The traditional pilcrow (a.k.a. the mythical CJK zero)

Pilcrow repurposed

The pilcrow

The traditional CJK pilcrow is a thin full-width sans-serif circle. This can still be found in some books that uses older typography, in particular the CUV version of the bible with “old punctuation”.

In Japanese posters you also often find the traditional pilcrow being used as a separator, where the Western tradition would use a bullet, vertical line, or a slash.

In contrast, the use of the circle as pilcrow in Chinese is extremely old-fashioned and most Chinese people would not recognize it when seen.

The so-called CJK zero

The astute reader will surely recognize the thin full-width sans-serif circle as the “CJK zero”.

Most people are led to believe that when numerals are written in kanji, the “CJK zero” is always used for the digit zero and the kanji for zero should never be used. This is in fact false. In Chinese, the kanji for zero is very often used instead of the so-called “CJK zero” (which is in fact a pilcrow, even though most people no longer recognize it as such).