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Hanzi and its Glorious Regenerations

Rewritten by Leo Maliksi
 
In 2004, Taipei City took on the role of being the capital of traditional Chinese characters when it held the first Hanzi Culture Festival. Hanzi (漢字) which means Chinese character is what makes Chinese culture unique. Each character contains a wealth of meaning and history.
 
In 2017, Taipei City Government’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Locus Publishing drafted a year-long plan to publish books about the Chinese character. They gave the plan the name “Hanzi and its Glorious Regenerations” (漢字的華麗轉身). This name is now the tile of a book that compiles essays and articles that express the profound meanings of Chinese characters and also the evolution of their written form.

Art editor Img
“Hanzi and its Glorious Regenerations” compiles essays and articles that express the profound meanings of Chinese characters and also the evolution of their written form.

The most important change in Chinese writing since its standardization in the Qin dynasty occurred in the middle of the 20th century. In 1949, the People's Republic of China (PRC) introduced simplified characters (簡體字) to replace the traditional characters.
 
The essays in “Hanzi and its Glorious Regenerations” seek to portray how the evolution of the Chinese character influenced the people who lived within the culture of the Hanzi.

Art editor Img
Photo by LRM
In his article in the book, Prof. Michael Wang (王明嘉) talks about the evolution of typefaces used in printing Chinese characters and the present use of fonts in writing Chinese with a digital device.

“This book presents the history of Chinese characters and their influence on modern life,” said Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Chung Yung-feng. “Readers will thus understand the cultural heritage that was formed through the development of the Hanzi.”
 
Thirty-one scholars and cultural experts contributed to generating the book’s content. Some wrote down their thoughts while others accepted interviews. The book’s editors divided the book into six sections that express the different transformations of Chinese characters. The first section dealt with written, engraved, molten, and printed forms; the second section dealt with its vitality and crisis after China’s republican period; the Chinese character as used by the Japanese was the third section; the fourth the role of the Chinese character in Taiwan education, society and life; the fifth examines the impact of the information revolution on the character; and the sixth, the Chinese character as an art form and its relation to life.

Art editor Img
Photo by LRM
Prof. Wang’s essay is entitled “The Design and Use of Fonts for Chinese Characters.”
 
Prof. Michael Wang wrote an article in the book where he talks about the evolution of typefaces used in printing Chinese characters and the present use of fonts in writing Chinese with a digital device. His essay is entitled “The Design and Use of Fonts for Chinese Characters” (中文字體設計與漢字字型繪製).
 
Rex How (郝明義), the founder of Locus Publishing said that the book symbolized the ideal that his company shared with the Department of Cultural Affairs – the centrality of the Chinese character in the lives of the Chinese.
 
“I hope that as they live and work in the city, the people of Taipei could experience the magnificence of the development and the transmission of the Hanzi,” he said.