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Many East Asian scripts can be written horizontally or vertically.
Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and 14 different count ...

Chinese
,
Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or ...
, Vietnamese Chữ Nôm and
Korean Korean may refer to: People and culture * Koreans Koreans ( South Korean: , , North Korean: , , ; see names of Korea There are various names of Korea in use today, all derived from ancient kingdoms and dynasties. The modern English name " ...

Korean
scripts can be oriented along either axis, as they consist mainly of disconnected logographic or syllabic units, each occupying a square block of space, thus allowing for flexibility for which direction texts can be written, be it horizontally from left-to-right, horizontally from right-to-left, vertically from top-to-bottom, and even vertically from bottom-to-top. Horizontal writing is known in
Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and 14 different count ...
as hengpai (), in
Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or ...

Japanese
as yokogaki (, "horizontal writing", also ''yokogumi'', ), and in
Korean Korean may refer to: People and culture * Koreans Koreans ( South Korean: , , North Korean: , , ; see names of Korea There are various names of Korea in use today, all derived from ancient kingdoms and dynasties. The modern English name " ...
as garosseugi () or ''hoengseo'' (; ); in
Vietnamese language Vietnamese ( vi, tiếng Việt, links=no) is an Austroasiatic language The Austroasiatic languages , also known as Mon–Khmer , are a large language family of Mainland Southeast Asia, also scattered throughout parts of India, Bangladesh, ...

Vietnamese language
as "viết ngang" or "hoành thư"(橫書). Vertical writing is known respectively as zongpai (), tategaki (, "vertical writing", also ''tategumi'', ), or serosseugi () or ''jongseo'' (; ); in Vietnamese language as "viết dọc" or "tung thư"/縱書. Traditionally,
Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and 14 different count ...
,
Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or ...
,
Vietnamese Vietnamese may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Vietnam, a country in Southeast Asia ** A citizen of Vietnam. See Demographics of Vietnam. * Vietnamese people, or Kinh people, a Southeast Asian ethnic group native to Vietnam ** Oversea ...
and
Korean Korean may refer to: People and culture * Koreans Koreans ( South Korean: , , North Korean: , , ; see names of Korea There are various names of Korea in use today, all derived from ancient kingdoms and dynasties. The modern English name " ...
are written vertically in columns going from top to bottom and ordered from right to left, with each new column starting to the left of the preceding one. The
stroke order Stroke order is the order in which the strokes A stroke is a medical condition in which poor blood flow Hemodynamics American and British English spelling differences#ae and oe, or haemodynamics are the Fluid dynamics, dynamics of blood ...
and stroke direction of Chinese characters (''hanzi'' in Chinese, ''
kanji are a set of logographic In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gest ...

kanji
'' in Japanese,
chữ Hán Spoken and written Vietnamese language, Vietnamese today uses the Latin-script based Vietnamese alphabet, the lexicon altogether containing native Vietnamese words derived from the Latin script, Sino-Vietnamese vocabulary, Chinese-Vietnamese word ...
in Vietnamese and ''
hanja Hanja (; Hanja: , , or Hancha) is the Korean Korean may refer to: People and culture * Koreans, ethnic group originating in the Korean Peninsula * Korean cuisine * Korean culture * Korean language **Korean alphabet, known as Hangul or ...

hanja
'' in Korean), Japanese
kana The term may refer to a number of syllabaries In the linguistic Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. ...

kana
, Vietnamese
chữ Nôm Chữ Nôm (, , literally 'Southern characters') is a logographic In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language by means of a writing system. Written language is an invention in that it mu ...
and Korean
Hangul The Korean alphabet, known as Hangul, . Hangul may also be written as following South Korea's standard Romanization. in South Korea South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (ROK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the ...

