Japanese characters can only be represented by multibyte encodings,
and multiple encoding standards are used depending on platform and
text purpose. To make matters worse, these encoding standards
differ slightly from one another. In order to create a web
application which would be usable in a Japanese environment, a
developer has to keep these complexities in mind to ensure that the
proper character encodings are used.
Storage for a character can be up to six bytes
Most Japanese multibyte characters appear twice as wide as
single-byte characters. These characters are called
"zen-kaku" in Japanese, which means
"full width". Other, narrower, characters are called
"han-kaku", which means "half width". The
graphical properties of the characters, however, depends upon
the type faces used to display them.
Some character encodings use shift(escape) sequences defined
in ISO-2022 to switch the code map of the specific code area
(00h to 7fh).
ISO-2022-JP should be used in SMTP/NNTP, and headers and entities
should be reencoded as per RFC requirements. Although those are not
requisites, it's still a good idea because several popular user
agents cannot recognize any other encoding methods.