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Japanese Input on Windows XP

Here is how to setup Japanese in Windows XP including handwritten kanji recognition.

Note that these instructions are for Windows XP Pro. I don't have XP Home. I assume it's the same but I could be wrong.

Installing Japanese Support

First go to the control panel and Pick "Date, Time, Language, and Regional Options"

Then pick "Regional and Language Options"

You should get the "Regional and Language Options" window like below. At the top click the "Languages" tab.

The first thing you need to do is click "Install files for East Asian Languages". Once you do that click "Apply".

Next click the "Advanced" tab and where it says "Code page conversion tables" you need to check "Japanese" and click "Apply". Until you do this Japanese will not be an option in certain places. I don't remember if you have to reboot at this point or not.

Anyway, the next step is to set Japanese for "Language for non-Unicode programs". This particular option will make it possible to run Japanese software as well as type Japanese almost anywhere including filenames, notepad, etc. Of course some programs don't support Japanese.

There are two problems with this setting though. One is aesthetic, the default system font becomes a font that supports Japanese and in non unicode Japanese the character / becomes ¥. That can be confusing since all paths almost anywhere in Windows will now have that symbol instead of \. For example C:\windows\system32 becomes c:¥windows¥system32.

The second issue is that some programs look at this setting to decide what language to install in. Two that come to mind are Apple's Quicktime and Nero CD. In order to install them in English you need to set this setting back to English, reboot, install, set it back to Japanese, reboot.

After you are finished rebooting get back to the "Regional and Language Options" control panel, go back to the "Languages" tab and click "Details…" under "Text services and input languages".

That will bring up this window. Click "Add…"

Set the input language to Japanese. For the keyboard layout I'm honestly not 100% sure since I have a Japanese keyboard so I can't check with an American one.  For now set it to Japanese. FYI: A Japanese keyboard has 5-8 more keys than a US keyboard.

Click "OK" and now pick "Key Settings…"

Select "Switch between input languages" and pick "Change Key Sequence…"

Turn OFF both "Switch input languages" and "Switch keyboard layouts". Normally pressing like Alt-Shift or something like that will switch between Japanese and English input. For me, I almost never want to switch (you can type English in Japanese input mode). Worse though it seems like I press those keys by accident quite often and it switches while I'm typing messing everything up so I suggest you turn this feature off.

Click "Okay", "Okay", "Okay" until you are out of the control panels. You're done with the control panels.

Using the Japanese Input Method Editor (IME)

Now, most likely, somewhere on your screen you'll see a small window like this

That is called the "Language Bar" and it's where you can choose Japanese or English input modes. Click on "English" and you should be able to pick "Japanese"

The bar will change to this

I generally find that bar to be in the way so you can tell it to go into the taskbar. Right click it and pick "Minimize"

It should pop into the taskbar like this.

Although you shouldn't need to you can switch between Japanese and English input modes by clicking the JP/EN button.

You can also pick "Show the Language bar" to get the big version back. Do that now.

Entering Japanese

Note that the language settings are PER PROGRAM!! That means if we were in English, ran two programs, in one program we went to the language bar and picked Japanese when we switched back to the other program it would still be in English input mode. This can be confusing. Another thing, unless some program is active that accepts text input some of the settings will not be available. So, open Notepad and keep it active while trying the follow stuff below.

Okay, the most basic thing you need to know. The 4th button in the language bar switches between several different sub input modes

They are in order from top to bottom, Hiragana, Full Width Katakana, Full Width English, Half Width Katakana, Half Width English, Direct Input. The only 2 you really care about are Hiragana and Direct Input. Direct Input is English. You type, you get English just like Windows was before you did all this stuff. Set it to Hiragana and you can type romanji like "toru" and you'll see とる instead. The underline means the Input Method Editor (IME), the thing that does this is waiting for you to decide what you want to do with those characters. If you press ENTER they
will be entered as is, If you press space once the IME will turn them into the most common thing they could be OR the last thing you told it to change them too. Press space again and you'll get a list of things it could be. For example on the second press I got this

The left window is a list of all the things the IME thinks it could change とる into. Use the cursor keys to select one. Generally the last thing on the list is katakana, in this case トル, that's why you never need to use the special Katakana input modes since you can just press space twice to get there. Also the list wraps so if you are at the top, press the up key and you'll go to the bottom. Plus, if you type something that would normally be katakana like てれび on the first space press it will become the most common thing which is テレビ.