Hangul
all facilitate writing in this manner. In addition, writing in vertical columns from right to left facilitated writing with a
brush A brush is a common tool with bristle 270px, The bristles of a sweeping brush A bristle is a stiff hair Hair is a protein filament In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including the ...
in the right hand while continually unrolling the sheet of paper or scroll with the left. Since the nineteenth century, it has become increasingly common for these languages to be written horizontally, from left to right, with successive rows going from top to bottom, under the influence of
European language European, or Europeans, may refer to: In general * ''European'', an adjective referring to something of, from, or related to Europe ** Ethnic groups in Europe ** Demographics of Europe ** European cuisine, the cuisines of Europe and other Western ...
s such as English, although vertical writing is still frequently used in
Hong Kong Hong Kong (; , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR), is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Pe ...

Hong Kong
,
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan
,
Macau Macau or Macao (; ; ; ), officially the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (MSAR), (RAEM) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. Lond ...

Macau
,
Korea Korea is a region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the environment (environmental ...

Korea
, and
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
.


Differences between horizontal and vertical writing

Chinese characters, Japanese kana, Vietnamese chữ Nôm and Korean hangul can be written horizontally or vertically. There are some small differences in
orthography An orthography is a set of conventions for writing Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful divisions b ...
. In horizontal writing it is more common to use
Arabic numerals Arabic numerals are the ten numerical digit A numerical digit (often shortened to just digit) is a single symbol used alone (such as "2") or in combinations (such as "25"), to represent numbers in a Positional notation, positional numeral sy ...

Arabic numerals
, whereas
Chinese numerals Chinese numerals are words and characters used to denote number A number is a mathematical object A mathematical object is an abstract concept arising in mathematics. In the usual language of mathematics, an ''object'' is anything that has be ...
are more common in vertical text. In these scripts, the positions of
punctuation Punctuation (or sometimes interpunction) is the use of spacing, conventional signs (called punctuation marks), and certain typographical devices as aids to the understanding and correct reading of written text, whether read silently or aloud. An ...
marks, for example the relative position of commas and full stops (periods), differ between horizontal and vertical writing. Punctuation such as the parentheses, quotation marks, book title marks (Chinese), ellipsis mark, dash, wavy dash (Japanese), proper noun mark (Chinese), wavy book title mark (Chinese), emphasis mark, and '' chōon'' mark (Japanese) are all rotated 90 degrees when switching between horizontal and vertical text. Where a text is written in horizontal format, pages are read in the same order as English books, with the binding at the left and pages progressing to the right. Vertical books are printed the other way round, with the binding at the right, and pages progressing to the left.
Ruby characters Ruby characters or rubi characters () are small, annotative gloss (annotation), glosses that are usually placed above or to the right of logogram, logographic characters of languages in the East Asian cultural sphere, such as Sinitic languages, Ch ...
, like ''
furigana is a Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, ...
'' in Japanese which provides a phonetic guide for unusual or difficult-to-read characters, follow the direction of the main text. Example in Japanese, with
furigana is a Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, ...
in green: However, ''
zhuyin Zhuyin () or Mandarin Phonetic Symbols, also nicknamed Bopomofo, is a major Transliteration of Chinese, Chinese transliteration system for Mandarin Chinese and other related languages and dialects which is nowadays most commonly used in Taiw ...
'' in Taiwanese Chinese is usually written vertically regardless of the direction of the main text. Inserted text in the Roman alphabet is usually written horizontally, or turned sideways when it appears in vertical text, with the base of the characters on the left.


Right-to-left horizontal writing

Historically, vertical writing was the standard system, and horizontal writing was only used where a sign had to fit in a constrained space, such as over the gate of a temple or the signboard of a shop. Therefore, before the end of
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
in Japan, those signs were read right to left. Today, the left-to-right direction is dominant in all three languages for horizontal writing: this is due partly to the influence of English and other Western languages to make it easier to read when the two languages are found together (for example, on signs at an airport or train station), and partly to the increased use of computerized typesetting and word processing software, most of which does not directly support right-to-left layout of East Asian languages. However, right-to-left horizontal writing is still seen in these scripts, in such places as signs, on the right-hand side of vehicles, and on the right-hand side of stands selling food at festivals. It is also used to simulate archaic writing, for example in reconstructions of old
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan
for tourists, and it is still found in the captions and titles of some newspapers.


