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Machine recognition of handprinted Chinese characters has recently become very active in Japan. Both from the practical and the academic point of view, very encouraging results are reported. The work is described systematically and analyzed in terms of so-called feature matching, which is likely to be the mainstream of the research and development of machine recognition of handprinted Chinese characters. A database, ETL8 (881 Kanji, 71 hirakana, and 160 variations for each category), is explained, on which many experiments were performed. Recognition rates reported using this database can be compared, and so somewhat qualitative evaluation of these methods is described. Based on the comparative study, the merits and demerits of both feature and structural matching are discussed and some future directions are mentioned.