Japanese pixel fonts with Kanji support

It's possible to find true pixel/bitmap Japanese fonts but they're often in old FONTX2 format, and difficult to convert.

Luckily a kind soul in Japan has already converted the most common bitmap fonts! Here bitmap data has been converted to TTF outlines.

Usage on Playdate

To convert from TTF strokes back into real bitmap data:

Use of Caps to do this has not been verified.

JF-Dotfont series

This set of Japanese bitmap-style fonts is very comprehensive (all fonts support Kanji up to JIS Level 2, some to level 4) and also OK for commercial use and re-distribution! (various licences)

(sizes range from 10px to 24px)

Paid commercial license fonts

At the bottom of the page http://jikasei.me/font/jf-dotfont/ there are some fonts that have different licence terms that are not free for commercial use (eg. Elisa, a very famous 8x8 font). These are not shown on this page.

KH dot font series

Also this set of serif Japanese bitmap-style fonts under SIL Open Font License 1.1 (so OK for commercial use)

(sizes to 12 to 32px)


Brilliant :star_struck: Thanks for sharing!

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Excellent find!

JIS level one contains 2000 characters, and JIS level two contains an additional 3390 characters. Most of these characters will not be used in normal products, dictionaries being the exception. When I was doing commercial GBA gamedev in Japan, they had tools to convert strings to the specific subset of kanji the game actually used.

For example, it could make sense to use romaji (26x2 = 52 characters) kana (80x2 = 160 characters) and kanji up to the third grade elementary school level (80 + 160 + 200 = 440 kanji) plus a few select kanji that are heavily used in the game (魔 in a game that features magic and demons). This particular example would work out to a 700~ character font depending on how many extra kanji and how much punctuation is included.

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Good point!

You can subset the fonts using something like Bits'n'Picas linked from the first post.

Hi all, I was exploring localization and fonts last weekend and came across this thread. Ended up going down a bit of a rabbit-hole, and came up with a Python script to batch process the JFDotFont and KHDotFont sets into .FNT files. I put a repo up here: