Module java.base
Package java.lang

Class Character

All Implemented Interfaces:
Serializable, Comparable<Character>, Constable

public final class Character extends Object implements Serializable, Comparable<Character>, Constable
The Character class wraps a value of the primitive type char in an object. An object of class Character contains a single field whose type is char.

In addition, this class provides a large number of static methods for determining a character's category (lowercase letter, digit, etc.) and for converting characters from uppercase to lowercase and vice versa.

Unicode Conformance

The fields and methods of class Character are defined in terms of character information from the Unicode Standard, specifically the UnicodeData file that is part of the Unicode Character Database. This file specifies properties including name and category for every assigned Unicode code point or character range. The file is available from the Unicode Consortium at

Character information is based on the Unicode Standard, version 15.1.

The Java platform has supported different versions of the Unicode Standard over time. Upgrades to newer versions of the Unicode Standard occurred in the following Java releases, each indicating the new version:

Shows Java releases and supported Unicode versions
Java release Unicode version
Java SE 22 Unicode 15.1
Java SE 20 Unicode 15.0
Java SE 19 Unicode 14.0
Java SE 15 Unicode 13.0
Java SE 13 Unicode 12.1
Java SE 12 Unicode 11.0
Java SE 11 Unicode 10.0
Java SE 9 Unicode 8.0
Java SE 8 Unicode 6.2
Java SE 7 Unicode 6.0
Java SE 5.0 Unicode 4.0
Java SE 1.4 Unicode 3.0
JDK 1.1 Unicode 2.0
JDK 1.0.2 Unicode 1.1.5
Variations from these base Unicode versions, such as recognized appendixes, are documented elsewhere.

Unicode Character Representations

The char data type (and therefore the value that a Character object encapsulates) are based on the original Unicode specification, which defined characters as fixed-width 16-bit entities. The Unicode Standard has since been changed to allow for characters whose representation requires more than 16 bits. The range of legal code points is now U+0000 to U+10FFFF, known as Unicode scalar value. (Refer to the definition of the U+n notation in the Unicode Standard.)

The set of characters from U+0000 to U+FFFF is sometimes referred to as the Basic Multilingual Plane (BMP). Characters whose code points are greater than U+FFFF are called supplementary characters. The Java platform uses the UTF-16 representation in char arrays and in the String and StringBuffer classes. In this representation, supplementary characters are represented as a pair of char values, the first from the high-surrogates range, (\uD800-\uDBFF), the second from the low-surrogates range (\uDC00-\uDFFF).

A char value, therefore, represents Basic Multilingual Plane (BMP) code points, including the surrogate code points, or code units of the UTF-16 encoding. An int value represents all Unicode code points, including supplementary code points. The lower (least significant) 21 bits of int are used to represent Unicode code points and the upper (most significant) 11 bits must be zero. Unless otherwise specified, the behavior with respect to supplementary characters and surrogate char values is as follows:

  • The methods that only accept a char value cannot support supplementary characters. They treat char values from the surrogate ranges as undefined characters. For example, Character.isLetter('\uD840') returns false, even though this specific value if followed by any low-surrogate value in a string would represent a letter.
  • The methods that accept an int value support all Unicode characters, including supplementary characters. For example, Character.isLetter(0x2F81A) returns true because the code point value represents a letter (a CJK ideograph).

In the Java SE API documentation, Unicode code point is used for character values in the range between U+0000 and U+10FFFF, and Unicode code unit is used for 16-bit char values that are code units of the UTF-16 encoding. For more information on Unicode terminology, refer to the Unicode Glossary.

This is a value-based class; programmers should treat instances that are equal as interchangeable and should not use instances for synchronization, or unpredictable behavior may occur. For example, in a future release, synchronization may fail.

External Specifications
See Also: