PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED: To perform unframed character recognition (free handwritten character string recognition) without depending on any handwriting direction with the high degree of freedom to handwritten input characters without any frame.
SOLUTION: The pattern of a character string inputted in a free direction without any frame by a user 2 is inputted by an input character string pattern inputting part 5 (S101). The character size of each character included in the inputted character string pattern is estimated by a character size estimation processing part 11 (S103). Then, the handwriting direction of the character string is estimated based on line feed and handwriting direction changing points by a character segmentation processing part 12 (S105). Moreover, temporary division and temporary division correction is operated based on the estimated handwriting direction by the character segmentation processing part 12 (S107, S109). In a maximum likelihood character string search processing part 13, the character recognition of the character string whose character segmentation is realized is performed by a recognition engine part 14 and a maximum likelihood character string searching part 15, and the result of the character recognition is outputted to a recognized result outputting part 6. The recognized result outputting part 6 outputs the recognized result in order to display it on the display picture of an application 3 (S111).