6

Going by the information from kanji.jitenon, I have a question regarding the radicals 飠 and 𩙿. I've noticed that some Kanji seem to be used with either of these while others are displayed exclusively with the latter of the two.

Let's take for example 飴. In digital texts 飴 seems to default to the radical 𩙿, but if you check out the Kanji written in 教科書体 on the website (on the left hand side below the Kanji displayed in big, you can switch the font with the buttons), 飠 is used. The same goes for 蝕 and 餡. On the other hand, there are Kanji that seem to be written only with 𩙿, e.g. in 餌 or 饗 (in both 明朝体 and 教科書体).

I'm not sure what the system here is. Are all instances of 𩙿 interchangeable with 飠 or are there certain Kanji that use exclusively the former? What is the history behind these two?

2
  • Is this a case of Han Unification? en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Han_unification The different radical for 飴 in Chinese and Japanese is shown here: en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E9%A3%B4 – flowsnake Apr 14 at 12:19
  • @By137: Not entirely sure what you mean, but the top middle part of 饗, sans the "rooftop" part (whatever that is called). If you compare it to, say 郷 or 響, you can tell that the structure is different from 𩙿. I know they aren't exactly the same, but I hope you get my idea. – Boolicious Apr 14 at 17:59
7

According to the official 常用漢字表, the difference between components 飠 and 𩙿 is that of handwriting and printing standard. It is reiterated in the document that such two shapes are equivalent, along with the list of many other ignorable stroke-level and component-level variants.

常用漢字表 p. 9

The printing standard glyphs in Japanese are basically following the style of the Kangxi Dictionary, the most complete character dictionary until the modern age. As the imperial dictionary of high prestige, it renders head-characters in pedantic and (pseudo-)archaic forms which had not necessarily been practiced in the actual world. However, it was commonly referenced by early moveable type designers, and thus still remain prescriptive in Japan.

康煕字典 p. 3398

But typefaces like 楷書体 and 教科書体 (and/or 学参書体) usually replicate the handwriting style, because the former is by definition, and the latter designed for classroom i.e. teaching children how to write kanji.

響 vs 饗 is actually unrelated to the 飠 vs 𩙿 matter either etymologically or historically. In the original Japanese kanji simplification scheme (新字体), the shape seen in 郷/既/即 was introduced to replace the traditional counterpart in 鄕/既/卽. However, the simplified list only defined a limited number of kanji, those roughly in today's 常用漢字表 have the 響-like shape as the norm even in printing, while others the 饗-like shape. For details, see this post.

Note that:

  • The scope of what is stated above is limited to Japan and not a general fact throughout the Chinese character world. Different countries have norms subtly and unsystematically different from each other. Also see this post.
  • There could be particular requirements for proper names (person, place...) that should be respected; for example, {{ja:葛󠄁}}飾区 in Tokyo and {{ja:葛󠄀}}城市 in Nara.
  • As periodically becomes the target of criticism, some teachers only recognize either variant in exams. This is unfounded as for any official educational guideline in Japan, but might be good to know that some people are very particular about jots and tittles.
1
  • 1
    Excellent level of detail. Good stuff! – Eiríkr Útlendi Apr 15 at 16:20
2

As others have noted, this appears to be part of the Unicode Han-character unification, where minor differences between character forms were ignored when assigning code points to individual glyphs during the process of setting up the Unicode specification for the Han characters. Since a single code point was assigned for multiple character forms, they called this "unifying". When a language code is explicitly specified in the HTML, and if you have the right fonts installed, your browser should pick the respective form preferred for each language.

Here's an example when viewed in my browser with my particular setup.

Sample image showing the 飴 or "candy" kanji for Japanese and Chinese variants.

And here's the corresponding HTML.

Sample HTML used to generate the image of the 飴 or "candy" kanji forms.

Unfortunately, the Stack Exchange back-end doesn't allow this same HTML to render correctly here. Here it is just pasted in and rendered by the site and browser:

飴 -- Japanese specified as the language.

 

飴 -- Chinese specified as the language.


Broadly, I can say that I've personally seen handwritten Japanese where the radical appears to be the Chinese variant. That said, I don't know how strictly "correct" this would be considered, so before using this yourself, please consult with someone who grew up in Japan and went through the Japanese education system.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.