Japanese input method

The Japanese language uses a very complex writing system: two 46-character syllabaries and thousands of logographic Kanji borrowed from Chinese with both Japanese and Japanized-Chinese readings. Fortunately, a standardized Roman keyboard input method has been developed and is not difficult to use for those who can read the language. The input method is basically identical for both Mac and Windows.


With the installation of Japanese character functionality, the keyboard menu in the upper right will offer a option. This should be chosen for any application when Japanese input is required. In most applications, the font will default to Osaka or HeiseiMincho when kotoeri is chosen; if it does not, change the font manually to one of these or any other Japanese font. Use the input method described below.

A pull-down menu next to the kotoeri symbol can activated by a pencil icon. input hiragana should be chosen (checked) by default. Other options for advanced users are:


After Japanese character functionality is installed, choose the Microsoft Japanese IME input method from the keyboard menu (EN) on the right side of the bottom toolbar. The palette that then appears offers the same sorts of options as the kotoeri menu on the Mac. Use the input method described below.

Input Method

The input method for Mac kotoeri and Windows MS Japanese IME is basically identical. In the document, type the desired word in the Roman alphabet (Roma-ji), using standard transliteration spellings, except for the following:

After typing a word in hiragana, a grey line will appear underneath it . If it is the desired spelling, hit return and the spelling will be accepted (the line will disappear). If not, for example if kanji are desired, hit the space bar instead and the hiragana will change into the most commonly used kanji for that reading . If these most common kanji are not the ones desired, hit the space bar again and the kanji window will appear. Choose the desired kanji with the arrow or number keys. Hitting the return key will accept that kanji.

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September 2001