I'm making a site that targets English speakers, but due to the subject nature (general Japanese culture), it's becoming increasingly obvious that there'll be some chunks of Japanese text on at least half of the pages (people sometimes randomly add the "シ" and "ツ" Katakana to their English comments, for starters). Today was the first time I really took a good look at this text on a Windows machine, though, and it looks terrible and blocky. Blocky Japanese

These are the two options that my research has yielded;

  1. Include a Japanese webfont in every page (this slows the page down even on pages that don't include Japanese and don't need to use the font).
  2. Change the language header to Japanese (this would be SEO suicide as the only people the site is useful to is English speakers).

Are there any other options, or do I just have to grimace and accept this 1998-esque font for my Windows users?

  • 1
    Regarding #1, this should only slow down the very first request of a new user, since the webfont should be cached (for a long period) client-side.
    – MrWhite
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 10:54
  • Assuming a full Japanese web font is about 5MB due to all the characters, while an average page on my site is 420 KB for a fresh load... I'm not prepared to accept a ten times larger request size (especially not for a mobile user on their 250MB data pack) just because one desktop platform has a weird default font.
    – John Cave
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 21:49
  • "especially not for a mobile user" - Since this problem only affects Windows Desktop (I assume Windows mobile is OK?!) then you would only target Windows Desktop. You could also defer loading of this resource until after the page has loaded, so the perceived delay would be negligible.
    – MrWhite
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 22:51

1 Answer 1


You can combine the common Japanese characters you want (in a font of your choosing) with a different font using a webfont geneator, eg fontie that lets you remove unwanted goups of characters or font squirrel as long as you have legal rights to use/embed them.

If you create a font with very limited Japanese characters and use this first ou can set your main font as the first fallback font.

More on Japanese webfonts from stackoverflow.com

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