(Cultural Revival?) : Typing Javanese Characters in My Computer

Bambang Priantono in Javanese Carakan script

Javanese character? never be confused with Java programming system, meh. Javanese character has got two names : carakan and layang hanacaraka. It was derived from Southern Indian styled Brahmic writing system along by Indian merchants and missionaries at the time. Javanese script is under the same family with Sundanese, Kaganga group (from Batak to Lampung), Balinese, and Buginese-Makassarese . Javanese Carakan is also sister script of Thai, Burmese, Laotian, Cham and Cambodian.

Javanese itself -said-was brought by King Aji Saka from India who also imposed Javanese calendar system (only 78 years later than Gregorian one) and he told his two guardians for a duty. The story about the guardians was mentioned in the script.


Ha Na Ca Ra Ka = There were two guardians
Da Ta Sa Wa La = They were debating and getting worse
Pa Dha Ja Ya Nya = They fought each other
Ma Ga Ba Tha Nga = Finally all of them died

My Javanese teacher when I was in elementary school told me about the meaning, and I was so impressed at the time. However, I used to hate writing Javanese as the teacher was so ephentetic and mood swinger, even when there’s homework, I always told my (late) grandparents to do it and then I never got good score for it. I forgot it until my mid-thirties. There is a reflection in myself about the true identity, as Javanese, I should know about the culture, as well as its writing system. However, since independence, traditional scripts have already been declining in usages, as the younger prefer to write in national script to the traditional one.

“It’s difficult”
“It’s old-fashioned”
“It’s out of date”

That’s what the youngsters think about the script. Since 2000s, there’s already been revivalists for rejuvenate traditional cultures, and based on local government’s policy (in certain areas in Java), Javanese script is also imposed below the Roman one in main streets, and even in almost every schools, institutions, hotels, malls and public places in Solo, Central Java. Some cities also do the same thing and then there’s bi-literal signs. That’s a good signs for cultural reviving and for myself, Javanese script is also as beautiful as other scripts.


Actually I have already known about Javanese typing, but my old laptop didn’t support the font. So that’s why I write it manually. But after having the new one, I can install and enjoy the way Javanese script written on computer. I install and use carakan font for it. But when you want to type directly in Javanese, you need special tutorial for it.


After installing hanacaraka font, change the font first and type this, IN[do[nsiy

The results, you can see like this.


There are so many different things and sometimes makes me dizzy. But gradually I can type it, though in some ocassions such as typing kh, z, f, v  I still have to ask the experts. It’s fun and relieving…why? by typing it, I can release my working stress and find a new fun moment between the hectic jobs. I try wondrous things and type many words, including foreign derived words, or Indonesian words.

I am not a cultural fanatics, but I realize about the importance of preserving our own culture. The world is increasingly globalized and nobody or nothing can resist it. Modernism is in common place, but the effects are losing the original cultures and uniqueness. The world looks same each other, almost nothing typical -almost- and pop media dominance is also frightening for me. Modernism is okay, just it will be part of harmony if traditional values are also included. Traditional cultures and its aspects should also modify itself along the time as the world is extremely dynamic and all can be diminished because of its own  failure to face the era.

I hope by using this carakan font in my computer, I can type more and more in Javanese and also feel its artistic aspects anytime I wish. Well, for the special WordPressers, I have already written one name in Javanese script using Hanacaraka font…the lucky person is…


Congratulations Mabel ! you’re the first I try to type it in Javanese font. Who’s the next? Do you wanna try? I dare you…hehehe.

Language is cultural core
Writing system is its weapon

At least I try to preserve this beautiful cultural aspect. Hopefully I can teach my children to write it along with Roman and Arabic scripts.


Tangerang, 8 December 2015


Bambang Priantono




9 Comments Add yours

  1. ndu.t.yke says:

    Wah ada Sydney, Australia 🙂

  2. Mabel Kwong says:

    That is so cool you can type in Javanese on your laptop now. I am sure you will be an expert in writing the language in no time. And so flattered you wrote my name in Javanese. I hope it wasn’t too hard 😀 Thank you so much for thinking of me 🙂

  3. JNYnita says:

    Hehehe.. aku orang Jawa tapi gak ngerti hanacaraka samsek…

  4. I learned a new word and language! I thought you misspelled Japanese! Heh

    1. No, Javanese…that’s my mother tongue

      1. Cool I learned something new! 🙂

      2. Check this out, Indonesia has got more than 500 languages 😀

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