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This article describes how to set up a Japanese language environment. It does not cover setting up Japanese input on the console.


See also Fonts#Japanese and Font configuration for configuration or more detail.

To use any Japanese input method, you need to have Japanese fonts installed.

Recommended Japanese fonts are as follows.


Open-source OTF fonts developed by Adobe.

Serif (and Sans-serif)

An open source OTF font set including sans-serif (Gothic) and serif (Mincho) glyphs provided by Information-technology Promotion Agency, Japan (IPA).

If you want to show 2channel Shift JIS art properly, use one of the following fonts:


See locale for details.

You should have ja_JP.UTF-8 enabled in /etc/locale.gen.

Input methods

The following input method (IM) engines are available for Japanese:

Back-end Fcitx IBus SCIM uim gcin hime-gitAUR
Anthy fcitx-anthy ibus-anthy scim-anthyAUR built-in built-in built-in
libkkc fcitx-kkc ibus-kkc
Mozc fcitx-mozc ibus-mozcAUR uim-mozcAUR
SKK fcitx-skk ibus-skk built-in


Anthy can convert Hiragana to Kanji. While Anthy is supported by all IM frameworks, it is effectively dead (its last release was 2009).[1]

Install anthy and the engine for your framework.


libkkc (libkkc) provides a converter from Japanese Kana-string to Kana-Kanji-mixed-string. It was named after kkc.el in GNU Emacs, a simple Kana Kanji converter, while libkkc tries to convert sentences in a bit more complex way using N-gram language models. It is developed by a Red Hat engineer.

Install the engine for your framework.


Mozc is a Japanese Input Method Editor (IME) designed for multi-platform such as Chromium OS, Windows, Mac and Linux which originates from Google Japanese Input.

Custom package mozc-ut2AUR comes with Mozc UT dictionary. The dictionary adds over 350,000 words into original.

See the article for the installation procedure.


SKK (Simple Kana to Kanji conversion program) is a Japanese input method on Emacs. It was designed by Dr. Masahiko Sato (Professor Emeritus, Kyoto University) (old link) and created in 1987. A unique feature of SKK is that it converts words one by one (single-word conversion), without analyzing syntax or grammar.

Install the SKK dictionaries (skk-jisyo) and the engine for your framework.

Google CGI API for Japanese input

Available IM frameworks: uim

Google CGI API for Japanese Input (Google-CGIAPI-Jp) is CGI service to provide Japanese conversion on the Internet by Google. It can be used on web browser. Its conversion engine seems to be equivalent to Google Japanese Input, so conversion quality is probably better than Mozc.

Note: This service sends/receives preedits and candidates as plain text (as of 2012-09).

You can use it via uim. Choose "Google-CGIAPI-Jp" on uim-im-switcher-gtk/gtk3/qt4 or uim-pref-gtk/gtk3/qt4.

See also