Left-to-right vertical writing

There are only two types of vertical scripts known to have been written from left to right: the
Old Uyghur script
Old Uyghur script
and its descendants — Traditional Mongolian, Oirat Clear,
Manchu The Manchu (; ) are an officially recognized ethnic minority in China and the people from whom Manchuria Manchuria is an exonym and endonym, exonym for a historical and geographic region of Russia and China in Northeast Asia (mostly in ...
, and
BuryatBuryat or Buriat may refer to: *Buryats, a Mongol people *Buryat language, a Mongolic language *Buryatia, also known as the "Buryat Republic", a federal subject of Russia {{Disambig Language and nationality disambiguation pages ...
— and the 'Phags-pa script. The former developed because the Uyghurs rotated their
Sogdian
Sogdian
-derived script, originally written right to left, 90 degrees counterclockwise to emulate Chinese writing, but without changing the relative orientation of the letters. 'Phags-pa in turn was an adaptation of
Tibetan script The Tibetan script is a segmental writing system (''abugida'') of Brahmic scripts, Indic origin used to write certain Tibetic languages, including Standard Tibetan, Tibetan, Dzongkha, Sikkimese language, Sikkimese, Ladakhi language, Ladakhi, J ...

Tibetan script
written vertically on the model of Mongolian to supplant those writing systems current in the
Mongol Empire The Mongol Empire of the 13th and 14th centuries was the List of largest empires, largest contiguous land empire in history and the second largest empire by landmass, second only to the British Empire. Originating in Mongolia in East Asia, the ...
. Of these, only traditional Mongolian still remains in use today in
Inner Mongolia Inner Mongolia, officially the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, is a landlocked autonomous region An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, unit, region, subdivision, or territory) is a subnati ...

Inner Mongolia
.


History


Chinese

The first printed Chinese text in horizontal alignment was
Robert MorrisonRobert, Bob, Bobby or Rob Morrison may refer to: Academics * Robert Hall Morrison (1798–1889), president of Davidson College * Robert J. H. Morrison (born 1961), Canadian academic * Rob Morrison (scientist) (born 1942), Australian zoological rese ...
's "Dictionary of the Chinese language", published in 1815–1823 in
Macau Macau or Macao (; ; ; ), officially the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (MSAR), (RAEM) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. Lond ...

Macau
. The earliest widely known Chinese publication using horizontal alignment was the magazine ''Science'' (). Its first issue in January 1915 explained the (then) unusual format: : :''This magazine is printed so that it goes sideways from the top left, and is marked with Western punctuation. This is to make the insertion of mathematical, physical and chemical formulae convenient, not for the sake of novelty-hunting. We ask our readers to excuse us.'' In the subsequent decades, the occurrence of words in a Western script (predominantly English) became increasingly frequent, and readers began to appreciate the unwieldiness of rotating the paper at each occurrence for vertically set texts. This accelerated acceptance of horizontal writing. With the proliferation of horizontal text, both horizontal and vertical came to be used concurrently. Proponents of horizontal text argued that vertical text in right-to-left columns was smudged easily when written, and moreover demanded greater movement from the eyes when read. Vertical text proponents considered horizontal text to be a break from established tradition. After the success of the
communist revolution A communist revolution is a proletarian revolution often, but not necessarily, inspired by the ideas of Marxism that aims to replace capitalism with communism. Depending on the type of government, socialism can be used as an intermediate stage ...
in 1949, the
People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

People's Republic of China
decided to use horizontal writing. All newspapers in
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
changed from vertical to horizontal alignment on January 1, 1956. In publications, text is run horizontally although book titles on spines and some newspaper headlines remain vertical for convenience. Inscriptions of signs on most state organs are still vertical. In
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bor ...

Singapore
, vertical writing has also become rare. In
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
,
Hong Kong Hong Kong (; , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR), is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Pe ...