On the right window are all the various homonym definitions for toru with examples. The first one for example is 取る as in to take a note, take a fee. The 3rd one is 撮る as in take a picture. Very useful, even many Japanese often forget which one is correct, especially the less common ones.

Once you have what you want press ENTER to complete it.

TIP: switching between Hiragana input mode and Direct Input mode through the language bar is tedious. Instead you can switch by pressing Alt-Tilde (the key below ESC on your keyboard).  So, need to type Japanese, press Alt-Tilde, start typing. When you are done press Alt-Tilde again to switch back to English.

A more complex example.

Let's say you want to enter 今締める so you type  いましめる. When you press space you'll get this 戒める. Pressing space again will not give you the completion you want. That's because the IME is trying to make a word out of all 5 characters. To tell it to use less hold shift and press the left arrow. Each time you do less of characters will be highlighted. Press it 3 times until you get this いましめる then press space again. This time the IME will only look up the first two characters. Most likely this time it will become this しめる. Notice the gap between 今 and しめる. This means the IME is considering those two words separately. Also the underline under 今 is thicker than the one under しめる indicating that 今 is the current thing the IME is concentrating on. To complete the second word press the right arrow. The underline under しめる will get thicker and you can press space to complete it and choose 締める.

English shortcut:

Sometimes you want to enter one English word in the middle of a Japanese sentence. Instead of switching to Direct Input mode you can just type and ignore what you see on the screen. For example type "handwritten" and you'll get "はんdwりってn" but then press F8 to convert it to half-width English and you'll get "handwritten". Keep pressing F8 and it will cycle through all uppercase, all lowercase, etc. Press F9 and you'll get full width English. Note that you can't press space since that would start completion so this is only useful for entering single words at a time.

Explanation:

In *normal* Japanese each character takes the same space. They are fixed size fonts. Check out any Japanese writing textbook and you'll see each character is supposed to fit into a box. For graphic design sometimes Japanese use proportional fonts but generally, much more than in English, lots of stuff is in a fixed size font.

Full Width means a character that fills one of those boxes. Half Width means a character that only fits half the box. Technically in the computer half width means it takes a single byte, full width means it takes more than one byte.

Full Width English ABC... not ASCII ABC, they are multi byte Japanese characters.
Half Width English ABC… Normal ASCII English
Full Width Katakana カタカナ double byte katakana characters
Half Width Katakana カタカナ single byte katakana characters.

The place this mostly comes up is on internet forms. Lots of forms will ask for your name in full width character then again in katakana in half-width. They'll ask for address in full width but postal code and phone number in half width.

Note: When typing in Hiragana mode pressing the space when there is nothing else typed will insert a full width space. That's usually what you want when typing Japanese but if you need a normal English space you can insert a half-width space while in Hiragana mode by pressing Shift-Space.

Handwritten kanji input

From the language bar click the 6th button (IME パッド). Up pops a list of other ways to enter stuff. The top one is handwriting.

Once you pick it you'll get this window

You can use your mouse or a pen if you have one to enter kanji. I've highlighted the most important buttons. The 2 on the right: "Undo stroke" backs up one stroke. "Erase" clears the writing area.

The ones on the left are just shortcuts for the options that were on the menu that brought you here. The most interesting are probably "by stroke count" which lets you lookup kanji by number of strokes and "by part" which lets you look them up by a particular part. They should be pretty obvious. In all of them the area on the right shows possible kanji. Click one to enter it in the IME. Press enter to add it to your document.

Again, it's important to remember these modes are PER PROGRAM. If you are in one program and select handwritten mode if you switch to a different program you will no longer be in handwritten mode.

Making Japanese your default

Hopefully from reading the above stuff and getting used to switching between Direct Input and Hiragana Input modes you'll realize you pretty much don't need English mode ever.  If you navigate back into the "Regional and Language Options" -> "Languages" tab -> "Details…" you can set the "Default input language" to Japanese.

Now when you start Windows, Japanese will immediately be available.

