And is there a way to type a narrower, English style space while in the Japanese IME? (Like a key combination?)

  • To address the second part of my question, it looks like the combination Shift+Space produces the narrower space. But why are there variations on the length of the space? What is the meaning of longer vs. narrower space in Japanese typography? Why is the wider space the default?
    – Dan Puza
    Commented Mar 10, 2018 at 15:49
  • 3
    Relevant: (1) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halfwidth_and_fullwidth_forms, (2) list of whitespace character variations: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whitespace_character - the fullwidth corresponds to ideographic space ] [ (U+3000).
    – dROOOze
    Commented Mar 10, 2018 at 16:57
  • 1
    Wow, nice to learn about shift+space after a few years of studying the language...
    – kuchitsu
    Commented Mar 11, 2018 at 11:36

2 Answers 2


As you mentioned in your own comment, a half-width space can be typed by Shift+Space. To answer your question about full-width space in your comment:

Since the Japanese characters are in squares with same width (as oppose to the English letters with different width), it would be neat if all characters are written in the same width. Since spaces are usually used for new paragraph line head indent, full-width space can be used to indent the first line neatly, like this:



This way, the characters are neatly aligned vertically character-by-character.


It may wider compared to the ASCII space, but it is the same width of a full-width character.

For example if you write several Japanese characters with space between them, the space has the same width as the character, so it is not wider:
あ い う え お

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