W3C | Submissions

Team Comment on the "Current Status of Japanese Typography Using Web Technologies" Submission

W3C is pleased to receive the Current Status of Japanese Typography Using Web Technologies submission from Vivliostyle.


Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a fundamental part of the Open Web platform. This Submission examines to what extent CSS, as currently being developed, will meet the needs of Japanese Typography. It does this by comparing the features of CSS to two requirements documents:

  1. Japanese Language Requirements (JLReq), published by W3C, describes in concrete but language-agnostic terms the requirements for high quality Japanese layout and typography. This submission contains a detailed analysis of the current state of CSS and to what extent each of the requirements in JLReq is met by current, ongoing, or planned future work on CSS. In addition to reviewing the state of specification work, the implementation status in Web browsers is also analyzed.

  2. Digital Publishing based on EPUB (including, but not limited to, eBooks) is widespread, and the technologies used are based on, and converging rapidly with, Open Web standards. EPUB3 Petition of Japanese Typesetting is a prioritized list of requirements for using EPUB with Japanese. The submission performs the same detailed analysis on EPUB3 PJT to determine to what extend CSS can be used to satisfy the needs of Japanese publishing based on EPUB.

The submission summarises these analyses, and provides a useful priority checklist of existing CSS modules which need to be advanced in order to fully meet requirements. In most cases, it is sufficient to complete the existing work. In a few cases, highlighted in the companion documents, new features would be needed.

The submission concludes with a detailed, real world example of a design-rich book, originally published in English, which was translated to Japanese. The formatter-specific extensions, hacks and work-arounds necessary to publish the Japanese edition are described. If the priority modules were all completed and implemented, none of these would have been needed. This worked example contributes substantially to demonstrating the relevance and urgency for completing the priority CSS module list, and the expected gains in interoperability and ease of publishing.

Relationships to W3C Activities

One of the key Design Principles of the W3C is Web for All. In support of that aim, W3C publishes an International text layout and typography index. The insights which this Submission brings concerning the needs of Japanese users and implementers contribute in a substantive way to that mission, and we are delighted to receive such feedback.

The proposed work is firmly in the existing scope of the CSS Working Group. In addition, no new modules are proposed - merely the completion of existing ones. There are thus no new deliverables and no need for rechartering or incubation.

Disclaimer: Publication of a Member Submission by W3C does not imply endorsement by W3C, including the W3C Team or Members, nor does it guarantee that a Working Group will agree to take any specific action on a Submission.

Next Steps

W3C Members, Invited Experts and the Public are encouraged to comment on the submission, in particular the relative priority of various modules. Such comments should be made as issues on GitHub, for each individual module.

W3C Members and Invited Experts are encouraged to contribute technical discussion and editorial help on completing those modules, and to assist with implementation and testing of these modules.

The submission proposed that "the Consortium hold a workshop to discuss the submission immediately before the Tokyo F2F meeting of the CSS WG in 2017". The CSS meeting, hosted by Keio University in Tokyo from 18-21 April 2017, would indeed be an ideal opportunity for dialogue between those interested in Japanese layout and typography, and the members of the CSS WG who will be gathered there. W3C intends to immediately investigate the feasibility of such a workshop, meetup or other event and will announce it shortly.

We encourage similar feedback from other members of our global constituency. The W3C is currently working on the development of requirements similar to JLReq for other stakeholders, including users of Arabic, Chinese, Ethiopic, Indic, and Tibetan scripts. (Get more information.)

Chris Lilley, Richard Ishida, & Ivan Herman: W3C Technical Staff
31 January 2017