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Install Japanese - Windows 7 & Windows Vista

I can help you install Japanese Installing and Typing Japanese on Vista / Windows 7
by JapaneseFromZero.com - Learn Japanese!
What will this tutorial do?
This tutorial will show you how to install Japanese typing and display ability for ALL programs running on all versions of Vista and Windows 7.  These steps also make it possible to install programs written in Japanese originally intended to be installed on the Japanese version of Windows.

Adding Japanese to your PC
Step 1: Region and Language Options
Step 2: Changing Keyboards
Step 3: Adding a Japanese Keyboard
Step 4: Adding Japanese Microsoft IME
Step 5 (optional): Running Japanese Programs on Vista and Windows 7

Typing in Japanese
Step 6: Changing to Japanese Type Mode
Step 7: Changing the Language Bar to display in English

8: Minimizing the Language Bar
Step 9: Typing in Japanese
Step 10: Japanese Language Bar shortcuts

back to topStep 1: Region and Language Options
In the Control Panel click on the "Change keyboards or other input methods" option.
You can also find this option by clicking the start button then typing "input".

Windows 7 Control Panel

back to topStep 2: Changing Keyboards
There are 4 tabs on the top of the "Region and Language" window. 
Click on the one labeled "Keyboards Languages". Then click the "Change keyboards" button.

Regions and Language

back to topStep 3: Adding a Japanese Keyboard
After clicking the "Change keyboard" button the following screen will display. 
Click the "Add" button to add Japanese input capability to your Windows 7 system.

Add Keyboard

back to topStep 4: Adding Japanese Microsoft IME
After clicking the "Add" button on the windows above the following screen will display. 
Scroll down to Japanese. In the Keyboard section section choose "Microsoft IME" and then click "OK".

NOTE: "IME" stands for Input Method Editor. IME is what gives your computer the ability to type Japanese.

Add Input Language

back to topStep 5 (optional): Running Japanese Programs on Vista and Windows 7
After completing step 4 you will still be in the "Regional and Language" window. 
From here click the 4th tab on the top labeled "Administrative".  Clicking this tab will display the following tab. 
This tab is the MOST IMPORTANT tab if you would like 100% Japanese support in all programs installed and
or wish to install Japanese programs on your computer.

Click on the "Change system locale..." button.

NOTE: Using this setting can sometimes be frustrating because many software companies look at this setting
and try to install the Japanese language version. If you can't read Japanese this might hinder your productivity a bit.

You can always change this setting back to English, the install the software again.
After installing you can change this back to Japanese so your other programs that require Japanese locale still work.

Change system locale  

After clicking the "Change system locale..." button. The window below will pop up. Here you select "Japanese (Japan)".

Japanese locale

back to topStep 6: Changing to Japanese Type Mode
Now your computer can display and type Japanese in all programs installed.  Open up Office Word, Word Pad,
Note Pad to test typing in Japanese.  With your cursor placed on a new document somewhere on your screen
you will notice a Language Bar. 

Click the "EN English" and then select "JP Japanese (Japan)". This will change the Language Bar's appearance.

Japanese Language Bar  
Japanese Language Bar

back to top

Step 7: Changing the Language Bar to display in English
If you can't read Japanese you will want to change the language bar display to English. Click on    then the option. 

Japanese Language Bar Properties

back to topStep 7B: Changing the Language Bar to display in English
This window
will be ALL Japanese, but don't worry because the next time you see this window it will be in English.
There is a language selection menu in the section. Choose and then click "OK".

After you click okay you will see that the Language Bar is now displaying in English, if you click "Tools" then "Properties"
you can now see the IME properties in English.

Japanese Language Bar Properties Japanese IME Settings in English

back to topStep 8: Minimizing the Language Bar
You do not need the language bar on the screen at all times to type Japanese.
In step 10 you will learn some very handy shortcuts that allows you to keep the Language Bar hidden.

To minimize the language bar right click on the far left portion of the language bar and click "Minimize".
This will put the Language Bar near the clock in the Windows 7 task bar. From there you can easily change your input language.

Hide the Language Bar

Change Input Language

back to topStep 9: Typing in Japanese
In any text editor or Office application you can now type Japanese.
Make sure that you have selected Japanese in the Language Bar.
Select Japanese Language

back to topStep 9B: Typing in Japanese
When you first enter Japanese mode your computer might still be in "Half-width Alphanumeric" mode,
which is the long way to say "English typing mode". Change this to "Hiragana".

Even though you are choosing Hiragana, you will type Japanese using English letters. This is where the fun begins.

Changing Input Method

back to topStep 9C: Typing in Japanese with English letters
Once you are in the correct input mode in your document, let's type a practice word.
Type "kanji". You will notice right away that once you type "ka" Hiragana replaces it.

1. Begin typing the word "kanji". 2. Hiragana will display. 3. Full Hiragana word displayed.


Step 9D: Converting Hiragana into Kanji
If you are okay with this "Hiragana" only word you can simply hit "enter" to accept.
Hit the space bar 1 time to display the most common Kanji for the underlined hiragana.

Every time you hit the space bar a different selection will display. Once you find the one you like hit "enter".

NOTE: You can also type the number next to the selection to choose it.

4. Hit the space bar once for most common kanji. 5. Hit space bar again for more choices. 6. Hover mouse over options to get descriptions (Japanese only)
Hirgana to Kanji Hiragana to Kanji Seletion Kanji meaning descriptions

back to topStep 9E: Typing full sentences in Japanese
You do not have to choose kanji word by word when typing Japanese. IME is very smart when it comes
to choosing the correct Kanji for your sentence.

Contrary to popular belief almost all Japanese people use this method to type Japanese.

1. Type a full sentence without hitting space. 2. Hit the space bar once for most common selections. 3. Hit the space bar to cycle through each word in the sentence.
Typing full Japanese sentences

back to topStep 10: Japanese Language Bar shortcuts
A big pet peeve of mine is watching people change the language bar settings by manually clicking on them.
It's time consuming if you are switching back and forth a lot.

You can easily switch language options and even input methods with the following short cuts.

1. Change language on the fly.

NOTE: Japanese mode default setting is normally "half width alpha numeric".
You can change this in the language bar properties. OR you can quickly switch to hiragana mode with the shortcut below.

2. Change input type (Hiragana, Alpha-numeric)
ALT + ~

NOTE: The '~' key is on the left side of the 1 key.
This is handy if you are already in Japanese input mode and want to switch back and forth between typing English and Japanese.

3. Quick conversion
After typing a word, before you hit enter you can force it into different versions using the function keys.

F7 - Full width katakana
F8 - Half width katakana
F9 - Full width alpha numeric
F10 - Half width alpha numeric (standard English text)