Multidirectional Writing Modes Introduced with the Announcement of CSS Writing Modes Level 3

example.pngOn December 11, the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) officially announced CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) Writing Modes Level 3 as the new web standard, allowing text to be written horizontally or vertically and for lines to stacked in different directions on the Web. This milestone achievement is a result of efforts made by the community of various language experts. The W3C is joint-operated by the Keio Research Institute at SFC along with research institutions around the world.

1. CSS support for a wide range of written languages

CSS Writing Modes Level 3 is a CSS specification that allows for various international writing modes to be used on the Web, including horizontal left-to-right text such as English and Hindi, right-to-left text such as Hebrew and Arabic, and vertical text such as Japanese and Mongolian. It also specifies how to combine writing directions such as horizontally from the left and from the right, or vertically and horizontally. Other new features are support for things like isolation in bidirectional text, glyph orientation controls, short, inline horizontal runs in lines of vertical text, as well as vertical line stacking from right to left for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, or left to right such as for Mongolian.

2. Experts and communities change the web platform

Critical to this development was the contribution from technologists around the world and specifically language experts in Japan, who researched, specified, and implemented the features. The contributors also helped browser makers expand their functions to improve the World Wide Web.

W3C is actively seeking feedback from communities around the world to meet local needs for language support. The “Language Matrix”* provides a kind of heat-map to show what support is needed and by which languages. * In response to the announcement, Jun Murai, Professor in the Faculty of Environment and Information Studies at Keio University and member of the W3C Steering Committee, made the following statement.

"Today’s publication of CSS Writing Modes Level 3 as a W3C Recommendation marks an essential milestone in the journey started in 2004 when the CSS Working Group started work on text layout. Thanks to incredible internationalization work and the help of many Asian countries working together, we have reached the momentous point where CSS enables international writing modes on the Web."


The W3C Creates International Standards, Future Outlook and Trends

Keio University W3C and TTC Joint Seminar
The use of web technology goes beyond just PCs and smartphones. It is applicable to TV, e-books, connected cars, IoT (Internet of Things), and a wide variety of industrial fields. This seminar offers you the opportunity to learn about the newest trends in the internationalization of the Web of things, which supports the age of the IoT, and the official new web standard for vertical text.


●Time and date: Thursday, February 3, 2020, 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. (discussion held afterward) ●Venue: The Telecommunication Technology Committee (TTC) 2nd floor Meeting Room AB

       (1-1-12 Shibakoen, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Shibakoen Denki Building

●Organizer: The Telecommunication Technology Committee (TTC) Keio University W3C (World Wide Web Consortium)

●Number of attendees: 100 (applications will no longer be accepted once the number is reached) ●Participation fee: 2,000 yen for those who are not members of TTC, and free for members of TTC and Keio University W3C.

About the World Wide Web Consortium

The W3C’s mission is to bring the Web to its full potential by creating technical standards and guidelines to ensure that it is open, accessible, and useable for everyone around the world. The W3C developed HTML5 and CSS, the very foundations of the Open Web Platform, and is dedicated to maintaining security and privacy. Their work is transparent and provided for free under the W3C Patent Policy. In 2016, the W3C received an Emmy Award for making online videos more accessible with captions and subtitles, and again in 2019 for creating technology that enables viewers to more easily watch TV on the Web.
The W3C is joint operated by the MIT Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in the United States (MIT CSAIL), the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics in France (ERCIM), Keio University in Japan, and Beihang University in China. The W3Cs vision of the “One Web” is supported by thousands of dedicated technologists from more than 400 member organizations and dozens of industry sectors. For details, see

Inquiries about the seminar: W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) URL: E-mail:

Inquiries about this article: Office of Research Development and Sponsored Projects, Keio University Shonan Fujisawa Campus