Home About Us Archive Recent Posts Contact Us Resources JIA Plan

Japanese Text on Your Computer!


As I talked a little in the last post about not needing a Japanese only keyboard, I thought that it might be mighty helpful to tell you guys how to go about getting the input set up on your computers. If you haven’t done so yet, I’m sure you might be a little hesitant about it too, but it’s actually quite painless and there are lots of sites talking about it too. To boot, you really don’t have to worry about a Japanese keyboard because lots of Japanese people use a Japanese/English keyboard themselves. In fact, out of all my native friends over there, they all use the same input method I’m about to show you.

Luckily the input method is kind of straight forward. While there may be a few things here or there that aren’t exactly logical, most everything thing is. If you know your kana, then this will be a cinch. If you don’t know your kana, I suggest you back up and learn it. It makes it very hard to try and type in a language you don’t even know!

Most srs/Japanese learning books/systems out there will use what’s called romaji. While romaji is the devil, it does prove to make typing a lot easier. For instance, if you want the symbol “あ” to show up you simply type “a”. If you want the character “か” to show up, you type in “ka”. While there might be a few variants between mac and pcs, the input should be pretty much dead on the same. It even accounts for names, places, and special katakana that I’m sure you as a beginner has yet to seen.

There is a lot of inputs that can change into symbols to make for some epic typing to your friends as well. For more information on that, I’ll simply defer to Koichi’s post from Textfugu.

So if you’re not excited yet, well, pooey on you! Typing in Japanese can open the doorway to a lot more possibilities than typing romaji ever would. Once you switch to the real deal your learning abilities should skyrocket compared to a life of romaji. Learning how to use your input isn’t so hard either, and learning the number of character to type with is easy cakes!


The linked guides will also show you how to view Japanese on your computer as well. If you see a bunch of empty or numbered boxes, ???? strings, or weird symbols, its most likely because you’ve yet to install the Eastern Asian Languages on your Windows.

Since I’m all about recycling good information out there in the world, I’m simply going to direct you to the right places already out there. That’s the great thing about the internet. Luckily Robert Y. Eng has laid it all out for us!

Win 2000 Pro |   XP |   Vista |   7

While Win 7’s guide is written by Coscom, they do a good job with pictures and it’s not that different if you were use to the set up from XP and Vista. Windows takes a little work to get started, and sometimes bugs out though. Try not to let it get ya down! haha.


Not having owned a Mac myself, I can’t tell you how accurate the setup is, however a lot of sites mirror this post from Coscom about how to set it up. I’m guessing no matter which OS you have set up, it’s all pretty much the same. Lovingly Mac must have realized a lot of people want to learn Asian languages because it’s already installed on the Mac. Just a few clicks and you’ll be set up in no time.


If you’d like a really good IME, I’d definably recommend checking out Google’s IME for Japanese. Simply follow the prompts to install and soon you will have one very nifty ime. Google’s ime will also put in emoji and some fun character types like stars. I’d recommend checking out their video on the matter and getting to it.

Feeling Shaky?

If you’re still a little iffy on how to go about inputting and you know your kana tables, I’d recommend Coscom’s typing lessons. The lessons go step by step with lots of pictures and easy layout to follow. They even have input charts complete with all the new and weird Katakana! You can simply print that out and have it near by for any issues you may be having! While I may not be a fan of their lessons and such, you cannot pass up their typing guide if you’re new to it.

Good luck all you Japanese typing fiends and have fun!

Mikoto Neko

The Ring leader of multiple projects who is studying japanese and raising a family! Who needs time for sleep?

Web design by: Panda Chan, Art Design by: © Suishou Yuki, Webmaster: Sally Hayes

Legal links