  • smitha
    IME Installation problem

    Hi,

    I am working on a windows XP machine. I am facing the following problem.

    I followed the same steps specified in the tutorial to add Japanese language support.

    I got Text Services and Input Languages window on doing the following step

    Start –> Control Panel –> Time, Language and Regional Options –> Regional and Language Options –> Languages tab –> Details)

    I highlighted Microsoft IME Standard 2002 ver. 8.1 in the Installed Services.

    I tried to get the property window by clicking on the in property button, but it is not responding.

    I am not able to input any japanese characters through keyboard when i select the JN in the language bar.

    How can i solve this problem.

    Is there any way to uninstall IME and install it once more.

    In Regional and language Option Window install files for east asian languages is in disabled mode.

    What should i do…

    Any help is appreciated.

    Regards

    smitha

  • Peter
    input mode

    Hi, is there a possibility that the input mode automatically changes to “hiragana” because when i switch from another language to japanese the standart setting of japanese is always “direct input” (so romaji appears).

    consequently its annoying to change it always manually.

    thats why i would like to ask you if i can change it so that the standart setting is set to “hiragana” when i choose japanese?

    btw. my system is windows xp home edition.

    thanks for your help! =D

  • John
    Network Admin

    I have the following problem with Outlook 2003 ( Japanese Version ) and Windows XP ( Japanese version ):

    When I write a new email in English mode, everything works fine, but when I copy a few lines from top and paste them into current email somewhere, Outlook changed the input mode from English to Japanese input mode automatically and if I don’t pay attention to this change and keep typing, it messed up my email message and I have go back to retype the message. Anyone has suggestions ? All inputs are greately appreciated.

    Thanks.

    John

  • Chris
    Setting up the extra Japanese keys on a Japanese keyboard???

    Thanks for a great tutorial!  I have a question though…

    I am currently in Japan and have a Japanese laptop.  I formatted it and install an English version of Vista.  I have Japanese input working fine but is there anyway to setup the extra keys (for example, from the image you posted, http://greggman.com/japan/xp-ime/jkeys2.jpg ???)

    Any help is greatly appreciated :-)

    Chris

  • Needshelp
    Need help alot >.>

    I got to the part to when it says to restart my computer but my computer asked for microsoft XP home edition cd and so i did than i restarted the computer now i cant get into my computer i get to a screen to click which user i wanna get in to and when i do it doesn’t let me in I NEED HELP QUICK!!! please

  • Needshelp
    need help quick

    I got to the part to when it says to restart my computer but my computer asked for microsoft XP home edition cd and so i did than i restarted the computer now i cant get into my computer i get to a screen to click which user i wanna get in to and when i do it doesn’t let me in I NEED HELP QUICK!!! please (this is same person as above)

  • xhinzen
    question?..

    a pop up error occurs when im trying to change the unicode to japanese. in the advanced tab?

    setup was unable to install the chosen locale. please contact your system administrator.

    how do i fix this one?

    im sorry for the bad english, i hav googled this issue for days and find nothing.. thanks~*

  • xhinzen

    thx 4 d wonderful step by step guide..

     

    i hav already installed the eastern pack.. and stuffs.

    a pop up error occurs when im trying to change the unicode to japanese. in the advanced tab?

    setup was unable to install the chosen locale. please contact your system administrator.

    how do i fix this one?

    im sorry for the bad english, i hav googled this issue for days and find nothing.. thanks~*

     

    sorry 4 my double posting.

  • bkds
    Wrong keyboard layout with only MS Office

    I’m now using a notebook bought from Japan.

    At first everything was fine until one day I found that my keyboard layout was changed to US only on MS Office programs.

    (I’m getting @ instead of ” when pressing “Shift+2″, only on MS Office, other programs still work fine.)

    Any help is greatly appreciated.

    Thank you very much!

  • Marlon
    Problem

    I added the support for East Asian Languages but Japanese doesn’t show up under the Keyboard Choice thingy.

