Konjaku Mojikyo

Archive of messages on the PMJS mailing list concerning the Konjaku Mojikyo font project. Unlike previous archives, this combines messages exchanged at widely separated intervals (Nov. 23, 1999 - ) .

Topic raised by: Michael Watson
Discussants: John Schmitt-Weigand, Janine Beichman, Nobumi Iyanaga

See general note on editing. There are two versions of this page: with kanji (default version) and without kanji (-->mojikyo-e).

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Konjaku Mojikyo CD-ROM

  • ¡Ì•¶Žš‹¾ iŠÄCFÎì’‰‹vA•ÒWF•¶Žš‹¾Œ¤‹†‰ïj
  • Covers 90,000 characters used in Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese
  • search by yomi, stroke order, radical, component part, English meaning, pin'yin reading, Korean reading, or Daikanwa (Morohashi) number
  • see English introduction on Konjaku mojikyo site.
  • True-type fonts can be saved to clipboard and pasted into any file
  • GIF images of characters can be incorporated into web pages
  • ISBN 4-314-90009-1. CD-ROM package costs 28,000 yen.
  • OS: Windows 95, 98, NT 4.0. CPU: 75 MHz or above. Memory 32 MB or more. Hard disk: 100 MB (CD-ROM used in installation only)
  • Mac fonts can be downloaded free from site. They DO work, I can assure you.
  • The Stanford Center for Buddhist Studies is now a mirror site to speed downloads. NEW
  • Produced by AI Net (045-311-0124) and distributed by Kinokuniya (03-3439-0172)
  • Further information in six languages at: http://www.mojikyo.gr.jp

  • Date: Nov. 23, 1999
    From: Michael Watson
    Subject: CD-ROM resources

    [...] Finally a CD-ROM called "Konjaku Mojikyo" (¡Ì•¶Žš‹¾) AI-NET Corporation 1998. ISBN 4-314-90009-1.

    This contains TrueType fonts for 80,000 kanji and other characters (Sanskrit, for example). The excellent search engine allows you to search by radical or element, reading (Chinese, Korean or Japanese)... The characters you find can be used for printing (TrueType fonts are clear) or for web-pages (gif images are included). In my case the first character I searched for was NUE--the name of the monster Yorimasa kills (Heike & noh). Not the JIS character evening+bird but sky+bird, the form used in most Heike editions. I found it at once, of course. For more details, the Mojikyo net pages give information in several languages: http://www.mojikyo.gr.jp/ The characters sets _can_ be downloaded from this site, but it is surely easier to have them on CD-ROM.

    Windows only for now, although the site is Mac-friendly in other ways. This Japanese-only page explains more about the CD-ROM and how to order it: http://www.mojikyo.gr.jp/html/mojikyo/index.html
    [Site now has much more information now available in English (April 2000)]

    The price is not inconsiderable (28,000 yen) but if your research leads you into areas where the JIS limitations hurt (less than 7000 characters available), then this is surely the answer. [...]

    From: John Schmitt-Weigand
    Date: 24 Nov., 1999

    I am using the Konjaku Mojikyo fonts and find them very helpful. I downloaded the free version from the web, which is apparently identical with the commercial version available apart from the more sophisticated character search engine in the latter. The search for a given character is a little bit clumsy with the free version, offering only the way over the radical index, but, alas, it works. I am especially happy to be able to use the fonts with pLaTex2e. The installation of the Tex-fonts was problematic due to a bug which took me days to find and solve (anyone who has problems installing the Mojikyo Tex-fonts contact me). I think the whole project is a great idea, and eliminating the need to build your own gaiji for non-JIS characters. As Michael already indicated it contains a lot of stuff that will probably never make it's way into the Unifont character set like palaeographic versions (oracle bone characters...) or hentaigana. As UNIX and Windows versions are already available, the only thing that lacks is the Mac font.

