- 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 Shift JIS code?

A A character code altered for use with PCs.

Shift JIS is a character code based on the JIS standards JIS X 0201 and JIS X 0208 in which the code numbers have been altered to make them easier to handle.
For this reason, the characters that can be used are those specified by the above two standards.
However, because different makers have applied their own proprietary extensions to the characters that can be used, in many cases it is possible to use characters that are not in the JIS standards. For example, circled numbers and Roman numerals are proprietary extensions.
Unfortunately, usage of such characters can often cause problems during data transfer, so their use is not encouraged. When the characters available are insufficient, it is necessary to use a character set that contains more characters, or utilize a system that is designed to handle those problems, such as XKP.
Basically, the characters available are limited to those in JIS X 0208, which makes it unsuitable for large-scale use.
In addition, as the year of compliancy to the JIS code varies between makers and devices, there may be some differences in their content.
Furthermore, it is not fully expandable, and in its present form it has no method for increasing the number of characters contained.
Shift JIS is based on the concepts of full-width and half-width characters, as well as one- and two-byte characters. These were used as methods of expression during the 1980s, when PC functionality was limited, but now, when PCs have greatly improved, the idea of full-width and half-width characters has been disposed with, and it is more usual to specify the character size and other elements through the choice of font.

Example of characters from maker's proprietary extensions