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I am using Windows 7 and have set font smoothing to ClearType. However, Japanese characters display very roughly throughout the operating system. What can I do so they are rendered smoothly like other characters? Here is a sample of what they currently look like:


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Are Japanese characters rendered roughly only in your web browser? If so, which browser are you using? – iglvzx Mar 13 '12 at 6:19
@iglvzx, I use Chrome. But the problem is not limited to Chrome. Wordpad, Word etc behave the same. – missingfaktor Mar 13 '12 at 6:27
Ok. Thanks for clarifying. I will add this information to your question. :) – iglvzx Mar 13 '12 at 6:27
@iglvzx, okay. Thanks. :) – missingfaktor Mar 13 '12 at 6:28
by the way, it is not the "hiragana" that remembered something, it is you who remembered the hiragana. the correct phrase is "ひらがなを覚えた" – v.oddou Dec 17 '14 at 9:03

Meiryo, the default Japanese font for Windows Vista/7, as well as some other Japanese fonts contain bitmap (pixel) characters at small sizes.

Going back to your example, I was able to confirm this using Firefox:

  • ClearType (hinted) characters:


  • Smaller font-size; bitmap characters:


By default, Firefox uses the following settings for Japanese fonts:

font settings

So, the solution lies in using larger font sizes or replacing the default Japanese font uses in an application with one that supports hinted characters for all sizes (e.g. Arial Unicode).

To globally remap/substitute a font in Windows, you can modify or add Registry values under:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\FontSubstitutes
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In my example, you can notice that Kanji are rendered smoothly, while Kana aren't. – missingfaktor Mar 13 '12 at 6:52
I assume that is due to a minor discrepancy in font size or browser settings. I used Firefox, while your example is in Google Chrome. – iglvzx Mar 13 '12 at 7:20

This depends on the font. Different fonts have different characteristics, including different behavior in font smoothing. You might be using a font in the Mincho group, as they are commonly used as default fonts and they may have problems like this; Gothic fonts may work better on screen.

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How do I switch my font style for Japanese characters alone? – missingfaktor Mar 13 '12 at 6:52
@missingfaktor, that depends on the program being used; and normally you should not switch font style by language but instead select a font that is acceptable for all characters you need. When using Word, this might be Arial Unicode MS, if it’s OK to use such a sans-serif font of simple design–it has a very wide character coverage. – Jukka K. Korpela Mar 13 '12 at 6:58

The problem is Japanese traditional fonts (MS Gothic, MS PGothic, MS Mincho...) also include bitmap fonts in small sizes in addition to outline ones. These bitmaps cannot be applied any type of smoothing, so it results in a crazy ugly aliasing, eye hurting appearance.

  • Mactype is an ideal replacement for windows font renderer as it will skip those bitmaps and smooth the outlines. But currently Mactype cannot emulate directDraw calls, so some programs that use directDraw (such as office 2013, IE, firefox...) still be aliased, but this is very rare.


  • A better option is stripping all those bitmaps off but you need some Japanese ability to read the tutorial here. The result is

No antialiasing with bitmap font




Standard antialiasing


No bitmap (outline), no antialiasing


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Five posts in three hours by a new user on this site recommending the same program. Looks too spammy. Please don't do that. Are you affiliated with the software developers in some way? – Daniel Beck Aug 4 '13 at 7:52
Just answer a question and then find out some related question so I answer them too. Is that prohibited? – Lưu Vĩnh Phúc Aug 9 '13 at 1:12
No. Unfortunately there are spammers, and their behavior is basically identical, advertising their own software on a bunch of similar questions. Moderators then need to determine whether it's legitimate advice, or spam. We sometimes make mistakes though and consider enthusiasts to be spammers. The previous comment was more of a suggestion to prevent your posts from mistakenly getting deleted. – Daniel Beck Aug 9 '13 at 6:58

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