- Contents -
  Q What is a personal computer?
  Q How do personal computers output Kanji?
  Q What is a font?
  Q What is a character code?
  Q How are Kanji input?
  Q Is it impossible to use characters not in the character set?
  Q Do I only need a user-defined character editor to use user-defined characters?
  Q How do I input user-defined characters with IME?
  Q Is it possible to use characters from mainframes?
  Q What is the JIS code?
  Q What is the Shift JIS code?
  Q What is Unicode?
  Q How long will it take for Unicode to become available?
  Q What is XKP?
  Q Can user-defined characters be transferred using XKP?
  Q Is it possible to use more user-defined characters than the number of character codes available?
  Q Can XKP user-defined characters be printed?

Japanese Processing Guidebook


Q What is the JIS code?

A This normally indicates the JIS X 0208 standard.

JIS covers several standards relating to character sets.

  • JIS X 0201-1997 Encoded character set for data exchange using 7 and 8 bits
    This specifies alphabetical and katakana characters.

  • JIS X 0202-1991 Method for extending encodings for data exchange
    This defines a method for using several character codes, including both 1 and 2 byte characters, on the same system by switching between them.

  • JIS X 0208:1997 Two-byte encoded Kanji character set for data exchange using 7 and 8 bits
    This specifies a character set based around often-used Kanji. It contains 6879 characters.

  • JIS X 0212-1990 Encoded Kanji for data exchange: Supplementary Kanji
    This is a standard that includes seldom-used Kanji for use in addition to those contained in JIS X 0208. These are called supplementary Kanji. It contains 6067 characters.

  • JIS X 0221-1995 Universal Character Set (UCS) First section: Outline and basic multilingual set
    This is an international character set containing roughly the same characters from around the world as Unicode does. With regard to Japanese characters, it holds the equivalent of JIS X 0208 and JIS X 0212.

Of these, the phrase "JIS code" is usually used to refer to JIS X 0208.
However, JIS X 0208 has been undergone several proprietary extensions by different companies. These extended character sets cannot truly be said to be JIS X 0208. When using the terms JIS X 0208 or JIS code, it is better to think of them as not including user-defined characters or makers' proprietary characters (machine-dependent characters).
Furthermore, JIS X 0208 itself varies depending on the year of creation. In particular, in the shift from JIS X 0208-1978, created in 1978, to JIS X 0208-1983, created in 1983, the positions of several characters were exchanged. This means that when sending data from a device compliant with JIS X 0208-1978 to devices compliant with later standards, the characters used may change.