  • http://img399.imageshack.us/img399/6053/keyboardfq8.jpg Achi
    chinese characters

    I followed your tutorial step by step but and it seems to work just fine, but when I type example; toru and press the space bar twice to get the Chinese based characters it doesn’t display them, what im I doing wrong.

    you can see what I mean on this screenshot.

    thanks in advance

    http://img399.imageshack.us/img399/6053/keyboardfq8.jpg

  • http://blog.greggman.com greggman

    try pressing these exact keys

    t o r u space

    That should work.  If it doesn’t then one thing to try is

    t o r u space shift+right space space

    In your screenshot, only ト is selected. Pressing shift-right at that point should also select the る part.

  • tokjdm
    Some kana are no longer correctly converted

    I have WinXP Pro SP2 Japanese version on a IBM T43p. I often type in Japanese in Word, Outlook and on the web. Suddenly, certain words are no longer correctly converted.

    For instance typing sanka`in hiragana さんか would always immediately give the correct conversion into 参加. Now when pushing the space bar, I just have the option of a katakana conversion. Normally approximately 20 different possible conversions are proposed. Other words seem fine except that I found another problem with a name also beginning by さ.

    I ran Windows Update, rebooted, etc. but nothing.

    Any ideas what I should do ?

  • Jennifer
    japanese ime

    thank you so much for showing me how to do that. i’ve been looking all over the internet for someone to show me how to do that and ur the only one that makes sense =D

  • Rupa
    Distortion on UI components in Japanese OS

    Hi,

    I have a SWT windows application developed in English XP. When I run it in Japanese XP/Vista I see that all the components are distorted and there are some labels in which the text is trucated and also the buttons go out of the composite.

    1.Please tell me how to maintain common font across different language OS.

    2.How to maintain UI same across all resolutions?

    Please reply fast as it is very very urgent to fix these issues.

    Thanks in advance.

    Regards,

    Rupa

     

  • G_Seattle
    Microsoft IME problem with T61p

    Hi Greggman and folks

    Here’s my issue, I hope someone can help! I have a T61p (US keyboard) and use Japanese IME with Windows 7. When I used Vista prior to upgrading to 7, the keyboard mapping was perfect. I have little Hiragana stickers on my keys, and had no issues.

    Since the upgrade to 7, the mapping became off. the ~ key (upper left) no longer correspond to hiragana RO, shift + hiragana HO used to give me the hiragana “-” sign, that no longer works either. Parenthesis are off too, you get the idea. I have not touched the keyboard/language settings. I have:

    Default Input Language set to English

    English (United States)

    – Keyboard

    – United States Internation

    Japanese (Japan)

    – Keyboard

    – Microsoft IME

    I really don’t understand why the keyboard is off when I switch to IME…Any ideas?

    Many thanks – (ありがとうございます !

    Guillaume

  • nk
    kanji appear larger than hiragana

    Hi, I face the problem that in my Windows Media Player, file name, folder name, etc.. that the kanji appear larger than the hiragana or katakana in the same line. I didn’t face this problem previously until once I installed the font Arial Unicode and change my Windows XP language to Chinese… When I change back to English, the problem remains… Is there any way I can do to fix this problem? I already delete the font Arial Unicode, but the problem remained…

    Please help me, thanx!!

  • KJBoyd
    I can not type Hiragana even IME Standard 2002 Ver 8.1 is installed.

    Hi

    I used to be able to type in Romanji, which converts to Hiragana automatically. I don’t know what I did to my computer. I try deleting and re-adding the Japanese language also, I have IME Standard 2002 Ver 8.1 in my PC but it looks doesn’t work. when I select Japanese on the language bar all that comes out is either Romanji which does not convert to anything or KATAKANA. When I select HIRAGANA, I can not type anything in any where.How can I type Japanese on my PC again? Please kindly help!!

    K.J. Boyd

  • Rooz

    Thanks so much for this article! I couldn’t get it to work, but thanks to you it works perfectly now! Can’t get the handwritten hirigana going, but don’t mind that. Thanks so much!

    Greetings, Rooz

  • Evans
    Great; thanks!!!

    It is the most straightforward instruction ever! Got it right the first time. Cheers and thanks again.

  • Wendell
    furigana

    Excellent tutorial, Greg! Thank you! Is there any way to have furigana printed along side kanji?

