I've seen Japanese people write many letters/numbers "strangely". The most common one is D which is written with a stroke like this Đ

Yutapon font

Yuta Coco font

Why is that? Are there any other letters that are written differently from how it's done in Western countries?


IIRC the number 4 is also written with a longer vertical stroke because I remember seeing Japanese people elongated foreign people's number 4 to make it clearer. I suppose because they think it's similar to Katakana ム?

Note that I do know that Japanese people don't write 7 with the horizontal stroke like the above font but with a hook above, because when I first learnt the language my teacher told me that they don't understand what that is. I did hear Japanese people asking what that 7 symbol is, or confirm if it's the number 7 when they're familiar with foreign handwriting.

And there are non-programming versions without the stroke on 0 as well:

G7 Cute Pop Bold

Aqua Font

More examples can be found on https://www.freejapanesefont.com/category/handwriting/

  • not sure if related, but it seems this letter is used in Vietnamese among other things en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/D_with_stroke – Igor Skochinsky May 9 '17 at 16:38
  • @IgorSkochinsky yes I know as I'm Vietnamese. But Japanese people doesn't know Vietnamese alphabet and how it's written. I'm sure there are a few other letters that are written the same way but I forgot what they are – phuclv 劉永福 May 9 '17 at 16:45
  • I personally haven't seen this D before or any other unusual Latin letters. I hope someone will find an explanation! – Igor Skochinsky May 9 '17 at 16:55
  • 3
    I'm a native Japanese speaker in Japan and sometimes use this slash in my handwriting to help me to distinguish D from O and 0. I must have learned this style from someone at some point but I don't remember. I'm slightly surprised to know that this convention isn't found, apparently, abroad. – Yosh May 10 '17 at 3:19
  • Usually, French people write a 7 with a dash (but other people can, too) though it is not diagonal. Side-note: The 3 should have more of a curve going inwards in the middle. – Mr Pie Jul 18 '18 at 6:22

You're probably working as programmer or accountant, or you won't actually see many people in Japan write in this style, because those slashes are added to reduce misreading possibility in quick handwriting. For what it's worth, I rarely write letters like this myself.

Here is a more complete example from the font.

enter image description here

Who made it is clearly a programmer (see the link). It's their style to put slashes on 0, 7, D, O (top bar), and Z to make sure they wouldn't misread the source code (broadly speaking, serifs of I are the same kind).

If you ask why it's allowed to write letters like this, the reason will be that Japanese are a sort of people who only recognize the basic alphabet, i.e.


Of course, Vietnamese people wouldn't please with the use of Đ, as much as Polish people frown on Ƶ (they are different letters in their alphabets). Moreover, Turkish people wouldn't agree with i being the lower case of I in the first place. Even not as extreme as this, people write letters in more or less different ways around the world. The Latin letters' world is diverse.

  • yes I'm a programmer. In Vietnam many people (esp. elders) also write Z as Ƶ – phuclv 劉永福 May 10 '17 at 1:09
  • I am a Japanese programmer. I always write D as Đ. The reason is exactly as what broccoli forest says. – ErikaO May 10 '17 at 1:56
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    @LưuVĩnhPhúc Many people write Z that way in America as well, although we don't write D in that fashion (as far as I'm aware). – snailboat May 10 '17 at 6:30

Not sure if that's the explanation but I found this page which seems to suggest adding various strokes to letters to ensure they're not confused for other similar-looking (especially to the Japanese eyes) ones, similar to how some fonts use slashed zero to distinguish it from the letter O.

Latin letters with strokes

BTW, I did a similar thing while at university: in quick handwriting it may be difficult to distinguish m from w or n from u (and especially in Russian cursive, ш from т and и from п), so I often added bars above or below those letters in my notes to reduce confusion.


I am not sure this is concrete enough to be considered an answer, but I will post here.

I've never seen this "D" before in Japanese fonts; it definitely is not common.

I assume that it is purely a stylistic choice. Whoever wrote that probably did not know that is a different letter, but only saw it as a "cool-looking D". Kind of like how English speakers playfully use "я" in place of "R", even though they are completely different letters.

  • It's not in printing fonts. It's only used in handwriting as I said – phuclv 劉永福 May 9 '17 at 17:30
  • @Lưu Vĩnh Phúc Ah, your sample looked like a font sample, so I assumed. Either way, I've never seen Đ used in Japanese handwriting personally, so I will say it's not a common practice. – Jimmy May 9 '17 at 17:35
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    The font sample is from a handwriting font. – snailboat May 9 '17 at 19:49
  • Oh, so it IS from a font; just a handwriting-style font? It's a bit contradicting to what is being asked, but since my answer pertains to font, I guess there's no change there. – Jimmy May 9 '17 at 21:49
  • I don't know if it's common or not but I've seen many colleagues of mine write like that. And I'm asking about "handwriting" so it's not quite a contradiction – phuclv 劉永福 May 10 '17 at 0:40

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