Anyone know why the written form is different for 令?

I’m studying kanji in Level 11 and have learned 令 (order).

I use the stroke order script and noticed that the written form for 令 (order) is different than the typed format. At first, I thought it might be an error, but it’s also this way in jisho: 令 #kanji -

I’ve noticed that the written form is sometimes slightly different than the typed format, but this seems rather different.

Does anyone know why this?

It’s likely just a design choice the font designer made.
The design still follows stroke order, so it still “looks like” the character.

If you had to rationalize it beyond that, it may be that way to help separate it from other similar looking kanji, like 今. But, truthfully, I really think it was just a design choice.

It’s print font vs handwriting, similar to how in serif fonts g is written with 2 circles. Print vs handwritten さ and そ are the same in that the handwritten forms are slightly different than the print versions.


Not a design choice, handwriting and computer fonts have their differences.

Well known examples are: さ, き, り, 心 but there are obviously a lot more.

I was really confused by this post, since! this is what I see
Screenshot from 2021-03-08 21-03-33

I guess the handwritten form is like the chinese character… (firefox struggles with japanese fonts for some reason)

Edit: interestingly top hit on youtube writes it the same as the computer font


I honestly thought this was about 今 before I went and checked.

This can be due to differences in what fonts you have on your computer, plus whether or not the language is specified on the web page, etc. When you start to get multilingual, things can get weird pretty quickly.

Here’s a vaguely related post I made a while back on a font issue.


I’ve looked into it before and I think there’s just some weirdness going on with firefox and linux…firefox very consistently shows me chinese character sets everywhere unless someone uses the compatability character sets.

Back on topic, I did a little digging and I found this:

They say for hand writing, there’s about a half a dozen acceptable ways so you can write it either way. if I’m reading it correctly, the official way according to the agency for cultural affairs is the more square one, but the rest are all recognised as well.


It seems to appear the same in Firefox for me on Windows:

But notably, I have added the Japanese language pack on Windows and have Japanese as a secondary language in my browsers’ language lists, along with installing multiple Japanese fonts. So, I tend to not encounter these types of character issues on websites and I suspect these may be the reason why.

I’ve got both of these installed, and japanese set as an alternative language, but no dice…

  • Source Han Sans Japanese
  • NotoSansCJK

I’ve got japanese set and everything :man_shrugging:

it’s fine, I can read both…

This article seems to suggest that the reason two forms exist is that the vertical form was easier to carve into woodblocks when those were used for character printing. The form that contains a マ is apparently the older one (and is also the form used in Simplified Chinese, by the way). There are other examples of such character shape changes given in the article. However, it seems that all common written forms are recognised as correct by the Agency for Cultural Affairs. It’s just a matter of preferred style. The form provided in the jōyō kanji list just happens to use the standard 明朝体, but it’s not the only correct form, as illustrated by the examples that are listed starting from page 7 of the jōyō kanji document.


I raise you this in Chrome. lol

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Coming from a UI/UX background, I’d still classify differences between handwritten and font styles as design choices.

This is so interesting to me. Thanks for the responses, everyone.

I’ve noticed in Halpern’s “The Kodansha Kanji Learner’s Dictionary” that it provides the “blocky” version as the kanji entry for command (No. 1725, page 557) and the written form showing stroke order the same as This suggests to me that this is a deliberate quirk with this kanji character and not only found in typeface/computer font issues. Or, put a different way, that the computer font design is only following the convention of the language, which leads to my original question. I’m getting dizzy getting spun around!

I think what’s thrown me off is that my expectation is that the written form would match the kanji character (aside from slight differences). This looks like more than slight differences to me.

Anyway, thanks, Wanikani community, for sharing your insights.

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