Presumably these "actual" characters are in some place outside your Java program. In that case they might be encoded as bytes using some encoding. Your first step is to find out what that encoding is. Then to get them into your program, make sure that whatever is reading them in is also using that encoding to decode them to Unicode chars.
If you're reading them from an InputStream, then wrap that InputStream in an InputStreamReader which specifies the encoding which you determined in the first step. If you're reading them in some other way, then you'll have to figure out how to specify the encoding to that other way.