Macrons -- to Ô or not to O?

In books you've seen Japanese words printed with "" and with "o". They are pronounced differently, and ignoring the macron (or bar) can completely change the meaning of the word. In Japanese translations, macrons can also appear over the letters "u" and "a", but this is less common.

Here's the problem. Although printed books use the macron in typesetting, macrons are not available in the ISO Latin-1 character set, the standard across the World Wide Web.

For a while here at ShinHanga.net we started using a transparent GIF image which looks like this: . Not bad, but it can't be used for other font sizes, bold, italics, nor any combinations thereof. Plus the surrounding text looks a little different among browsers. And if the viewer has customized their browser settings, forget it!

What's more, a word containing a macron can get broken up at the end of a line, since the GIF image isn't really part of the word. What a headache.

On May 1, 2000, we threw in the towel. The closest symbol to the macron is the accent circonflex (for you French buffs), which is available in these ISO Latin-1 characters: ô, Ô, ô, Ô, ô, Ô, ô, Ô, û, Û, û, Û, û, Û, etc., etc.

It's a big compromise, but other websites have been using this, and we'll just have to wait for a better solution. Until then, material published here will use the "funny hat". We regret any confusion, and thank you for your understanding.


News Update -- 6/7/01

Help is coming! One of our members noticed that the web deities are adding characters from the Unicode Latin Extended-A block. Huh? Well, it contains almost all of the non-ISO-8859-1 characters included in the ISO-8859-2, ISO-8859-3, ISO-8859-4, and ISO-8859-9 character sets, and best of all, our precious macron vowels.

If your browser can read these, you're ready!

Ō and ō

bold Ō and ō

italics Ō and ō

bold italics Ō and ō

Ō and ō

bold Ō and ō

italics Ō and ō

bold italics Ō and ō


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