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How to Type Japanese


8 Jan 2004
The following was contributed by Seyumi, and has been copied and pasted from the original thread here, which also contains information on kaomoji.

Reading Japanese Fonts

If you couldn't see those characters properly, it's because you don't have Japanese font installed on your computer. It's very easy procedure to be able to read Japanese fonts. I believe there's a few links to the Microsoft website to download quick IME reading packages (don't know them) but I'll show you how to truly install the fonts (it's like a 230MB package) to the point where you can type them as well instead of just reading (well on Windows XP anyway)

Just go to your Control Panel and click on Region and Language options. Click the Languages Tab and click on the bottom button saying "Install Files for East Asia languages" you'll need your Windows XP CD since it installs quite a large amount of files. After that it may require a restart (I forgot) and that's it.

How to turn your OS into "Japanese Mode"

Another easy procedure but has small consequences if stayed on the mode. Just go to your Control Panel and click the Region and Language Options button. Click the Advanced tab and at the top dropdown box find "Japanese."A restart will be required.

They're ups and downs to being in Japanese mode but it's just as easy to switch back to your original language than it was to change it. While in Japanese mode more Japanese things will display properly. Example is like a text document with Japanese in it, Japanese programs that display a bunch of ????'s or squares and symbols while trying to run will now display proper Japanese, ect. The downsides are if you're trying to install programs or something the setup may be in Japanese (if you can't read JP might be a problem). Or when you run it it'll be in Japanese (Nero for example). Another is your default font changes to something uglier in something like Internet Explorer. Some websites will look a lot different. Another example is like Microsoft Word. Typing in something like an apostrophe will look normal to you but if you like post it on the internet it'll look like some weird Japanese kanji instead to everyone else making your text look jacked up. Just something I noticed.

How to type in Japanese

First thing you need to do is setup a Japanese keyboard. (Don't worry you don't actually need a physical one just change around some options.) Again go to your control Panel and click Region and Language Options button. Click the Languages tab at the top and hit the Details button. Just click the "Add button" on the middle right and scroll till you see "Japanese." Then click the Keyboard layout/IME button and click "OK". After doing this a language bar will popup on your desktop. You can configure it a bit in the "Language Bar" button at the bottom after you click OK. That's pretty much it, now how to actually type.

Typing can be tricky and a pain. The default way to shift from your language to another one is holding down Left Alt+Shift at the same time. You also sometimes have to hold down Left Alt+~ (tilde). Just keep pressing these two until it switches. You can switch back the same way.

When you type in Japanese it'll originally be in roman (just English looking characters). It's also by default in hiragana. Most Japanese words have kanji to represent the word. Press the spacebar to bring up the kanji list (if the word has one), also it displays the Katakana version of the word which you can also do by pressing F7 (press F6 through F10 for different options, also you can press the same button multiple times for more options) Just a tip, pressing spacebar and getting the first Kanji is "usually" the right one you want to use but don't count on it. Remember that words have multiple meanings and kanjis. Example I want to type Tree き (ki) and when I press space, the first on the list is this: 気, but I want 木 which is like the 4th one down. Just be careful.


Here is a link to a page that tells you how to install Microsoft's Japanese IME.

Links to more threads that discuss the issue:

How are you inputting Japanese Characters?
How do I get Kanji displayed on my computer?
Japanese IME
Write Hiragana Above Kanji - Microsoft Japanese IME 2003
Japanese on windows xp
I read the links, but what if you don't have Windows? All the questions had windows in them. I use a unix system-Linux. :(
Yeah, I have it sort of figured out now. I just can't make it write in this website for some reason. :/
To write Japanese, i use a program named "Japanese Word Processor".
Just google it to find a download link.
I try to translate what I want to say until I get the right characters on message boards, but for HTML I usually use; copy/paste is good if you save the characters in an email or document so you don't have to do it all over again to retrieve them..
I tried to download the file through windows way like you said, but it always asks for the windows cd. I put it in as it asked, and it totally wiped all the stuff off my laptop!

Bit confused as to why, so I dont want to try and put the cd in again.

Any free programs I can download that display the east asia fonts?

There are Windows disks and restore disks. You probably put in a restore disk, which sometimes wipes everything clean. Do you have a separate Windows disk?
Hmm.. Well it didnt say it was the restore disk. It was the windows disk! o_O

I dont know, maybe Im just silly.

But I only have the one disk.
You don't have to change back to english mode. Clicking, on the Language Bar, the little character one, choose direct input and tah-da! You are typing in english characters. To change back, you simply choose hiragana or full-width katakana etc.

I find the toolbar very useful!
how do I type small characters such as 「っ」?
I'm on a mac, but that shouldn't make much difference
thanks a lot mate, you've saved me avoiding typing certain words (I'm serious! :embarasse) - and I would have never figured that out...
For the same thing with Windows XP:
With my PC (running windows XP) to do the same thing you type a lower case 'L' first.
Eg tsu つ Ltsu (lower case L) っ (small hiragana)
ke け Lke(same as above) ヶ (becomes small katakana)
i い Li(same again) ぃ (Small hiragana)
Note some characters become katakana when small and others won't become small.

I found this out when I wrote さかな and accidently typed salkana, it became さヵな。 Moral: Don't type in the dark :D

Hope I helped people on windows who didn't know how to do it.
Glenn, you might want to make what I said more understandable to the human brain and edit it into your thread started under the 'How to type Japanese'. Then people will see it straight away.
I will shut up now :D:D:D:D
Hello, i am new here :)
I am having trouble getting IME to work correctly.
I 1st follow the steps to install japanse IME, reboot and it works fine. But if I restart my pc again, the options are simplified as you can see in the pic below. Instead of convertaing what I type into katakana/hiragana, it acts as if i thinks I am using a japanese keyboard :( for example, when i click the kana buton and type tsu, it will give me 3 japanse characters instead of the hiragana character for tsu... without the kana button clicked, i just get the normal english aphabet) how do i fix this?


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Wow, the OP looks complicated! Makes me glad that I don't have Windows any more.

For anyone who is using Mac OS X: simply go to your System Preferences, click on "International". A whole bunch of foreign languages are there to choose from.

Next click the "Edit" button in this menu. You can check all of the languages that you wish to use.

In the "Input Menu" you also check the languages there. For instance, I have checked all of the following: "Japanese Kana Pallette" (a really cool clickable list of hiragana and kana), "Character Pallette" (for extended English), "Kotoeri", "Romaji", "Hiragana", "Katakana", "U.S.", and "U.S. Extended".

You can also opt to have the input menu to show in the menu bar by checking that option. Then whatever program you are using, TextEdit, your web browser, etc, you can switch between languages at the click of your mouse without any need to reboot your computer.

After you have all of the options you want checked, just hit command Q and quit Sys Prefs.

When typing in Japanese, you just type out the romaji for it on your key board. Hitting the space bar will bring up an option window for which kanji to change the resulting hiragana into.

I switch back and forth between languages at the click of my mouse for google searches in Japanese if I know a term I'm looking for etc (for instance Onagadori). It's so easy!
i just kinda installed the keyboard font thingy e.g. お げんき です か? さよなら
Indiana Gardener< im using the same thing i did what you say but when i type i cant type in japanese why?

Indiana Gardener< 窶堙??堙?窶堋?窶堙ィ窶堋ェ窶堙 im using the same mac OS X TOO
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