"MySQL has sophisticated character set support, and can store,
retrieve and collate single byte, and multi-byte character sets
alike. Sean Hull explores using non-default character sets and
settings, which use the hierarchy to control these settings.
"What Are Character Sets Generally?
"Character sets are ways of storing string or text data in a
database. Since the world's languages use different character sets
for their writing systems, a database must support many different
types of character sets to store information in those languages.
For Western European languages, for example, there are alphabets
with many overlapping characters, but in addition some require
accents, different currency characters, and so on. For Asian
languages with many more characters, a multi-byte character set is
required since one byte is not large enough to store all the
characters that can be represented in that language."