Hong Kong
,
Macau Macau or Macao (; ; ; ), officially the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (MSAR), (RAEM) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. Lond ...

Macau
, and among older
overseas Chinese Overseas Chinese () refers to people of Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by popula ...

overseas Chinese
communities, horizontal writing has been gradually adopted since the 1990s. By the early 2000s, most newspapers in these areas had switched to left-to-right horizontal writing, either entirely or in a combination of vertical text with horizontal left-to-right headings.


Japanese

Horizontal text came into Japanese in the
Meiji era The is an era An era is a span of time defined for the purposes of chronology 222px, Joseph Scaliger's ''De emendatione temporum'' (1583) began the modern science of chronology Chronology (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classic ...
, when the Japanese began to print Western language dictionaries. Initially they printed the dictionaries in a mixture of horizontal Western and vertical Japanese text, which meant readers had to rotate the book ninety degrees to read the Western text. Because this was unwieldy, the idea of ''yokogaki'' came to be accepted. One of the first publications to partially use ''yokogaki'' was a German to Japanese dictionary (, ''Shūchinsōzu Dokuwa Jisho'', "pocket illustrated German to Japanese dictionary") published in 1885 (Meiji 18). At the beginning of the change to horizontal alignment in Meiji era Japan, there was a short-lived form called ''migi yokogaki'' (, literally "right horizontal writing"), in contrast to ''hidari yokogaki'', (, literally "left horizontal writing"), the current standard. This resembled the right-to-left horizontal writing style of languages such as
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
with line breaks on the left. It was probably based on the traditional single-row right-to-left writing. This form was widely used for pre-WWII advertisements and official documents (like banknotes), but has not survived outside of old-fashioned signboards. Vertical writing is still commonly used in Japan in novels, newspapers and magazines, including most Japanese comics and graphic novels (also known as
manga Manga (Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat ...

manga
), while horizontal writing is used more often in other media, especially those containing English language references. In general, dialogue in manga is written vertically. However, in scenes where a character speaks a foreign language, the dialogue may be written horizontally. In this case, there is a mixture of vertical and horizontal writing on a single page.


Korean

Traditionally, Korean writing has been vertical, with columns running right to left. In 1988, ''
The Hankyoreh ''The Hankyoreh'' (, literally "The Korean Nation" or "One Nation") is a centre-left Centre-left politics (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, a ...
'' became the first Korean newspaper to use horizontal writing, and after 1990, all other major newspapers followed suit. Today, major Korean newspapers hardly ever run text vertically.


Vietnamese

Traditionally, Vietnamese writing has been vertical, with columns running right to left as this country used Chinese characters and its variant to write the native language called
chữ Nôm Chữ Nôm (, , literally 'Southern characters') is a logographic In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language by means of a writing system. Written language is an invention in that it mu ...
. But after 1945, when
chữ quốc ngữ The Vietnamese alphabet ( vi, chữ Quốc ngữ, "script of the national language") is the modern Latin writing script or writing system for Vietnamese Vietnamese may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Vietnam, a country in Southeast ...
, a variant of Latin alphabets, starts to be used nationwide to replace Chinese characters and chữ Nôm, the vertical writing is forgotten and modern Vietnamese hardly know about this tradition. However, in Vietnam's Constitution, there is no any scripts recognized as "national script".


Usage


Calligraphy

In East Asian calligraphy, vertical writing remains the dominant direction.


Graphic novels and comics

Japanese graphic novels and comics, also known as
manga Manga (Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat ...

manga
, tend to use vertical direction for text. Manga frames tend to flow in right-to-left horizontal direction. Frames in
yonkoma manga
yonkoma manga
(four-panel manga) tend to flow in a vertical direction. Page ordering is the same as books that use vertical direction: from right to left. Frames that are chronologically before or after each other use less spacing in between as a visual cue. Most manga text (dialog and narration) is written vertically, which dictates the vertical shapes of the
speech bubbles Speech balloons (also speech bubbles, dialogue balloons, or word balloons) are a graphic convention used most commonly in comic books, comics, and cartoons to allow words (and much less often, pictures) to be understood as representing the spee ...