    In addition to the resources mentioned by Michael I would like to introduce the "Nichigai nandokugo koyumei daijiten" “úŠO“ï“ÇŒêEŒÅ—L–¼‘厫“T by SystemSoft, based on a row of reference works originally edited by Nichigai Associates. It is very helpful when checking the correct readings of difficult geographical names, temples and shrines and others. The function for looking up titles of works of pre modern literature (especially Edo period plays etc.) is helpful too. Apart from the reading, basic information is given (location of a place or temple/shrine, author/period of a work of literature etc.). Coverage according to the publisher: general "nandokugo": 14.000 place names: 56.000 temples/shrines: 24.000 plants/anmials: 28.000 rivers: 26.000 (hard to believe, so many in rivers in Japan!) Kabuki/Joruri play titles: 15.000 (even harder to believe) works of literature (general): 10.000 Price is around 20.000 Y, not actually cheap, but maybe worth it for those who stumble over difficult place names etc. frequently. I use it with Windoze, but I think a Mac version is also available. It is possible to install the complete dictionary data on the hard disk. http://www.systemsoft.co.jp

    For 9.300 Y comes Gakken's "Super Nihongo daijiten", including the "Gakken kokugo daijiten" and the "Gakken kanwa daijiten", probably known to most of you. It also includes "Katakana shingo jiten", a "Koji kotowaza jiten", a "Zen'yaku yorei kogo jiten" and all kinds of stuff for playing around like a multimedia "Hyakunin isshu". The "kogo jiten" has a very limited number of entries and if you are looking for a serious kogo jiten on CD-ROM, this can *not* be recommended. However, the "Gakken kanwa daijiten" is maybe alone worth buying it and the "Gakken kokugo daijiten" is a nice dictionary for modern Japanese, that also, quite rare for Japanese dictionaries, has a thesaurus function. It is possible to install the text data on the hard disk. This CD-ROM is available for Windows, I haven't seen a Mac version yet.
    What I really miss is a good kogo jiten on CD-ROM. Kadokawa have just completed their 5 volume "Kogo daijiten", but I haven't heard anything of a CD-ROM version so far. Same is true for the dictionary I would most desperately like to see on CD-ROM, the "Nihon kokugo daijiten"...

    From: Janine Beichman
    Date: 2 March, 2000

    I am trying to input texts which use pre-war kanji, that is, kyuuji. I can find some of the kyuuji on the CD-rom of Super Nihongo Daijiten, from where I copy them into my word processor (Word Perfect J Version 8). Super Nihongo Daijiten seems to have kanji which look quite different in their old and new versions, like kuro (black) or tsutau (tsutaeru, to transmit). But it does not have kanji which are just a little different, like the old and new versions of "asa" morning, or "to" door. Does anyone have any ideas for how I could get them? I want to make sure everyone who might know sees this so, forgive me, but I am cross-posting this. Please feel free to answer either on or off list.

    P.S.My operation system is Windows 95, and I use a pc, not a mac.

    From: Michael Watson
    Date: 8 Dec, 1999

    Mini-lecture first, then a suggested work-around using MOJIKYO, the software I mentioned some time ago on the pmjs list.

    Like many of you, I suspect, I keep returning to the problem of inputting pre-war kanji in the hope that there has been some technical breakthrough or bureaucratic change of policy that I've not heard about. Recently Unicode is often spoken about as the Holy Grail for those suffering from font limitations--we'll certainly soon have access to 10 times more characters than are currently easily available--but it won't be the be-all-cure-all. There will always be some rare kanji, strange itaiji and new zokuji that we don't have. It's in the nature of the beast.

    Living like Janine in Japan, I believe that the first thing to understand is the mindset of the Japanese bureaucrat. The needs of historical/literary scholars were not the main consideration in the mind of those who sat down in 1978 and decided on which 6000+ characters should be included in the JIS computer code. They were very concerned about Japanese proper names, which is why JIS includes four possible way of writing the second kanji in WATANABE, the two standard modern ones (bu/be and atari) and the two "proper" ways of writing the latter form (kyuukanji in 17 strokes and 19 strokes)

    For those with J display (& magnifying glasses): “n•”A“n•ÓA“n粁A“nç³

    Think of it from the village/city/ward office koseki perspective. When the computer began to be used for registration purposes, this distinction was considered an essential one to preserve, to distinguish between all those Watanabe. (We had a heated debate in our university about this very name--whether in the interests of simplicity we should use the only two basic WATANABE forms in class rolls, or whether we should respect the rights of individuals to use kyuukanji.) The same policy was applied to the oddest and rarest current Japanese place name, included at the expense of many kanji needed in older documents.

