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  1. Architecture of Windows NT
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  5. Calibri
  6. Cambria
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  100. Windows Vista Startup Process
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Meiryo (メイリオ) is a Japanese typeface part of the new suite of fonts that come with Microsoft Windows Vista. It is a sans-serif and gothic font (respectively for Latin and Japanese characters). It is aimed at replacing MS Gothic as the default system font for Vista on Japanese systems.

It was decided that a new Japanese font was needed as the result of the current ones (mainly MS Gothic and MS Mincho) being incompatible with Microsoft's ClearType subpixel rendering technology, which significantly increases legibility of characters on LCD screens. ClearType has been available in Windows for Latin fonts since the release of Windows XP. However, unlike Latin fonts which use the ClearType hinting system for all sizes, the Japanese fonts embedded hand-optimized bitmap versions for all of the small sizes, as automatic scaling would remove too much detail for the font to remain legible.

To improve readability, Meiryo contains no embedded bitmaps, and uses TrueType hinting language for stroke-reduction. Similar technology was used on MingLiu and PMingLiu versions 5.03.


The Japanese characters of Meiryo were designed by C&G and Eiichi Kono, who also redesigned Johnston font which is now used by London Underground as New Johnston. The Latin characters were designed by Matthew Carter, creator of the Verdana font, and are visibly similar to characters from Verdana. By having a font designed by a combination of Japanese and Latin experts, Microsoft strived to make a font in which English and Japanese would present well together when sitting side-by-side on the screen. Meiryo took around two man-years to make.

About the name

The name of the font Meiryo (メイリオ meirio) comes from the Japanese word Meiryō (明瞭) [meːɺ̠ʲoː], which means "clarity". This refers to the fact that ClearType will make text written in Meiryo appear clearer onscreen. The Japanese spelling メイリオ is taken from the English pronunciation [ˈmeɪriˌoʊ] (the Japanese transliteration would have been めいりょう).


  • Under small font sizes, dimensions of kanji characters are not even.
  • Italic effects are only applied to Latin characters, not Japanese characters.
  • Under very small font sizes, the stroke reduction is not consistent with the methods used by other fonts, such as MS Gothic.
  • Meiryo's line spacing is bigger than other East Asian fonts, including the fonts shipped with Windows Vista.
  • Because of its compliance with JIS X 0213:2004, variant glyphs have different stroke layout from the ones used in MS Gothic and other conventional fonts. However, Meiryo is not alone for being criticisd of following standards. MingLiU and PMingLiU version 5.03 follow the standards set by Taiwan's Ministry of Education and the reference rendering used in Unicode documents, which also causes dissatisfaction among users.[1][2] However, in the case of MingLiU update, version 5 does not have embedded bitmap fonts for small sizes, and the update pack does not include uninstall feature.


Tokyo Type Directors club awarded 2007 Type design prize to Eiichi Kono, C&G (Satoru akamoto, Suzuki, Takeharu Suzuki, Yukiko Ueda), Matthew Carter on Meiryo font.[3]

External links

  • Sample at Microsoft Japan PressPass (information for journalists)
  • It's Not Just Fonts


  • ClearType page at Microsoft Design
  • メイリオ on the Japanese Wikipedia
  • Channel9 interview with Cleartype Team
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