speech bubbles
. Some, however, such as '' Levius'', are aimed at the international market and strive to optimize for translation and localization, therefore make use of horizontal text and speech bubbles. In some cases, horizontal writing in text bubbles may be used to indicate that a translation convention is in use – for example,
Kenshi Hirokane is a Japanese people, Japanese mangaka, manga artist from Iwakuni, Yamaguchi. He graduated from Waseda University with a degree in law, then worked for Matsushita Electric for four years, before making his manga debut in 1974 with ''Kaze Kaoru''. ...
uses Japanese text arranged horizontally to imply that a character is actually speaking in a foreign language, like English. Some publishers that translate manga into European languages may choose to keep the original page order (a notable example is '' Shonen Jump'' magazine), while other publishers may reverse the page flow with use of mirrored pages. When manga was first released in Anglophone countries, it was usually in the reversed format (also known as "flipped" or "flopped"), but the non-reversed format eventually came to predominate.


By modern countries


Japanese and Traditional Chinese

Both horizontal and vertical writing are used in
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan
,
Hong Kong Hong Kong (; , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR), is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Pe ...

Hong Kong
,
Macau Macau or Macao (; ; ; ), officially the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (MSAR), (RAEM) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. Lond ...

Macau
and
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
. Traditional Chinese is also used in
Mainland China The term "mainland China" refers to the area directly governed by the People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies ...

Mainland China
in a few limited contexts, such as some books on ancient literature, or as an aesthetic choice for some signs on shops, temples, etc. In those contexts, both horizontal and vertical writing are used as well. Vertical writing is commonly used for novels, newspapers,
manga Manga (Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat ...

manga
, and many other forms of writing. Because it goes downwards, vertical writing is invariably used on the spines of books. Some newspapers combine the two forms, using the vertical format for most articles but including some written horizontally, especially for
headline The headline or heading is the text indicating the nature of the article below it. The large type ''front page headline'' did not come into use until the late 19th century when increased competition between newspapers led to the use of attention ...

headline
s.
Musical notation Music notation or musical notation is any system used to visually represent aurally perceived music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societ ...
for some Japanese instruments such as the
shakuhachi A is a Japanese and ancient Chinese longitudinal, end-blown flute The end-blown flute (also called an edge-blown flute or rim-blown flute) is a woodwind instrument Woodwind instruments are a family of musical instruments A musical ins ...

shakuhachi
is written vertically. Horizontal writing is easier for some purposes; academic texts are sometimes written this way since they often include words and phrases in other languages, which are more easily incorporated horizontally.
Scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the universe."... modern science is a discovery as well as an invention. ...

Scientific
and
mathematical Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and their changes (cal ...
texts are nearly always written horizontally, since in vertical writing equations must be turned sideways, making them more difficult to read. Similarly, English language textbooks, which contain many English words, are usually printed in horizontal writing. This is not a fixed rule, however, and it is also common to see English words printed sideways in vertical writing texts. Computer text is usually presented in horizontal format; see
Japanese language and computers In relation to the Japanese language and computers many adaptation issues arise, some unique to Japanese language, Japanese and others common to languages which have a very large number of characters. The number of characters needed in order to wr ...
. Business cards in Japan (
meishi Business cards are card stock, cards bearing business information about a company or individual. They are shared during formal introductions as a convenience and a memory aid. A business card typically includes the giver's name, types of comp ...
) are often printed vertically in Japanese on one side, and horizontally in English on the other. Postcards and handwritten letters may be arranged horizontally or vertically, but the more formal the letter the more likely it is to be written vertically. Envelope addresses are usually vertical, with the recipient's address on the right and the recipient's name in the exact centre of the envelope. See also
Japanese etiquette Etiquette in Japan forms common societal expectations of social behavior practiced throughout the nation of Japan. The etiquette of Japan has changed greatly over the millennia as different civilizations influenced its culture. Modern Japanese eti ...
.


Simplified Chinese

In
mainland China The term "mainland China" refers to the area directly governed by the People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies ...

mainland China
, where the
Simplified Chinese Simplified Chinese characters are standardized Chinese characters Chinese characters, also called ''hanzi'' (), are logogram In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language by ...
orthographical reform has been adopted, vertical writing is now comparatively rare, more so in print than in writing and signage. Most publications are now printed in horizontal alignment, like English. Horizontal writing is written left to right in the vast majority of cases, with a few exceptions such as bilingual dictionaries of Chinese and right-to-left scripts like Arabic, in which case Chinese may follow the right-to-left alignment. Right-to-left writing direction can also often be seen on the right side of tourist buses, as it is customary to have the text run (on both sides of the vehicle) from the front of the bus to its rear. Vertical alignment is generally used for artistic or aesthetic purposes (e.g. on logos and book covers), in scholarly works on Classical Chinese literature, or when space constraints demand it (e.g. on the spines of books and in labelling diagrams). Naturally, vertical text is also used on signs that are longer than they are wide; such signs are the norm at the entrances of schools, government offices and police stations. Calligraphy – in Simplified or Traditional Chinese – is invariably written vertically. Additionally, vertical text may still be encountered on some
business card Business cards are card Card or The Card may refer to: People with the name * Card (surname) Arts and entertainment * Playing card A playing card is a piece of specially prepared card stock, heavy paper, thin cardboard, plastic-coate ...

business card
s and personal letters in China. Since 2012, street markings are written vertically, but unorthodoxically from bottom to top. This is so that the characters are read from nearest to furthest from the drivers' perspective.


Korean

In modern
Korea Korea is a region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the environment (environmental ...

Korea
, vertical writing is uncommon. Modern Korean is usually written in left-to-right horizontally. Vertical writing is used when the writing space is long vertically and narrow horizontally. For example, titles on the spines of books are usually written vertically. When a foreign language film is subtitled into Korean, the subtitles are sometimes written vertically at the right side of the screen. In the Standard language (; ) of
South Korea South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (ROK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the southern part of the Korea, Korean Peninsula and sharing a Korean Demilitarized Zone, land border with North Korea. Its western border is for ...

South Korea
, punctuation marks are used differently in horizontal and vertical writing. Western punctuation marks are used in horizontal writing and the Japanese/Eastern-style punctuation marks are used in vertical writing. However, vertical writing using Western punctuation marks is sometimes found.


Vertical writing in computing


Computers

Early computer installations were designed only to support left-to-right horizontal writing based on the
Latin alphabet The Latin alphabet or Roman alphabet is the collection of letters originally used by the ancient Romans In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived ...

Latin alphabet
. Today, most computer programs do not fully support the vertical writing system; however, most advanced word processing and publication software that target the East Asian region support the vertical writing system either fully or to a limited extent. Even though vertical text display is generally not well supported, composing vertical text for print has been made possible. For example, in Asian editions of Windows, Asian fonts are also available in a vertical version, with font names prefixed by "@". Users can compose and edit the document as normal horizontal text. When complete, changing the text font to a vertical font converts the document to vertical orientation for printing purposes. Additionally,
OpenType OpenType is a format for scalable computer font A computer font (or font) is implemented as a digital data file containing a set of graphically related glyphs, characters, or symbols such as dingbats. Although the term ''font'' first referr ...
also has valt, vert, vhal, vkna, vkrn, vpal, vrt2, vrtr "feature tags" to define glyphs that can be transformed or adjusted within vertical text; they can be enabled or disabled in
CSS3 #REDIRECT CSS #REDIRECT CSS #REDIRECT CSS Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a style sheet language used for describing the presentation Introduction A presentation conveys information from a speaker to an audience. Presentations are typ ...
using font-feature-settings property.