    (A parenthetical premodern note: JIS restrictions are a problem in making electronic texts of many classics. In the case of _Heike monogatari_, for example, many Chinese personal and place names cannot be written with JIS kanji, "old" or "new"--e.g. "Han Valley and the Two *Yao* [...] the Great River, the *Jing*, and the Wei" HM 7.15, quoting from McCullough translation p. 246)

    In the case of the kyuu/shin differences in the examples you cite--a question of whether certain strokes are diagonal (old forms) or horizontal (modern)-- the new kanji is apparently considered a satisfactory substitute for the old.

    > But it does not have kanji which are just a little different, like the old
    > and new versions of "asa" morning, or "to" door.

    In cases like this the old form was not retained in the current JIS set. Several hundred kanji are represented in JIS in two forms, old and new. I have a list of 256 "doublets" on an old page of mine: http://www.meijigakuin.ac.jp/~watson/ref/kyukanji.html

    These are just some I came across in working on _Heike_. Others exist within the basic JIS set, but as Janine notes, in many cases the older form has been dropped. There _are_ solutions, but the question depends what you want to do with the kanji:
    (1) display it on your own computer screen
    (2) print it out
    (3) include it in a file sent to someone else (colleague/publisher)

    For purposes (1) and (2) one method I used for a number of years was to "borrow" from the larger set of ?15,000 traditional Chinese characters available in the Chinese language kit for Mac. (For purpose 3, the usual way being then to print out/write in the non-standard character and ask the publisher to provide it from their larger font stock, or to make a gaiji.)

    The problem is now largely solved by MOJIKYO. The fonts (TrueType for either Windows or Macintosh) can be freely downloaded from their website-- http://www.mojikyo.gr.jp/ --but to make best use of them it is essential to have the software for searching for the desired kanji--Windows-only at present.

    This is how it is possible to use Mojikyo to look up the older character for ASA (morning) and paste it into your word processing document.

    (1) in main search window, input modern kanji for ASA into search box

    (2) "kensaku kooho" window appears with choice of two characters, modern and older ASA (the latter with diagonals in the "moon" element). Double-click this to bring up...

    (3) "moji joohoo" window displaying older ASA, information about it (onyomi: CHOO, kunyomi: asa, ashita, eigo: morning, bushu: fune, zokusei: kihonji, moji bangoo: 14374, Taishuukan Daikanwa vol. and page number). Six other variants of the character are given, including the kookotsu-moji (most ancient type) and familiar shinji. (4) click on the button to "copy to clipboard"

    (5) switch to word processor file

    (6) paste character into text file.

    Not as easy as entering the yomi and hitting the space bar, but no harder than looking up the character in your CD-ROM dictionary. (For alternative forms of characters that are likely to be included in JIS, I also use a dictionary, Grand-JISPA, stored on the hard disk and so always available. Exists both for Mac and Windows.)

    With Mojikyo instead of (4), you can click another to choose the format to be copied. "Rich text" is the default. Others include Unicode, Bitmat image and images of different sizes suitable for webpages. These are image links to pages on the Mojikyo site, and will display on any browser, whatever the operating system. The 24 point image of the old ASA character is displayed at: http://www.mojikyo.gr.jp/gif/014/014374.gif

    The default option of rich text installs a TrueType character which looks acceptable when printed--unlike bitmat. The full name of Mojikyo is "Konjaku moji kyo" ¡Ì•¶Žš‹¾ (modern/ancient/character/mirror). It includes 80,000 characters. (Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Sanskrit, and those wonderful ancient forms too)

    Now the painful part: CD-ROM package is 28,000 yen. OS: Windows 95, 98, NT 4.0. CPU: 75 MHz or above. Memory 32 MB or more. Hard disk: 100 MB (CD-ROM used in installation only) Produced by AI Net (045-311-0124), distributed by Kinokuniya (03-3439-0172) Further information in six languages at: http://www.mojikyo.gr.jp

    Hope this helps.

