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Unicode Demystified by Richard Gillam

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Variant Forms of Han Characters

Of course, despite efforts at standardization, variant forms of the characters do creep in over time. This tends to happen most often with more complicated characters: People come up with quicker and less complicated ways of writing them, and some of these catch on and come into widespread use. Which forms become popular tends to vary either according to a particular writer's preference or, more often, according to regional convention.

As an extreme example, there are at least six variant forms of the character for “sword” in Japanese:

More important, however, are national variants. Over time, some characters have ...

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