It contains 4 code units: the first and the last areo some Asian chars (found it on the web somewhere), ant the 2 inside comprise a supplementary char. The code prints out what expected: 4 units, 3 points. What I am curious about is that when I display it using Swing, it prints the Asian chars correctly, but it fails for the supplementary char, printing just an empty box. It is no surprise that System.out prints ??? to the console (Vista Home Premium), but why is the middle character not shown correctly? Does it have to do anything with a font not having a glyph for this code point? The code point was taken from here: http://java.sun.com/developer/technicalArticles/Intl/Supplementary/ (scroll a little down, the first table with 4 characters, the last one, kind of an small letter 'a').