Jiu zixing


Jiu zixing (Chinese: 旧字形; simplified Chinese: 旧字形; traditional Chinese: 舊字形; pinyin: jiù zìxíng; lit. 'Old character form'), also known as inherited glyphs form (Chinese: 传承字形; simplified Chinese: 传承字形; traditional Chinese: 傳承字形; pinyin: chuánchéng zìxíng), or traditional glyph form (Chinese: 传统字形; simplified Chinese: 传统字形; traditional Chinese: 傳統字形; pinyin: chuántǒng zìxíng, not to be confused with Traditional Chinese), is a traditional printing orthography form of Chinese character which uses the orthodox forms, mainly referring to the traditional Chinese character glyphs, especially the printed forms after movable type printing. Jiu zixing is formed in the Ming Dynasty, and is also known as Kyūjitai in Japan; it also refers to the characters used in China before the Chinese writing reform and the issuing of 1964 "List of Character Forms of Common Chinese characters for Publishing".

Broadly speaking, jiu zixing also refers to the character forms used in printing Chinese before reformation by national stardardization, e.g. xin zixing (Chinese: 新字形; pinyin: xīn zìxíng; lit. 'New character form') in mainland China, Standard Form of National Characters in Taiwan, and List of Graphemes of Commonly-Used Chinese Characters in Hong Kong; jiu zixing is generally the opposite form of the standards. The representative books that used jiu zixing includes "Kangxi Dictionary", "Zhongwen Da Cidian", "Dahanhe Cidian", "Chinese-Korean Dictionary", and "Zhonghua Da Zidian".

There are several standards of jiu zixing developed by scholars before, but there is no single enforced standard. Variations of jiu zixing standard can be see in Kangxi Dictionary, Old Chinese printing form, Korean Hanja, some printing forms in Taiwan and MingLiU in Windows 98 and earlier versions; slight differences may occur between different jiu zixing standards. Currently there are also open-sourced communities that developed and maintain modern jiu zixing standards that are based on and/or unify other jiu zixing forms from academic researches.


During the woodblock printing era, words are usually carved in handwritten form (regular script) as each woodblock is different, making the job tedious per printed book. The development of wooden movable type in Song dynasty has caused the Chinese characters to take on a more rectangular form following the wood texture of the pieces. Vertical strokes are thicken to reduce engraving loss, while a little triangle is added at the end of horizontal stroke and start of vertical stroke to improve the legibility of text even after the pieces are worn out by long-term use. As the character styles start to differ widely from regular script, the calligraphic methods used on regular scripts could not be used on movable type characters and a new distinctive style designated for movable type is born. This style is developed fully in Ming dynasty, which now develops to Ming typefaces.[1]

Comparing the style between movable type and woodblock, it can be noticed that movable type characters - which is the basics of jiu zixing today - is different from the random and changing nature of handwritten regular script, and emphasize clear strokes and beautiful, symmetric structure of characters. Movable type characters also emphasize the philology aspects of Chinese characters than regular script.


Compared to regular script form and xin zixing which is based on regular script form, jiu zixing has many differences from xin zixing. The nomenclature for strokes here uses the inherited name.

From outlookEdit

  • Breaking of strokes:[2] In components such as "𠃊", "𠄌", "𡿨", where the connection of compound strokes may be complicated, vertical strokes are extended outward of diagonal stroke, and horizontal stokes extend outward of vertical strokes.[3]
    • Stable leg: In components such as "口", "囗", "凵", "山", both side of the character should have the legs extended, i.e. obeying the breaking of "𠃊" stroke to stabilize the character and prevent tipping from occurring. Xin zixing standards are hard to achieve this stable form.
  • No prevention of heavy press stroke (避重捺): When two or more press (捺,㇏) appear in a single character, keep both presses instead of changing one of the press to dot (点/點,丶). Example: last stroke of "食", eighth stroke of "焚".
    • Last press stroke (末捺): Characters that contain components with last stroke as press, such as "木", "禾", "大", should not convert the press to a dot when it is unnecessary, for example at the right side or bottom of a character.
    • Start of press: Some jiu zixing standards add an extra stroke at the start of press, for example an upward horizontal stroke (挑,㇀) before a press (such as "乂") or a horizontal stroke (横,㇐) before a press (such as "入", "八").
  • · : Last stroke is a dot-upward horizontal stroke (点挑, ).
  • : First stroke is a throw-dot stroke (撇点,㇛), not a throw-upward horizontal stroke (撇折,㇜)[note 1].
  • : The bottom should be a shape of "𡭔" intimating silk-like coil, not "小" or three dots[note 2].
  • : Written as dot, dot, horizontal-vertical, upward horizontal–flat press (平捺, ), not like regular script of "⻎" or xin zixing "⻌".
  • : First stroke is a wilted dot (or vertical dot, 竖点, )[note 3].
  • : Last stroke is a horizontal stroke[note 4].

From philologyEdit

  • : Some characters in regular script are written with a dot[note 5], it is a wilted dot in jiu zixing, such as "立", "文", "亢", "高", "主". Etymological, the first stroke comes from the shape of a person's head or the top of a building.
  • 𠄞: Some characters in regular script are written with a dot[note 6], it is a horizontal stroke in jiu zixing, such as "辛", "童", "龍", "言", "音". Etymological, the first horizontal stroke mostly comes from component "辛" or "䇂", or from the indicating symbol in "言" (representing the top of "舌"/tongue).
  • : Not as "亽". Example as "今", "令", "食".
  • : Follows "入", not as "人" (内).
  • : Top part follows "𠄞" (shape like "二"). Not as "礻".
  • : Follows "犬" with extra throw (撇,丿), not as "友" with extra dot.
  • : The structure of throw-dot (撇-点) on top of a horizontal stroke in a few characters such as "半, "平", "肖", this component should not be as "丷" shape.
  • : Follows "冫" (water), not as two dots "⺀".
  • : Follows "ㄗ" [note 7], shaping like a person kneeling, not as "龴".
  • : Right side follows "人", not as "卜".
  • : Third stroke is a throw (撇,丿), not a dot(点,丶)[note 8].

Separated componentsEdit

  • · : First is for "匡", "匱", "匯" etc.; second is for "匿", "區", "匹" etc.
  • · 𠤎: First is for "能", "比", "此", "鹿" etc.; second is for "化", "花" etc.
  • · Right side of [note 9]: First is for "迅", "訊", "汛" etc.; second is for "巩", "恐", "筑" etc.
  • · Right side of [note 10]: First is for "丸", "紈", "汍" etc.; second is for "熟", "熱", "執", "藝" etc.
  • · [note 11] · [note 12] · Left side of [note 13]: Respectively for "明/期/朗" (moon related); "肌/胎/胡" (meat related); "靑/淸/靜"; "服/朕/勝".
  • [note 14] · : First is for "胄" etc.; second is for "冑", "冒" etc.
  • · Right side of : First is for "設", "般", "段" etc.; second is for "沒", "莈", "歿" etc.
  • · Top of [note 15]: First is for "孝", "嗜" etc.; second is for "者", "諸" etc.
  • 𧶠 · : First is for "續", "讀", "櫝", "竇" etc.,"𧶠" is the vocal part of pictophonetic characters; second is for "賣"[note 16].


Kangxi DictionaryEdit

"Kangxi Dictionary" is viewed as a standard of jiu zixing and its character forms are referenced by multiple standards. In Taiwan it can generally be mean as jiu zixing. This name may also be referencing the computer font "TypeLand 康熙字典體". "Kangxi Dictionary" has a few taboo words, such as "弘" and "玄", which should be corrected in current use.

Example fontEdit

  • TypeLand 康熙字典體
  • 文悦古典明朝体
  • 文悦古体仿宋(聚珍仿宋)
  • 浙江民間書刻體
  • 汲古書體

Standard printing characters in KoreaEdit

Character forms depicted in KS X 1001 and KS X 1002 can usually be used as jiu zixing, but some fonts may not adheres to "Kangxi Dictionary", such as the first stroke of "言" is a wilted dot (or vertical dot, 竖点, ), some componenets of "儿" is made to "几", etc.

Kyūjitai in JapanEdit

Characters form used before Japan released JIS X 0218 standard (later expanded tp JIS X 2013). In 2004, the revised version JIS X 0213:2004 has changed some character forms back to Kyūjitai[4][circular reference]. Some characters have two or more forms listed.

Checklist of Inherited GlyphsEdit

"Checklist of Inherited Glyphs" is an open source public orthography standard compiled and released by civil open source organization "Ichitenfont". The standard and its annex is available for all font foundries to reference and follow. The checklist standard is made with philology research and striking a balance between philology research, orthography theory, current usage and aesthetics.[5] Mixed components in current standards are separated and normalized to different character forms, and the most representative inherited character form is chosen as the recommended form. The standard also includes other orthography form that are seen in normal daily lives which also has legitimate philology source, providing font foundries more options to adjust and adapt the character forms that follows philology sources.