    From: John Schmitt-Weigand
    Date: 3 March, 1999

    Thank you Michael for the interesting explanation of the origins of the JIS limitations and the description of the Mojikyo font set. There are one or two smaller things that I would like to add to make things a little bit clearer for those who have never heard of the Mojikyo font project.

    There are basically two versions, a "free" one (can be downloaded from mojikyo's webpage or ordered as CD-ROM version for about 2,000 yen including material, handling and shipping) or the commercial version specified by Michael, that is available at bigger bookstores and computer shops (I would recommend the latter, because they sometimes have discounts on software; I just recently saw the Konjaku Mojikyo for 25,000 Y at "Pasokon no yakata", I think they have shops in Tokyo too?).

    This is what should be observed concerning the differences of the free and the commercial version: 1) the kanji search & input interface for the free version is quite primitive and allows searching only by order of the radical (bushu); that can be rather clumsy if you want to input a large number of Mojikyo characters 2) additional info on the character (reading, english meaning etc.) is not given 3) the fonts included are absolutely the same quality (True Type Fonts) and can be embedded in PDF documents. 4) the free version allows usage of the fonts only for private or educational purposes; for use in publishing (=commercial use) you have to buy the commercial version

    I think the whole Mojikyo font project is something really great that deserves our support, the only bitter pill being the price of the commercial version. The project is unique in the respect that its fonts are continuously developed and that it allows users to contribute to it, that is, make suggestions of new characters to be included, which will then become available for everyone, when a new version of the font is released. As Michael pointed out, the character sets of Unicode will not be a sufficient answer to the needs of many of us working with old and unusual characters and it is to hope that the Mojikyo fonts become something like a standard, especially as they are basically free and available for different platforms like UNIX/ LINUX, Macintosh and Windows.

    From: Michael Watson
    Date: 27 March 1999

    I was asked off list whether any Mac version of the kanji software Konjaku mojikyo was in the works. Online rumours gave me hope, so I wrote to the Mojikyo kenkyukai directly. Alas the word from the horse's mouth is no. A prompt and courteous reply explained that efforts to develop a Mac version were abandoned, and are not planned for the future. They will however continue to support Mac version fonts (downloadable from the web).

    For those joining this thread, see the information and links at
    In brief, Mojikyo has developed 80,000 TrueType characters that can be used for display and printing, a great boon for those of us working with older kanji. The Windows-only CD-ROM contains an excellent search tool (by yomi, radical, element, etc.)

    I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news for Mac users. One could always beg/borrow/steal an old Windows machine to run the software so as to identify the unique number assigned to the character.

    From: Nobumi Iyanaga
    Date: Fri, 12 May 2000
    Subject: Mojikyo mirror site at Stanford

    I am an independent researcher in the field of Buddhist studies, and I am interested especially in the Buddhist mythology from India to Japan. I will certainly write on my speciality in this list. But today, I would like to talk about another field of my interests, which is the use of computer in Asian studies. I am a user of Mac for about 9 years, and although I have no special technical knowledge, I am interested in the use of computer in our studies, and in the problems related to the exchange of
    data cross-platform, etc.

    I looked at the archives of this list, and I saw that there were quite a few messages related to the Mojikyo fonts and problems of gaijis, etc. As a member of the Mojikyo Institute, I worked to convert Mojikyo fonts to the Mac OS, and created other Mac files to be used with them. If you have any
    problem using these fonts or files, please let me know; and anyway, I would be very grateful to have any feed-back on my work.

    On the other hand, I am glad to announce that very recently, a mirror site of Mojikyo fonts has been set up at the Stanford Center for Buddhist Studies, thanks to the kindess of the people working at this Center. The main url is:


    Now, it will be much easier to download Mojikyo huge fonts from the U.S. or Europe.

    I hope that this new mirror site will be useful for many people.

    Best regards,

    Nobumi Iyanaga

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