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Unicode Demystified by Richard Gillam

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The Han Characters

Because the Chinese characters form the cornerstone, in one way or another, of all the scripts we'll be talking about, we'll look at them first.

The Chinese characters are called hanzi in Mandarin Chinese, kanji in Japanese, hanja in Korean, and chu Han in Vietnamese. All of these expressions mean “Han characters,” the term we'll use for them here. Han, from the Han Dynasty, is used to refer to traditional Chinese culture. In other words, in Asia, “Han” more or less means “Chinese.”

The Han characters have a very ancient history.[2] The earliest examples of Chinese writing date back to about 1200 B.C. The Han characters used today are directly descended from these early examples. The shapes of the characters have changed over ...

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