  • PhilM
    Japanese Language IME for Windows XP installed not working correctly

    First of all thanks for making a dedicated site on this, it’s really helped me so far (much more than MS) Anyway I’ve gotten so far but seem to have not hit a bit of a problem. I’m running Win XP with Office Standard Edition 2003, so can’t install the Global IME as I need to have Office XP installed for this. So have followed your screen shots and now installed the Japanese IME Standard 2002 ver 8.1. all looks to be correct until I go and actually start to try and type Japanese. If I select input method as Hiragana then start to type all I can see is, “a”, “i”, “u”, “e”, “o”, but all the rest of the hiragana such as “ka”, “sa”, “ta”, “na”, etc are not recognisable. Any ideas on this. Thanks Phil

  • Fanculizzazzione
    BAAHH THE IME TELL HOW TO USE.!

    Good tutorial but you forgot to tell that to use the IME , first you need to open the notepad!!! This is an important distinction!

    Why people don-t say the important things_

    Anyway.. thank you.

  • Merri
    i couldn’t see my “_A” tab input mode

    okay..now i have installed japanese language..but i can’t see the input mode tab..i saw it long ago..but now it just seem to have disappeared..i tried to re-install the language..but it still doesn’t show the input mode..

    how can it become like this? and how to see the input mode tab again?

  • Angela

    Does it make your computer perminantly type in japanese? Like, does your comp only type in japanese?

  • Joe

    Hi! Thanks for the tutorial, it was very helpful.

    I have a doubt I hope you can answer: if I understood correctly, it is possible to type “toru” the way I normally would (pressing the keys T,O,R and U in that order) and they will be transformed to hiragana, but I can’t seem to make that happen.

    Instead, each key has a hiragana character set to it, arranged in a way that, for example, pressing the keys A, B and C will make the character ち, こ and そ appear respectively. I’d like to be able to type transforming romaji. Any help will be appreciated. 

  • Jacob

    Hi. I did all the steps several times and for some reason, when i go to add an input language, japanese isn’t there. All the other languages are, but not japanese! Why

  • brendan

    Hi I have a problem with the ‘Properties for Microsoft IME Standard’area of Japanese IME. The fonts in this section are totally scrambled- a lot of boxes, i¾A~ƒ¾A~l etc. There are no letters in the OK, Cancel, Apply tabs. I need to change the keyboard lay out in order to be able to type in english phonemes e.g ‘ka’and have it converted to か. At the moment a single keystroke will input a kana and I can’t change it.
    I have just installed office 2007, as there was a bug in the 2003 version of office.
    Should I delete the 2003 office completely?

    Thanks-
    Brendan

  • Pingback: 12 Tips to use your Japanese IME better | nihonshock

  • nk

    Hi, I face the problem that in my Windows Media Player, file name, folder name, etc.. that the kanji appear larger than the hiragana or katakana in the same line. I didn’t face this problem previously until once I change my Windows XP language to Chinese… When I change back to English, the problem remains… Is there any way I can do to fix this problem?

    Please help me, thanx!!

  • Mark

    I have installed the IME and made the settings changes described in the article above on a XP OS and Office 2003 PC.

    The trouble I am having is that some pages (in the web browser) are coming up with both languages even though I have selected English in the IME. This happens on both IE and FireFox.

    Did I miss a setting some where or is this normal?

    Thanks in advance for any help.
    Mark

  • Kazuhiro

    I am running on Windows XP Home Edition.
    The computer is asking me for a CD but I aint got one.
    Is there any way that I could download online for free the japanese language pack? Please advise me.

    In need of your help,
    Kazuhiro

  • Jordan

    It won’t let me install East asian languages, I can’t tick the box. HELP!!!!

  • Michael

    When i type “a” i get the “shi” hiragana. Its all jumbled up! I need help.

  • Andrew

    My keyboard is set to, what i believe to be, the Japanese keyboard because when I type an a for instance I instead get a hiragana Chi. What do I need to change in word to get it to be right?

  • Kamille

    Hi. I tried what you suggested but my “\” still shows up as yen symbols. I cannot select Japanese as a keyboard layout/IME.

    How do I fix this?

    Thanks.

  • jonny stacks

    Is it possible to use IME without administrator privileges? We have a multi-user environment and everyone only has power user privileges at best. Thank you.

  • funayama

    HI I have the same problem as everyone else…the yen sign stays there¥¥¥¥¥!

  • Somebody who need help

    Hello!

