Traditional Chinese characters

Traditional Chinese characters (traditional Chinese: /; simplified Chinese: /, Pinyin: Zhèngtǐzì/Fántǐzì)[3] are one type of standard Chinese character sets of the contemporary written Chinese. The traditional characters had taken shapes since the clerical change and mostly remained in the same structure they took at the introduction of the regular script in the 2nd century.[1] Over the following centuries, traditional characters were regarded as the standard form of printed Chinese characters or literary Chinese throughout the Sinosphere until the middle of the 20th century,[1][4][5] before different script reforms initiated by countries using Chinese characters as a writing system.[4][6][7]

Traditional Chinese
Script type
Time period
Since 2nd century AD[1]
DirectionHistorically: top-to-bottom, columns right-to-left
Currently: also left-to-right
LanguagesChinese, Korean (Hanja)
Related scripts
Parent systems
Child systems
ISO 15924
ISO 15924Hant, 502 , Han (Traditional variant)
 This article contains phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA. For the distinction between [ ], / / and  , see IPA § Brackets and transcription delimiters.
Countries and regions using Chinese characters as a writing system:
Dark Green: Traditional Chinese used officially (Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau)
Green: Simplified Chinese used officially but traditional form is also used in publishing (Singapore and Malaysia)[2]
Light Green: Simplified Chinese used officially, traditional form in daily use is uncommon (China, Kokang and Wa State of Myanmar)
Cyan: Chinese characters are used in parallel with other scripts in respective native languages (South Korea, Japan)
Yellow: Chinese characters were once used officially, but this is now obsolete (Mongolia, North Korea, Vietnam)

Traditional Chinese characters remain in common use in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, as well as in most overseas Chinese communities outside Southeast Asia;[8] In addition, Hanja in Korean language remains virtually identical to traditional form, which is still used to a certain extent in South Korea. Though there is a few divergence of which variants to be adopted in the standardised traditional characters among these regions. In Taiwan, the standardisation of traditional characters is stipulated through the promulgation of the Standard Form of National Characters, which is regulated by Taiwan's Ministry of Education. In contrast, simplified Chinese characters are used in Mainland China, Malaysia and Singapore in official publications.

The debate on traditional and simplified Chinese characters has been a long-running issue among Chinese communities.[9][10] Currently, many Chinese online newspapers allow users to switch between both character sets.[2]