Why are numbers written like 2020 and not 2020?


Kanji on average fill a roughly square space and tend to be most readable in monospace. So in Japanese typesetting when kanji is the predominant character set, you will usually see a monospace font full of roughly square glyphs. Latin alphabet characters and Arabic numerals look a little odd in this context.

Arabic numbers used in this context are also replacing their kanji equivalents. So, although the Arabic glyph is used, culturally they are not being used exactly as the western world uses them. Meaning, the perspective is that "2020" is four distinct characters that come together to have meaning. Rather than "2020" forming the equivalent of a word with a numeric value. The result is the same. But if you start out viewing them as separate characters, you may not want to make the font fit together graphically as a single word.

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