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How does a Japanese keyboard work?

Tellklaus

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Hi. again.

In Korea we have about 28 alphabets which barely fits a keyboard. ......In Japanese they have about 100 alphabets..right?...but it still seems like Japanese don't have any problem with writing in keyboards.........hmn....so, could you people tell me how Japanese keyboards work? I suppose there must be a special way to write all those alphabets, and kanji.

cheers🙂
 

thomas

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Hi Tellklaus, I'm far from being an expert on Japanese keyboards, but the keys basically display Latin and kana characters (namely the 46 basic hiragana and a few katakana). You can switch between those charsets. To display kanji (Chinese characters), you type their hiragana equivalent, mark it and choose from a selection of possible kanji.

I attached a pic I just shot (sorry for the bad quality). :)

keyboard.jpg
 

tasuki

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As a rule, I've noticed that most Japanese input Japanese characters through direct input. In other words, if they want to write か they type "k" and "a" in succession and the IME transforms the ka into か. If it is not か they wanted to type but 科 (also read ka), a simple flick of the space bar displays a shortcut menu that allows you to select from any of the characters with the "ka" reading in the IME memory. Thus, as long as you have a program like IME running on your computer, you can type Japanese with any type of keyboard. Of course, if you want to input directly in hiragana, you have to learn the pattern of the keyboard above and type straight that way. I'm surrounded by writers and find that very few people actually do that, though...
 

Elizabeth

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Originally posted by tasuki
Of course, if you want to input directly in hiragana, you have to learn the pattern of the keyboard above and type straight that way. I'm surrounded by writers and find that very few people actually do that, though...
Really? 😲 I'm using IME and not having a clue how to go about reprogramming the layout, that's exactly the method I seem to be stuck with.....although switching back to Latin characters at this point may be more trouble than it's worth. Like trying to write romaji with a pencil to paper. :eek:
 

tasuki

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Really. It's more simple for them to learn one typing sequence and apply it to typing in English (for example search parameters or Web addresses) and to typing in Japanese.

Actually, I was told by a Japanese teacher once that the first typing machines made in Japan actually had interchangeable heads to be able to type all the kanji and kana. When ワープロ (word processors were introduced), the keyboard layout was adapted to match the QWERTY design. I don't know anyone who uses the kana direct input functions of IME...

As for switching back to romanji input, you'd be surprised how intuituve it gets after a few hours. If you've known how to type for a while, you'll find that it just becomes one more reflex to have to type "k" "a" when you want to type か. On top of which, I find it helps me remember the pronounciation of kanji better...

If you feel up to it the following contains a brief but concise history of Japanese typing.

キーボードの歴史
 

Elizabeth

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Originally posted by tasuki
As for switching back to romanji input, you'd be surprised how intuituve it gets after a few hours. If you've known how to type for a while, you'll find that it just becomes one more reflex to have to type "k" "a" when you want to type か. On top of which, I find it helps me remember the pronouciation of kanji better...
Yes, actually I was pretty certain no one else could have been having as much trouble with this as I was. :) But technically how to go about switching inputs in IME on an American keyboard? I 'm familiar with the toggle switch on the corners of Japanese designed models, but is there a dialog box or something that indicates a preference for the keyboard arrangement to pick and choose from while installing the fonts and language options?

And thanks for the article! Luzie sent this much simpler one on fingering for a QWERTY keyboard a while back as well.

ブラインドタッチを覚えよう

gg_keyboard87_660_513.jpg


Enjoy! :)
 

tasuki

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Well, if you're using Windows XP IME, simply clicking the little pencil icon on the taskbar should open a shortcut menu where you can select your prefered method of input. As for changing the default settings, you need to right-click the same little pencil icon on the taskbar and access the program's preferences. From there, you can change the default input setting. I can't help you with any more detail as I'm still using Windows 2000... But the basic workings of IME should not have changed...
 

Elizabeth

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Originally posted by tasuki
Well, if you're using Windows XP IME, simply clicking the little pencil icon on the taskbar should open a shortcut menu where you can select your prefered method of input. As for changing the default settings, you need to right-click the same little pencil icon on the taskbar and access the program's preferences. From there, you can change the default input setting. I can't help you with any more detail as I'm still using Windows 2000... But the basic workings of IME should not have changed...
OK--thanks! I just figured it out, sorry for seeming a bit slow . 😊 It is certainly intriguing how a single keyboard arrangement can be so useable across such a variety of languages, isn't it?
 

tasuki

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Tell me about it...

But don't worry about not understanding IME... I use it everyday and I don't understand half of its functionality... I like to use the IME pad, though... I don't know whether it's been integrated to the English version. It allows you to write a character you don't know with the mouse cursor and then pick from a list the closest apporoximation IME can come up with. It's really useful when you don't know the reading of a kanji...
 

Elizabeth

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Originally posted by tasuki
Tell me about it...

But don't worry about not understanding IME... I use it everyday and I don't understand half of its functionality... I like to use the IME pad, though... I don't know whether it's been integrated to the English version. It allows you to write a character you don't know with the mouse cursor and then pick from a list the closest apporoximation IME can come up with. It's really useful when you don't know the reading of a kanji...
I haven't come across anything like that yet, but the entire installation procedure, all the taskbar settings and help menus -- basically everything is in Japanese -- so it will just take experimentation more than anything. Always good to have input options, though. Many thanks for your help, Tasuki!
 

Elizabeth

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Originally posted by tasuki
I don't know anyone who uses the kana direct input functions of IME...

