Andrew Dunbar wrote:
> I am studying Chinese and Japanese characters and have
> become very interested in the various simplified forms
> and in other character variants.
> Specifically I have read that China officially
> introduced the simplified character reform in two
> phases in 1956 and 1964. However, I have been unable
> to find any more detailed report. There must have been
> official documents detailing the change in each
> character, the changes in radicals and other recurring
> character components, and the conflation of several
> traditional characters into one simplified character.

That, unfortunately, is the problem. There was nothing systematic about
the simplifications or their introduction; they simply took a bunch of
existing informal simplifications and published lists of them.

Some are the same as Japanese standard versions, some aren't.

Among the criticisms are that components were not simplified uniformly.

The whole thing was political rather than scientific -- the documents
translated in

Seybolt, P.J. & Kuei-ke Chiang, G. (eds.) (1979) Language Reform in
China. Documents and commentary. New York / Folkstone: M.E. Sharpe &

are deadly dull and unrevealing; the discussions in books on Chinese
language, such as Jerry Norman's, will be much more informative. Avoid
those by Hannas or by Insup Taylor.

> Does anybody know if these documents exist online?
> If not I'd still be interested to know the names of
> the documents, the dates they were released, and the
> characters covered by each.
> I'm also interested to learn more about other variant
> characters. For instance, the character for "sword"
> has 5 variants I can find apart from the traditional,
> the Japanese simplified, and the Chinese simplified.
> Some vary the "knife" radical, some use "gold" for the
> other component instead of the usual "all/together".
> I became interested in the "sword" character after
> seeing the movie "Hero" where it is mentioned that
> there are 19 variations of this character.

You'll want to look for those dictionaries that have "60,000" characters
in them ...
Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...