Requirements of Japanese Text Layout

by Rick Jelliffe

I've just caught up with this document from W3C which fills in a big gap in English-language technical material. Japanese typesetting technology has been very influential in the other Ideographic countries, and they share many commonalities (e.g. Japanese ruby text and Taiwanese bopomofo.) There is a Japanese standard JIS X 4051, but it has no translation available: though parts of it, usually called the kinsoku rules, are floating around in material from vendors, particularly Adobe's Ken Lunde and some MS material.

By and large, Chinese and Korean have different details (e.g. different characters) but the same analysis applies.

One term that the W3C draft uses but does not define is kihonhanmen; readers getting held up by this could substitute underlying grid (or text block or even constant width frame) for this.