Saturday, February 9, 2013

Font Variation for Japanese Hiragana "ri"

Mac  OS X users who input Japanese may notice that the Hiragana character for "ri", U+308A, can appear in two different forms, shown below :

Which one is displayed depends on what font is used by the app or system.  The main Japanese font, Hiragino, uses the first (connected) version, while the Osaka Japanese font and some fonts for Chinese and Korean, plus Arial Unicode, use the second (two strokes).

The default font for Chinese/Japanese is often determined by the order of the languages in System Preferences > Language & Text > Language, so to guarantee you get a Japanese one you should make sure that language is higher on the list than Chinese or Korean.  If you want to have the two-stroke "ri", you will have to also switch Hiragino to Osaka.


Lauri Ranta said...

It's not just hiragana, but the default substitution fonts for kanji also become Chinese. And if the normal font is serif, the substitution font for hiragana can be LiSong Pro, which has a single stroke り.

If Japanese is above Chinese, for example TextEdit in plain text mode displays Chinese text using a mixture of characters from Japanese and Chinese fonts.

Tom Gewecke said...

Lauri -- You are right, of course, and that points out the problem facing a Japanese user who wants a two stroke "ri", since all the default Hiragino fonts are single stroke. It seems they have to manually switch to Osaka if they want to avoid Chinese Kanji. I will modify the article a bit. I've not seen Japanese users complaining about Chinese Kanji, but Chinese users get very annoyed by Japanese Kanji and I've done a couple blog articles on that in the past.