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Nihongo on the Web


The topics briefly discussed here are:

If you have suggestions or ideas to contribute to this section, don't hesitate to contact the Webmaster via a 'Comments' entry.

Display/Input of Japanese Characters
Browser versions since the mid-2000s have been able to display Japanese web pages. Input of Japanese requires a few steps. If you are interested in this easily-obtained capability, read on.

You may want to print this page out for easy reference.

  1. For users of Windows 2000, XP, Vista or Windows 7, you already have the files necessary; you may just need to change the settings and restart. For Vista and 7, go to Control Panel>Clock Language Region>Change Keyboards or Other Input Methods. Simply click on: Change Keyboards>Add>Japan>Microsoft IME. Refer to the comments below about entering Japanese with the IME. For Windows XP and 2000:

Windows XP

Windows 2000

Open Regional and Language Options in Control Panel.

Open Regional Options in Control Panel.

On the Languages tab, under Supplemental language support, select the Install Files for East Asian Languages check box.

On the General tab, under Language settings for the system, select the check box next to Japanese.

Click OK or Apply. You may be prompted to insert the Windows-CD ROM or point to a network location where the files are located.

Click Apply. You may be prompted to insert the Windows-CD ROM or point to a network location where the files are located.

You will be asked to Restart.

You will be asked to Restart.

You’re ready to view and input Japanese. For further information jump to step 4.

You’re ready to view and input Japanese. For further information jump to step 4.

  1. For users running Windows Me, Windows 98, Windows 95, or Windows NT 4.0:

Not Running Office XP

Running Office XP

Go to the Input Method Editor (IME) page from Microsoft

Go to the Microsoft download page for Input Method Editor (IME) that is compatible with Office XP running on pre-Win 2000 systems.

Choose from the pull-down menu Japanese-with Language Pack (a 5.2 meg .exe file). Microsoft's explanation of IME compatibility is here.

Click on Japanese IME Microsoft's explanation of IME compatibility is here.

Save the JAMONDO.exe file to your desktop.

Save the imejpn.exe file to your desktop.

Locate the JAMONDO.exe file on your desktop. Double-click to begin installation.

Locate the imejpn.exe file on your desktop. Double-click to begin installation.

You will be asked to Restart.

You will be asked to Restart.

You’re ready to view and input Japanese. For further information review steps below.

You’re ready to view and input Japanese. For further information review steps below.

  1. Japanese Web Page Display (IE 4.0 or greater, Mozilla Firefox, Netscape)
    Once you've downloaded the language pack described above, if you pull up a web page that displays Japanese, it should display properly (instead of the gobbledygook that otherwise displays.) If you're still getting garbage, try going to View, Encoding, Japanese (Auto-Select) (Auto-detect in Firefox and Netscape).

  1. Reading Japanese Email
    After installing the IME above, Japanese text emails should display properly, except for the subject line, which may appear as mojibake (jibberish) unless in roman letters. If the email text is not displayed properly, try going to View, Encoding, Japanese (Auto-Select) (Autodetect in Mozilla Firefox and Netscape).

  1. Input Method Editor (IME) - Sending Japanese Email
    After installing the IME as described above, a new icon appears in the lower right hand tool bar, next to your clock. When your cursor is located in HTML input areas and in Word/Excel 2000 and newer, this icon toggles between EN (English) and JA (Japanese). A Japanese IME converts keystrokes into kana (phonetic) and kanji (ideographic) characters and words. As keystrokes are entered, the IME attempts to guess which character or characters are desired by the user. Please note that in pre-2000 Microsoft products, only the message area is HTML. (not the to:, from:, or subject: areas)

    After installing the IME and language pack described above, you can create and send an email readable in Japan by selecting: Format, Encoding, Japanese (JIS), in Outlook Express & Outlook; View, Encoding, Japanese(JIS), in Netscape and Firefox.

On-line Dictionaries
Here's my favorite on-line look-up type Wa/Ei, Ei/Wa Dictionary(US) It is my favorite because the results are displayed in both kanji and hiragana. Here's a rudimentary online dictionary that is English to ro-maji Japanese. Aruku and and Excite are Japanese language Ei/Wa and Wa/Ei dictionaries that RMs have suggested for use. The Wa/Ei requires non-ro-maji input.

Japanese Software and Japanese Windows
Most Japanese software, including Japanese versions of Microsoft Products, will only run under Japanese Windows (WIN-J), available from Japanese bookstores in major US cities. Some Japanophiles partition their hard drives into WIN-J and WIN-E partitions. When WIN-J is running, pull down menus and commands are all displayed in Japanese. I understand English software generally runs fine on WIN-J, but I have no personal experience.

Translation Software
Assuming you can read Japanese and have installed the Japanese IME described above, try this web-based translation site from Excite. It translates either from Japanese to English or vice-versa, but its translations are quite literal.

Listening to and Watching Japanese Programs
In the US, 'TV Japan' can be subscribed to via Dish Network for about $30 extra per month. It is run by NHK and provides a wide variety of mostly Japanese broadcasts. A free alternative is to check out the NHK World website. You can listen to a 10 minute Japanese broadcast of NHK News on demand, as well as download podcasts of Japanese lessons.

Suggestions for this and any other Site page are always welcome using a 'Comments' entry.

Link back to Travel Tips, Language Tips Index

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