Example fontEdit

  • I.Ming (I.明體, also known as "一點明體"), modified and extended from IPAmj Mincho[6]
  • Hong Kong Character Set Project Traditional Orthography version

Other amorphous jiu zixing orthography standardsEdit

Character form before the Chinese Character ReformationEdit

Before the Chinese Character Reformation, normal printing press used jiu zixing as the character standard.

Current generation amorphous standardsEdit

The style follows jiu zixing forms and styles, but some fonts may changed the strokes to follow current standard and become xin zixing, and not fully follow the character forms in jiu zixing or "Kangxi Dictionary".

Licensed fontsEdit
  • Taiwanese font foundries
    • Arphic Technology
      • 文鼎黑體
      • 文鼎書苑黑體
      • 文鼎明體
      • 文鼎圓體
    • DynaComware
      • 華康黑體 (Except 細黑/W3)
      • 細明體(Version 5.03 and later follows Standard Form of National Characters
        Character form following Standard Form of National Characters after MingLiU update package
      • 華康明體
      • 華康圓體
  • Chinese font foundries
    • FounderType
      • 方正新秀麗
      • 方正平黑
      • 方正粗黑
      • 華光秀麗體
      • 方正幼線_BIG5
      • 方正蘭亭黑_BIG5 (Built-in font as "蘭亭黑-繁" in macOS)
      • 方正粗圓_BIG5
  • Korean font foundries
    • New Batang
    • New Gulim
    • New Gungsuh (This standard script font follows jiu zixing, which may have some character forms out of place compared to other regular script fonts, such as "辶" having two dots)
  • Japanese font foundries
    • 森澤UD黎明體B5HK
Modified fontEdit
  • 明蘭 (Merged and modified from メイリオ and 方正蘭亭黑)
  • 新明蘭 (Merged and modified from メイリオ, 方正蘭亭黑 and 微軟雅黑)
  • 新月蘭 (Merged and modified from 新ゴ and 方正蘭亭黑)
  • 不明體 (Merged and modified from ヒラギノ明朝, 小塚明朝 etc.)
  • 靑楓黑體 (Old name: Zauri Sans/塚源黑體; merged and modified from 小塚ゴシック/思源黑體)
  • 雲林黑體 (Old name: 冬青黑體舊字形; modified from 冬青黑體/ヒラギノ角ゴシック)
  • 汀明體 (Modified from 細明體)
  • 韓明體 (Modified from Korean New Batang)
  • 光明體 (Modified from 華康明朝體W3-A)
  • 一點明體 (Modified from TB明朝)
  • 小塚明朝舊字形 (Modified from 小塚明朝)


  1. ^ Some script styles (e.g. Liu Ti) also write this stroke as a throw-dot.
  2. ^ Some script styles (e.g. Liu Ti) also write the bottom part as a shape of "𡭔".
  3. ^ Some script styles also write this stroke as a wilted dot.
  4. ^ Some script styles also write this stroke as a horizontal stroke.
  5. ^ Some script styles also write this stroke as a wilted dot.
  6. ^ Sometimes it is also written as a horizontal stroke.
  7. ^ A variant of "卩".
  8. ^ Some script styles also write this stroke as a throw.
  9. ^ A variant of "丮".
  10. ^ A variant of "丮".
  11. ^ A variant of "肉".
  12. ^ A variant of "丹".
  13. ^ A variant of "舟".
  14. ^ A variant of "⺼"/"肉" when at bottom.
  15. ^ Shape like "耂" with a dot at bottom right corner.
  16. ^ Simplified character is "卖".


  1. ^ Kinkido Type Laboratory - Home Archived 2012-10-04 at the Wayback Machine → ●知る: 漢字書体
  2. ^ Derek Zech (2015-07-18). "大陆新字形宋体中的「避重捺」是什么?有何优势?".
  3. ^ 趙瑾昀 (2014-05-15). "宋體、明朝體等印刷體是如何產生的?".
  4. ^ "Wikipedia - JIS X 0213".
  5. ^ Zonz (2018-03-25). "《傳承字形檢校表》1.10 新版發佈".
  6. ^ "開源字型「I.明體」". 刻石錄. Retrieved 2020-05-25.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

  • Habitat - Hanzi Old Styles