Earlier I showed you how to write in Japanese, which is still a necessary skill in case you want to write a personal letter to someone or need to look up a new Kanji in a dictionary.
But Japanese, just like English, is not actually written all that often anymore. Of course almost everything is now typed or texted in the digital world. You could buy yourself a physical Japanese Keyboard, but that will take time and money.
I’ll show you how to get one for free within the next five minutes!
I cover Windows, Mac, iPhone, and Android so be sure to read both computer sections or both phone sections as I only explain how to use the keyboards after one of each.
- Open the Control Panel
- Under Clock, Language, and Region click Add a language
- In the upper left click Add a language
- Select Japanese and in the lower right click Add
Now in the bottom right of your tool bar you should see something that says ENG. Click on it to bring up your different keyboards. Select Japanese and you should notice an A to the left of it. That’s for typing in English. Click on it to change it to an あ and you can now type in Hiragana.
Now just type word in Rōmaji (desu = です) and the Hiragana will appear. If you need to type in Katakana or Kanji, just spell it out in Hiragana and then press the Space Bar. This will allow you to cycle through the different possible choices. Once you’ve got the correct one, press Enter.
- Open System Preferences
- Click Language & Region
- Click on the + (plus) symbol in the lower left
- Select Japanese and click Add in the lower right
Now in the top right of your tool bar (right next to the clock) you should see an American Flag. Click on that and then select あ Hiragana. It works the same way as the Windows version, except I’ve noticed that the Mac has a predictive feature to it that can help speed up typing.
- Tap the Settings app
- Then tap General
- Then Keyboard
- Then Keyboards (right at the top)
- Then Add New Keyboard…
- Then Japanese
- Then select Kana and tap done
Then anytime you are able to type anything, tap on the World Symbol to switch to the Japanese keyboard. You should see Hiragana displayed on a grid, but only the A’s (あ、か、さ、etc.).
To select other Kanas you can either tap on the same Kana multiple times and it will cycle through them in order of あ、い、う、え、お、or you can press and hold a Kana and it will display all the different choices and you can drag your finger to highlight the one you want and release.
To use Katakana or Kanji, simply spell out the word in Hiragana and the different options should appear right above the Hiragana grid.
If you need to know which buttons mean Enter, Space, etc. then you can read the list of them here.
- Tap the Settings app
- Then tap Language & Input
- Then tap on the Gear Symbol next to Samsung Keyboard
- Then Input Languages
- Find Japanese and select it
- Choose the Kana option
Once you have added it, you can switch between languages by swiping left or right on the Space Bar. It works just like the iPhone keyboard except that you can’t press and hold on a Kana to display all the options (at least not on mine).
Was that helpful? Were you able to get it? Or have you already been using one of these keyboards for a while?
Let me know in the comments below!