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Toppan Inc., a printing company, plans to release an AI smartphone app that could help decipher Japanese script and potentially billions of historical documents.

A beta version of the app will be released later this month, while the full version is expected to be made available to the public this March.

Historical documents and manuscripts are often written kuzushiji, a form of Japanese writing. This is a barrier to translation and use not only for researchers, but also for other people who have old letters and diaries stored at home. Today, approximately 0.01% of Japan’s population can read.

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