Reading Han'gul with a Web Browser

(Notes by Jerry Boucher, 8/25/96)

Korean Han'gul script is displayed in two different ways on internet documents: As graphic images, or as coded language. Graphic images -- scanned from a drawing or printed page, or drawn with a program like "Paint Brush" -- are used only for special effects or for display, and will show up with any browser which displays in-line or linked images. (GIF, JPEG, etc.) For example, Prof. Soh's publication list uses some graphic images of Han'gul so that the proper Korean characters will be displayed whether or not the reader has Korean software. Likewise, the following example of a graphic image of Han'gul script (meaning "welcome", and borrowed from the UCB web site) should show up on any browser set to display images:

Coded language is that which is used by Koreans for regular electronic communication, and one needs special software to read and/or write it. These are the codes produced from a Korean computer keyboard, with the appropriate software, which are used in Korean word processing programs and on the internet. The following example of Han'gul code (taken from the URL title of the UCB web site - "Spirit of Tan'gun") will appear to be a string of irrelevent ASCII characters unless your computer has the means to decode them into valid Korean script:


There are at least two ways you can have coded Korean Han'gul script displayed with your browser: Use an add-on program, or use a Korean operating system.

Add-on programs: What I am calling add-on programs are programs which one runs before logging onto the internet and which change the font so as to display Han'gul when the proper codes are recieved. I know of two such programs which are available for downloading from the internet, and which can be used for a free trial. Both are dated so as to "expire" after a time, and you must either get another free sample, or purchase the software.

Unionway is available for downloading from a California site at

AsiaSurf is available for downloading from a Taiwanese site at

Both programs allow Chinese, Japanese and Korean to be displayed with Netscape or other browsers, on Windows or Windows95. (I don't know about Mac systems.) The Unionway program is supposed to expire after 45 days, while the AsiaSurf program is supposed to expire after 20 days. These are similar programs, each having its own quirks, advantages and disadvantages. Try them both to see which you prefer. Note: The download of AsiaSurf would NOT perform direct printing from NetScape to my HP4P printer, but would print in Korean from MS-Word if the documents were saved to file. It also only provides display of incoming text, whereas the Union Way software has provision to toggle the keyboard into entering Korean script.

Korean operating system: Windows 3.1 and Windows95 are available in Korean. Korean Windows 3.1 works just fine, and is a very good way to get full Han'gul operations on PC's. MS-Word Version 6.0 in Korean for Windows 3.1 is also available, and the combination of these is just what the eui-sa ordered. When Han'gul Windows 3.1 is installed, all the windows functions come up in Han'gul. When Netscape is then run, any Han'gul that comes in is automatically displayed as Han'gul. What do you do if you have an English Windows95 system? For now, at our offices we maintain a dual-boot system. This means that our basic computer is set up to run English Windows95, but that for those occasions where we want to work in Korean we can re-boot to have the machine come up in Han'gul Windows 3.1. There are complete instructions for setting up a dual-boot system in Special Edition: Using Windows 95, Que Corporation, 1995.

Important note: Many new computers are now being delivered with Microsoft Windows 95 version OSR2, which has "FAT 32" capability. These systems cannot be set up to be dual-booted like the older versions, because of incompatability between this newer version and Windows 3.1. You will have to use a "boot-managing" program such as System Commander to have both operating systems present, and you have to be careful to not try to read a Windows 3.1 file with this new Windows 95. (Thanks again, Bill....) You can check this out on a Microsoft support page.

Han'gul Windows 3.1 and Han'gul MS Office for Windows 6.0 are available from several distributers in the US, including:

Automation Source Corporation,
22301 South Bonita Street,
Carson, CA 90745
(301) 522-2270

Han'gul Windows 95 and Han'gul MS Word 7.0 are available from many distributers including the T-Zone store which opened in San Mateo in December 1997.

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