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The kanji 令 Rei, as in 令和, can apparently be written in a pleasantly different way. One is more of a computer font, the other is more handwritten. The stroke order is the same, but it's quite a transformation though. Why isn't the second glyph available in computer fonts? Can one take such liberties with other characters when handwriting them? 令

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  • It's written that way in Chinese, see en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E4%BB%A4 and search "Han unification" for a few related questions
    – flowsnake
    Commented Jan 11, 2022 at 14:35
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    Related? japanese.stackexchange.com/a/62950/9831
    – chocolate
    Commented Jan 11, 2022 at 14:38
  • Ah, that's more relevant. The Chinese version of the character just looks similar to the handwritten variant...
    – flowsnake
    Commented Jan 11, 2022 at 14:42
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    This is like single-story vs double-story g; they are the same character, and people don't even notice the difference when reading an ordinary text. The technology to distinguish them at the character code level exists, but almost no one knows about it or uses it.
    – naruto
    Commented Jan 11, 2022 at 23:30

1 Answer 1

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The glyph 令 has, generally, three distinct regional forms:

The three forms of 令

The type with マ and a dotted bar is used in mainland China, the type with マ and a horizontal bar is used in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Vietnam, while the traditional prescriptive dictionary form is currently considered correct in Japan and Korea. I am showing all three by applying the different regional versions of Source Han Serif font.

However, it would be incorrect to assume that such alternate forms are never available within one region itself. In fact, the "Mainland" form (what you refer to as "calligraphic") is available in the Moji-Joho character collection in Japan (because it is registered somewhere for a personal name or a place name, as exemplified by the Koseki database), and thus should be, at least in theory, accessible by a sequence of codepoints U+4EE4 U+E0102, where 4EE4 is general 令 and E0102 is an Ideographic Variation Selector.

Well, in theory. Because the only font I know that would actually provide that is the font of the Moji-Joho database itself, IPAmjMincho. (And the Hanazono-AFDKO fonts, which support so many things it's not even surprising). So, here they are:

(令󠄀 令󠄂 - these look different with a proper font)

enter image description here

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  • I installed the IPAmjMincho, copy-paste the following line in this Add comment field I do see 2 DIFFERENT characters! In your answer body they are still the same, even though Firefox Inspection claims both are using IPAmjMincho.... Anyway, let's see how they look when I actually submit this comment... (令󠄀 令󠄂 - these look different with a proper font) OK, out of edit text field, when this comment is submitted, they render as the same character again. What's going on?
    – rych
    Commented Apr 8, 2023 at 10:17

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