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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 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:

  • adobe-source-han-sans-jp-fonts - Japanese OpenType/CFF fonts, style Gothic (sans-serif).
  • adobe-source-han-serif-jp-fonts - Japanese OpenType/CFF fonts, style Mincho (serif).
  • otf-ipafont - Formal style Japanese Gothic (sans-serif) and Mincho (serif) fonts set; one of the highest quality open source font. Default of openSUSE-ja.
  • ttf-hanazono - A free Japanese kanji font, style Mincho (serif).
  • ttf-sazanami - Japanese free TrueType font. This is outdated and not maintained any more, but may be defined as a fallback font on several environments.
  • ttf-koruriAUR - Japanese TrueType font obtained by mixing ttf-mplusAUR and Open Sans
  • ttf-monapoAUR - Japanese fonts to show 2channel Shift JIS art properly.
  • ttf-mplus-gitAUR - Modern Gothic style Japanese outline fonts. It includes all of Japanese Hiragana/Katakana, Basic Latin, Latin-1 Supplement, Latin Extended-A, IPA Extensions and most of Japanese Kanji, Greek, Cyrillic, Vietnamese with 7 weights (proportional) or 5 weights (monospace).
  • ttf-vlgothicAUR - Japanese Gothic fonts. Default of Debian/Fedora/Vine Linux
  • ttf-kanjistrokeordersAUR - KanjiStrokeOrders font that indicates the stroke order of characters.


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
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.


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