PURPOSE:To recognize characters with high precision in a relatively simple constitution by dividing a character image into areas most suitably for the character image to extract stable features. CONSTITUTION:The character image on a document is read by a scanner 1 and is binarized by a preprocessing part 2 and is subjected to normalization and smoothing processings. A feature extracting part 3 adds direction codes to the character outline part of the binary character image preprocessed by the preprocessing part 2. The feature extracting part 3 divides the character image into mesh areas. This division is so determined that direction code giving picture elements are distributed to respective mesh areas as uniformly as possible. The histogram of each direction code in respective mesh areas is obtained by the feature extracting part 3. A recognizing part 4 outputs a recognized character code in accordance with the histograms of respective direction codes extracted from the input character and histograms registered in a dictionary 5.
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