Japanese Keyboard Entry (Mac)

Setting Up a Japanese Keyboard in Mac OS

  1. Open the System Preferences Panel by clicking on the Apple Menu in the upper-left-hand corner of your screen.
  2. Select System Preferences.
  3. Select the Keyboard icon.

    System Preference Pane
  4. Click on the Input Sources tab.
  5. In the lower-left-hand corner of the panel, click the + button to add a language keyboard.

    Input Source Pane
  6.  In the list of languages presented, scroll down until you see Japanese and click on Japanese.

    Japanese Language Selection Pane
  7. In the window to the right, select the Japanese-Kana or the Japanese-Romajii keyboard, whichever you are most comfortable typing with or whichever your instructor asks you to use.

    If you are learning Japanese, we recommend that you install the Japanese-Romaji input. If you are proficient in Japanese and want to use a keyboard layout matching computer keyboards in Japan, select the Japanese-Kana input.
  8. Click the Add button

    Japanese Language Selection Pane
  9.  Once you have selected your keyboard layout preference, you will see a long list of options in the right-hand pane.

    Hiragana will be selected by default as an input mode. Select Katakana as well, and if you need to enter in spaced Roman letters alongside Hiragana or Katakana, select Full-Width Romaji as well

    You can select how you want the Caps Lock key to function, for example as a quick and convenient way to switch between English letters and Hiragana/Katakana

    Japanese Configuration Menu 1

    Continuing down to the next set of options:

    Live Conversion automatically converts hiragana characters into relevant Japanese text, including kanji, as you type. This eliminates the need to press the Space bar for individual word conversions. if you uncheck Live Converrsion, you will be using traditional conversion, wherre you type the text in hiragana, then convert it to kanji.

    Correct spelling will automatically correct Japanese spelling errors or suggest candidates as you type.

    Predictive candidates will have the Candidate window predict the most likely candidates for completing text as you type, based on what you previously typed and selected.


    Japanese Options 2

    Continuing down to the next set of options:

    Romaji Layout allows you to set the keyboard layout to use for the Romaji typing method (QWERTY, AZERTY, Russian, English, etc).  By default, the typing method uses the most recent keyboard layout you used; if you want to always use a specific layout, set it here.

    If you use a JIS keyboard, set whether you enter a slash (/) or a middle dot (・) when you press the Slash key.

    If you use a JIS keyboard, set whether you enter a backslash (\) or a Yen sign (¥) when you press the Yen key.

    Japanese Options Pane 3

  10. Go ahead and close the System Preference panels once you have selected your language keyboard.
  11. In the upper-right-hand portion of your screen, you will see that some language selection options have appeared. Click on the Text Input menu option to select your input.

    If you selected just the Japanese-Kana layout or the Japanese-Romaji layout (one or the other), you will see just options for Hiragana, Katakana, and/or Romaji:

    Input Method Window for one Japanese layout selection

    If you selected both Japanese-Kana layout and the Japanese-Romaji layouts, you will see a more elaborate selection of input options for Hiragana, Katakana, and/or Romaji:

    Japanese input options for multiple layouts selected

    In this case, be very careful to purposely select which input method you want to use. Things can get quite confusing very quickly if you inadvertently selected the wrong input mode and start typing while thinking you are in another input mode!
  12. Along with the various input methods shown, additional options will be directly available to select should you need to change customizations:

    Japanese Submenu customizations window

    Note: for detailed explanations of each option, click the Help submenu item and an Apple Help window will appear to give you assistance.

Using the Romaji Input Mode

For this input mode, you will want to select the Japanese - Romaji input source and then select Hiragana, or if you are using both input sources, select Hiragana - Romaji.

The Romaji typing method is useful when you’re not using a Japanese keyboard; text you type is automatically converted to hiragana.

You use a regular U. S. keyboard and type out hiragana or katakana phonetically

For example, to type こんにちわ, you would type you K O N N I C H I W A. As you type, the roman letters will be automatically converted to hiragana, so that K O become こ in the candidate window, N N become ん, I C H I becomes 日 (then you scroll down to find にち in the candidate window), and then finally W A becomes わ.

Another example would be ようこそ, where you type Y O O K O S O and the candidate window will present you with various cominations of hiragana and/or katakana and/or kanji until you find the correct candiate combination.

Using the Kana Input Mode

Typing in Kana will be like typing on a Japanese native keyboard or on a computer used in Japan.

Hiragana Layout

For this input mode, you will want to select the Japanese - Kana input source and then select Hiragana, or if you are using both input sources, select Hiragana - Kana.

Japanese Kana Hiragana Keyboard Layout

Katakana Layout

For this input mode, you will want to select the Japanese - Kana input source and then select Katakana, or if you are using both input sources, select Katakana - Kana.

Japanese Kana katakana Keyboard Layout