Re: VIC-1001 character ROM (901460-02) archived

From: Ethan Dicks (
Date: 2001-10-03 19:13:13

--- peter karlsson <> wrote:
> Marko Mäkelä:
> > Does someone on this list have knowledge of Japanese character sets?

Me.  I can read and write Hirigana and Katakana, but I only know a few
Kanji.  For those that don't know the difference, Hirigana and Katakana
(collectively "Kana") are syllabic symbols, not an alphabet in the
Western sense.  Each symbol (with the exception of "N") is a consonant-
vowel pair.  It makes for interesting transliterations of western
words because you can't have adjacent consonants making words like "McDonald's
Hamburger" tough to say.  Kanji are borrowed Chinese symbols that are
pictographic in origin, and can mean a variety of things depending on context.
To be minimally literate in Japan requires knowning the approximately 50
Hirigana symbols.  To be functionally literate requires both sets of Kana
(about 100 total) and about 2000 Kanji.  I have a _looong_ way to go.

Hirigana are used as grammatical endings of Kanji verbs and to spell native
Japanese words.  Katakana are used for emphasis, like we use italics, for
telegrams, like we use all caps, and foreign words.  They are simpler and
more angular, making them easier to represent in dot-matrix form.  There
was a Katakana ROM set for the DECwriter console printers of the 1970s,
my first exposure to them.  

> > It'd be interesting to see whether the Japanese (Kanji?) character set of
> > the VIC-1001 is complete, or if some characters are missing.

I would expect that there had better be about 48-50 Kana or you can't spell
most words.  There are a couple archaic ones in the "W" row that are somewhat
optional, but you kinda need "A-I-U-E-O, KA-KI-KU-KE-KO, SA-SHI-SU-SE-SO", etc.

> A good check would be to compare to the code charts at
> (I am guessing that it is Hiragana that is
> used on the VIC).

Katakana are easier to draw on a simple grid, so that's what I would expect.

> And while you're at it,
> is a good place to contribute a conversion table to... :)

I tried to visit it, but I got lots of 404 errors.

I would be happy to make a conversion chart, but what format would be
useful to people?  A simple PETSCII grid?


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