    I have an annoying problem, please help as soon as you can. When i want typing “a” it type instead “チ”. Shortly every letter has its own hiragana/katakana. Now I have Windows XP. I tried to solve this problem alone, it did’t helped. I looked many site to fix this but i didn’t find anything.

  • Patricia

    i have a problem mine was japanese and i need it in english… i did what you have given in vice versa but it stayed the same. it only changes when i type letter. but i need the whole computer system to be in english..thank you

  • Somebody who need help

    Hi again.
    First i solved my problem and thx your attention. (I clicked reset in IME standards properties [click language tools appear (in jp)>tools>properties and in the general part down you have to see a reset button click and i can type well. And if it didn't work, tick the two possibility] it was good to me.
    Second Patricia look at the 4. picture in this page. Search it in your computer and i think you should see:日本語 on the first rectangle. Change it to:英語, and reboot your computer.

  • Matt

    Hi! I am having the same problem as Joe and ‘somebody who need help” above. However, as well as the problems they are experiencing (below) My languae bar will not appear and I have no option for IME 2002 version 8.1, instead there is only Japanese input system(MS-IME2002) although it is probably the same thing. Please help if possible

    “I have a doubt I hope you can answer: if I understood correctly, it is possible to type “toru” the way I normally would (pressing the keys T,O,R and U in that order) and they will be transformed to hiragana, but I can’t seem to make that happen.

    Instead, each key has a hiragana character set to it, arranged in a way that, for example, pressing the keys A, B and C will make the character ち, こ and そ appear respectively. I’d like to be able to type transforming romaji. Any help will be appreciated.”

    Also, I have no option for  

  • Jany

    I bought a netbook in a French Fnac two years ago; it came with a version of XP Service Pack 3. No CD reader is available on a netbook. So How do I do to install those extra files?

    It’s very frustrating not to be able to see Far-East languages characters. Hasn’t Microsoft thought about it yet? Or is it all for money!?

  • Somebody who need help

    OK. I’ll try to tell you a little better. (if i can, because my english gammer is bad but i’ll try :).) Find it on this page: ‘The bar will change to this’ (Ctrl+f if you have firefox). Under the ‘The bar will change to this’ you have to see a picture. On that picture you have to see next to a little box this: ’ツール’(tools). Find that box with ‘tools’ subtitle on your own computer. Here you are: [tools>properties and in the general part below you have to see 'order settings'] i don’t know what exactly i done there but it worked and i think you’re better in english than me. You can do it. Oh i almost forget that i think MS-IME2002 is MicroSoft-IME2002. So IME 2002 version 8.1 and MS-IME2002 is the same input mode. But i’m not sure.

  • Justin

    Does anyone know how to put the hiragana reading above the Kanji. Trying to create teaching tools for my kids and I need to have the hiragana reading about the Kanji that they don’t know yet so they can read and learn more quickly.

  • Somebody who need help

    Hmmm… You think this?: ともだち->友達. If yes just press space one or two times.

  • Dustin

    hello i got prob in my japanese laptop i dont know if its in notepad or in japanese blah blah IME. The thing is whenever i copy paste a code in a note all code were have been stick together i observer that the down space is read a double up arrow i wonder how to change this in one solution…coz its hard to change many double up arrows to down space right?..pls help me…thank you

  • Keiichi
  • Keiichi

    Hi Matt,
    If you are using Japanese Keyboard, push Alt-key & “Katakana/Hiragana/roman(カタカナ/ひらがな/ローマ字)”-key at the same time. The second key must be at the left of a right Alt-key.
    Attention: It returns to “Kana” input mode when pushing twice.

    Otherwise, you need to modify the input mode , as follows:
    Step1) Click the “入力方式” icon at the “Language Bar”, the 14th picture in this page.
    Step2) Select “Properties(プロパティ)” at the floating menu. Then, the properties dialog will appear.
    Step3) Select “General” tab
    Step4) Select “roman input(ローマ字入力)” from the list at the “Input Settings(入力設定)” – “roman input/kana input(ローマ字入力/かな入力)” field.

  • Keiichi

    Hi, Justin
    You mean, do you want to write the ruby above the Kanji?
    Like, http://blog.heiichi.com/?eid=351060