add that by downloading and installing the files you proceed at your own risk.

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There is now a Unicode roadmap towards implementing hentaigana in Unicode 10.0, which is, I assume, coming this year. It would not be long after the standard is updated that fonts containing those characters will be added. The actual kana added in the expansion are:

http://www.unicode.org/charts/PDF/Unicode-10.0/U100-1B000.pdf

http://www.unicode.org/charts/PDF/Unicode-10.0/U100-1B100.pdf

Those in gold are new: you'll see there's more than 250 of them! None of this will have to be explicitly paid for, either.

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