Text and layout on World Wide Web

Since the late 1990s, W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) has been draftin
Cascading Style Sheets properties
to enable display on the Web of the various languages of the world according to their heritage text directions. Thei
latest efforts in 2011
show some revisions to the previous format for the Writing Mode property which provides for vertical layout and text display. The format "writing-mode:tb-rl" has been revised as "writing-mode: vertical-rl" in CSS, but the former syntax was preserved as a part of SVG 1.1 specification. Among Web browsers,
Internet Explorer Internet Explorer (formerly Microsoft Internet Explorer and Windows Internet Explorer, (from August 16, 1995 to March 30, 2021) commonly abbreviated IE or MSIE) is a discontinued series of graphical user interface, graphical web browsers develo ...
is the first one that has been supporting vertical text and layout coded in HTML. Starting wit
IE 5.5
in 2000, Microsoft has enabled the writing mode property as a
Microsoft extension to Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
.
Google Chrome Google Chrome is a cross-platform web browser developed by Google. It was first released in 2008 for Microsoft Windows, built with free software components from Apple WebKit and Mozilla Firefox. It was later ported to Linux, macOS, iOS, and An ...

Google Chrome
(since 8.0),
Safari A safari (; ) is an overland journey to hunt Hunting is the practice of seeking, pursuing and capturing or killing wildlife Wildlife traditionally refers to undomesticated animal species (biology), species, but has come to inclu ...
(since 5.1),
Opera Opera is a form of theatre Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actor, actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a s ...
(since 15.0) has supported the -webkit-writing-mode property.
Mozilla Firefox Mozilla Firefox or simply Firefox is a free and open-source Free and open-source software (FOSS) is software that is both free software and open-source software where anyone is free software license, freely licensed to use, copy, study, ...

Mozilla Firefox
got support for unprefixed writing-mode property in version 38.0, later enabled by default in version 41.0.


See also

*
Bi-directional text A bidirectional text contains two text directionalities, right-to-left (RTL or wikt:dextrosinistral, dextrosinistral) and left-to-right (LTR or wikt:sinistrodextral, sinistrodextral). It generally involves text containing different types of alphabe ...
*
Genkō yōshi is a type of Japanese paper used for writing. It is printed with squares, typically 200 or 400 per sheet, each square designed to accommodate a single Japanese character or punctuation mark. ''Genkō yōshi'' may be used with any type of writin ...
*
Stroke order Stroke order is the order in which the strokes A stroke is a medical condition in which poor blood flow Hemodynamics American and British English spelling differences#ae and oe, or haemodynamics are the Fluid dynamics, dynamics of blood ...
*
Writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communic ...


References


Further reading

*''Nihongo Daihakubutsukan'' (), author: Jun'ichirō Kida (), publisher: Just System (, ''Jasuto Shisutemu'') (in Japanese), chapter 9, deals with the change from ''tategaki'' to ''yokogaki'' in modern Japanese. *Ishikawa, Kyuyoh. ''Taction: The Drama of the Stylus in Oriental Calligraphy''. Translated by Waku Miller. Tokyo: International House of Japan, 2011. *Obana, Yasuko.
Vertical or Horizontal? Reading Directions in Japanese
” ''Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London'' 60, no. 1 (1997): 86-94 (available in the JSTOR online journal archive). * Nishiyama, Yutaka. 2010. ''The Mathematics of Direction in Writing''. International Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics
Vol.61, No.3, 347-356.


External links


Styling vertical Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Mongolian text
W3C Internationalization Article 13 March 2017
"CSS Writing Modes Module Level 3"
W3C Working Draft 15 November 2012
Grinols, Mark. "Using vertical layout in Internet Explorer 5.5" (Microsoft Corporation, October 2000)


* ttps://www.unicode.org/notes/tn22/ Unicode Technical Note #22 Robust Vertical Text Layout
Unicode Technical Annex #50 Unicode Vertical Text Layout
{{East Asian topics , state=expanded Chinese characters Chinese language Chinese-language computing Japanese language Japanese writing system Korean language Korean writing system Languages of East Asia Natural language and computing Writing direction