As for switching back to romaji input, you'd be surprised how intuitive it gets after a few hours. If you've known how to type for a while, you'll find that it just becomes one more reflex to have to type "k" "a" when you want to type か. On top of which, I find it helps me remember the pronounciation of kanji better...]

I just know one person, my boyfriend, actually a software engineer, who uses direct hiragana input. He says it is mainly to conserve keystrokes. And the romaji method does necessitate many more awkward stroke patterns than in English, a lot more lateral and downward finger movements -- but I think it is already helping me with kanji readings as well.
 

Souske

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Do you have to use Office XP to use IME cause I got windows XP home edition and if anyone has this I need help cause I don't know how to write Hiragana or How to input the language or do I have to do somethinge else?
 

thomas

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Hi Souske, here's more info on how to use Global IME with XP


Global IME Download

=> office.microsoft.com/assistance/2002/articles/odownloadinputmethodeditors.aspx


How does it work?
After you install Global IME for any language, Windows displays the Language bar icon on the taskbar whenever a supporting application is active. To write in East Asian characters, you just have to click the Language bar icon, select the desired East Asian language, and start typing.
 
F

futureproof

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Is there a Global IME equivalant for Macintosh? I'm running Internet Explorer 5. Any help would be great! Have checked Apple.com, but the only thing was an application for OS 7 called a "language kit". Nothing for OS X. If anything, a program for practicing off-line or via Word or Excel.
 

avarame

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Mac OS X comes with a Japanese input system. I don't know how to use it because all the settings are, of course, labelled in Japanese. Here's how to activate it:
-go to System Preferences - International
-go to the Input Menu tab
-select the checkbox for ”ことえり" (Input type:日本語).
-A new menu will appear in the menu bar, showing an American flag (indicating U.S. English). Select ことえり from the menu.
-Now start typing in romaji and it will convert into hiragana.
-To enter kanji, type the romaji for the kanji's reading, and press space bar until you get the kanji you want. (For obvious reasons, you won't be able to type kanji from katakana or roman letter input modes)
-To get katakana, either hold down shift while typing romaji, or hit shift-control-K and type romaji.
-To get normal roman letters (for Japanese text formatting - they will look oddly spaced), use shift-control-;. shift-control-L gives very widely spaced letters, I'm not sure what they're for.
-To switch back to normal English text entry, hit command-space. (Or, if you're using LaunchBar which captures command-space, command-shift-space works too.)

I taught myself to use this input system through trial-and-error, since I can't read the menu or help documents (both in Japanese). But I don't need to understand it to use it ;)
 

Enfour

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Agree with all of the above.. I am also a MAC OS X user. I prefer to use KOTOERI rather than ATOK.

To activate using the short-cut, just use the Command key + space bar and a small window will pop up in the bottom right corner of the screen. You will then be able to choose hiragana, katakana, double spaced Roman or regular Roman.

Also, a trick when you are typing in hiragana/kanji, if you hold the shift key down while you type, the characters will show up in katakana. But if you type in hiragana and just press the space bar, you can switch to katakana as well.

When I just want to type in English, I click command+space again to turn off the Japanese altogether.

Hope this helps
 

avarame

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Oh yes, I forgot about the little window that lets you select character sets. Mine disappeared one day, and I don't know how to get it back :(
 

khris777

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Using the IME Pad

Hi there. Sorry to come into this so late, but this thread had been very helpful to me.

However, I have a problem. Hopefully someone can help. I am using XP Home, and am succesfully using the IME "phonetic" input. The 1st problem i have is that it onlY works in notepad. If I want to use the Japanese text in Wordpad or Indesign (the end goal at the moment), I need to enter in Notepad and then copy and paste where I really want it. No big deal for my purposes, but it would be nice to use it directly in Indesign (adobe). I have a feeling that it's just that all I have on my system that is compatible is Notepad..

The bigger problem right now is that I canno get the IME pad to appear. I beleive that is what i need to use the virtual keyboards, handwriting, etc. When I click the "IME Pad" icon on the Language Bar, it looks as if it depresses but it never does anything. I have tried making sure that I had the focus on the Notepad application before clicking on the Language bar but that dosent help. Made sure it was in Japanese mode as well. The IME help has no mention of the IME pad. It does mention the keyboard though... Says that I need to click on the "handwriting icon" (little hand with a pencil icon). This icon i cannot find at all; not in the left click menus for the language bar icons or anywhere.

Thanks in advance,
Chris
khris777@swbell.net
 

budd

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edit: i think someone answered it already... sorry

"Oh yes, I forgot about the little window that lets you select character sets. Mine disappeared one day, and I don't know how to get it back"
an "EN" in blue doesn't appear inside the "start" toolbar when using word or i.e.?
 

avarame

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I'm on Mac OS X here. Totally different. Plus I don't even have Word or IE.

Anyway, one of the menu options, which of course is written in Japanese which I can't read, makes that little window dilly come back, so if anybody else has accidentally closed theirs, just start trying menu items :)
 

fixelbrumpf

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MS IME is okay, but I prefer JWPce when I type Japanese.

Great program with an integrated dictionary, a kanji conversion function and several powerful kanji lookup methods. Every Windows user who's even remotely interested in Japanese should have this program, I can't recommend it enough.

It's not perfect, though -- when it comes to nonstandard Katakana sounds, JWPce seems to be "biased" towards simplified (to me: wrong) romanization, i.e., if you type "ti", it gives you "チ", not "ティ". Also, I haven't found a way to type lowercase kana with it yet, but you can always paste those from its inbuilt character table.
 
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