How to write hiragana and katakana in Windows (XP/Vista/7)? My current locale is Swedish and I have a hard time writing hiragana and katakana characters.

Usually I have a txt-file open in notepad and copy the individual characters, but that is (obviously) not efficient.

The same also applies for kanji.

  • Voted off topic, but something we should include in the site FAQ.
    – user51
    Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 11:47

3 Answers 3


Windows has Language Packs available for other languages and alphabets. See http://support.microsoft.com/kb/972813, for example.

They allow you to write in a phonetic transliteration and then translate it into kana; pressing the space bar converts familiar words into kanji and where meaning is unclear you can choose kanji from a list.

For example, if I type "totemo benri desu ne?" in English with the language pack it will give me とても便利ですね。 Very convenient, isn't it?

  • That seems very convenient.
    – dalle
    Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 11:21

You need to setup an additional Japanese keyboard IME in the 'Region and Language' options in your 'Control Panel'. On Windows XP you may be required to enter a XP disk for the installation though I think that might only be prompted for Asian fonts (which I presume you already have since you are using notepad right now).

Once you've set it up you want your language bar to be set to 'JP' and then use Alt+~ (the default keybinding) to switch between the entering of Japanese characters and the Latin alphabet.


Google's Mozc Japanese IME is pretty good - http://www.google.com/intl/ja/ime/

You can give it a try.

  • awesome, it includes smileys xDD
    – mikyatope
    Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 11:01
  • ooh, smileys included!
    – dalle
    Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 11:21

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .