I used to label all the Japanese ASCII art as ANSI art and just click on by. It was a snobby attitude, but I was trying to keep the standards of ASCII art – which is so often confused or cheated on with ANSI art and assorted other versions of text art which don’t stick to the standard keyboard characters, no frills.
Since my early days as an ASCII artist I have learned the Japanese ASCII art is not ANSI art, it really is in a category of it’s own. But, there is an element of ANSI (using every and any keyboard character) thrown in.
SJIS is Japanese ASCII Art
Japanese ASCII art images are created from characters within the Shift JIS character set, intended for Japanese usage. So, Japanese ASCII art is usually called Shift JIS, abbreviated to SJIS or AA, meaning ASCII art. However, it’s not typical/ standard ASCII art because it uses characters outside of those standard for ASCII text art.
Shift JIS uses not only the ASCII character set, but also Japanese characters such as Kanji. Since there are thousands of Japanese characters, the images have more variety to them. However, they need to be viewed in the right font.
Unlike traditional ASCII art (which works best with a monospaced font) Shift JIS art is designed around the proportional-width MS PGothic font supplied with Microsoft Windows. However, many characters used in Shift JIS art are the same width. This led to the development of the free Mona Font where each character is the same width as its counterpart in MS PGothic.
SIJS art, like ANSI art and sometimes ASCII art, can be used to create animated text images using Adobe Flash files and animated GIFs. Shift_JIS has become popular and has even made its way into mainstream media and commercial advertising in Japan.
Sources for Japanese ASCII Art
The Mona Font
Mona Font is the Japanese proportional font used to view Japanese text art.