[Guide] How to install Japanese keyboard and use it (PC/Mobile)

I've seen recently many people complaining about the word bank. Missing words, kanji etc. And the reason to choose the word bank instead of typing the sentence directly was "I don't have Japanese keyboard". So, I decided to make this guide to help people install Japanese keyboard and let them type with it. Also remember that typing your answer instead of using the word bank is much better.

How to install and use the Japanese keyboard on PC (Windows 10):

  1. Open the settings app (it should be in the start menu).

  2. In the settings, choose "Time and language" tab.

  3. Then click on the "Language" tab.

  4. Next, languages list should appear. Click "Add new language".

  5. Search "Japanese", then click on the language and click "next".

  6. Uncheck the first option from the list (unless you want your Windows interface to display in Japanese) and check the rest. Then click "install".

  7. Language will begin installing. "Japanese local experience pack" (日本語 ローカル エクスペリエンス パック) will be installed from Microsoft Store.

  8. After installation, you should be able to use Japanese keyboard:

    • to switch from your current keyboard to the Japanese one, hold [Windows key] and then click [space key]. List of available keyboards will appear. Choose the Japanese one by clicking the [space key]. Remember to hold the [Windows key] while doing so.

    • there should be a language indicator on the task bar. To change the input method from alphanumeric [A] to hiragana [あ] click firstly [Shift] and then [Caps Lock]. To change it back, do the same.

  9. Now you can type in Japanese. After typing something, click [space key] to convert hiragana into kanji (faster method - see Useful IME settings #1). Then, click [Enter] to close the IME editor.

  10. Usually, the IME chooses the best kanji to the words, but if you needed to change e.g. 早く into 速く or カバン into 鞄, then it's easy to do so. After clicking [space key] to convert hiragana into kanji, navigate with [left/right arrow key] to choose the word in which you want to change something. The bold line under the word will indicate which one has been chosen. Click [space key] to see different variants together with with different kanji and more. Click [Enter] to accept the chosen variant\kanji. Click [Enter] once more to close the IME editor.

How to install and use the Japanese keyboard on mobile (Android):

  1. Open the Play Store.

  2. Search "Japanese keyboard" and find "Google Keyboard - Japanese" or click here ).

  3. Install it. After opening the app, click to turn on the keyboard (step 1) and to change your current keyboard (step 2). You don't need to check the option in the step 3. Step 4 allows you to customize the keyboard a little.

4a. If this is the first time using Japanese keyboard, you should then open the settings of the app, go to "Keyboard layout" and chose the QWERTY layout instead of a classic mobile keyboard layout.

4b. If you are more advanced or feel like you can use the standard layout right away, you can stay with the Google Keyboard or install better (in my opinion) and more customizable keyboard which is TypeQ 日本語入力キーボード. That's how this keyboard looks like customized by me:

If formatting doesn't work: Imgur

Useful IME settings (PC only):

  • Conversing to kanji faster

Normally, you have to click [space key] to convert hiragana into kanji, but there is a faster way to do so, by clicking period or question mark at the end of the sentence. To switch this setting on, right click the [A]/[あ] indicator on the task bar and select "Properties". Then select: "advanced", "conversion" tab, and again "advanced". Here, check "convert at punctuation marks" and choose the punctuation marks.


  • Switching to alphanumeric mode without changing the input method

This setting allows to type e.g. word "there" without the need to change the input method from hiragana to alphanumeric. If you type "there" without this setting, it would be "てぇれ”. To turn it on, again open the advanced IME properties and click on the tab "Mixed Japanese/English". Here, you can add some words to this list. After you input the word, don't forget to chose the "Temporarily change to half-width alphanumeric mode" option. Next time when you type the word you added to the list with hiragana input method turned on, it will turn to alphanumeric automatically.


And that would all from me, I hope this guide helped you, thank you for reading!

June 5, 2019

1 Comment

That is cool, thank you!

If I may add—for those who (like me) enjoy complicating their lives by using non-QWERTY keyboards, you can also map the Japanese keyboard to the physical keyboard you're using. For instance, mine is AZERTY (French/France), which doesn't exactly correspond to the Japanese mapping. So here's how to do it:

  1. Windows + R

  2. Type regedit and press OK

  3. Save the Registry at this point, just in case

  4. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SYSTEM > CurrentControlSet > Control > Keyboard Layouts > 00000411

  5. Right-click "Layout File" > Modify

  6. Change the value to the DLL for your physical keyboard (ex: value for AZERTY - France is KBDFR.DLL). If you're not sure about the name, you'll find the exact DLL files in C:\Windows\System32

  7. Reboot and enjoy :)

June 6, 2019
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