Japanese Keyboard Entry (Win)

Setting Up a Japanese Keyboard in Windows 10

Windows Regional and Language Options control several options on your computer that may vary by region. Formats, Location, keyboards and Languages and Administrative Options. You can edit documents in multiple languages by changing the language (the input language) in which you type. Input languages are included with Windows, but you need to add them to your list of languages before you can use them.

Important Note: Whenever changing languages, be sure you have "English (United States)" selected as your default Windows Display Language!!! If not, your Windows system will render in the language you defaulted to or the language that is at the top of your selection list!

  1. Click the Start button then clicking the Control Panel icon (the Gear Icon).

    Windows Keyboard Setup

  2. In the Windows Setting window, click on the Time & Language menu item.

    Windows Keyboard Setup

  3. In the left-hand sidebar of the Time & Language menu item, select the Language option.

    Windows Keyboard Setup

  4. In the Language menu option, go to the approximate center of the window, and choose the ADD A LANGUAGE option by clicking on the "+" button.

    Windows Keyboard Setup

  5. In the search bar at the top of the “Choose a Language to Install” menu option, type in your language and select the main keyboard for that language. In this example, we typed in "Japanese" and selected the main "Japanese)" keyboard. Press the NEXT button to continue.

    Windows Keyboard Setup

    If your selected language provides for it, make sure that “basic typing” is checked, and choose optional add-ons such as Speech and Handwriting. Make sure the “Install Language Pack” checkbox option is set as well. Press the NEXT button to continue.

    Windows Keyboard Setup

  6. Once the language pack is installed successfully, the Language window will display both English and your selected Language options.

    Windows Keyboard Setup

  7. Your default keyboard will be the Japanese IME layout (Input Method Editor).
  8. For additional options, click on the your selected Language Keyboard, and then click the Options button that appears below the selected language.

    Windows Keyboard Setup

  9. Close out the Settings windows.

  10. In the lower right-hand corner of your Windows desktop, you should see a language option entitled ENG. This means you have English set for your keyboard. Click the ENG button on your system tray to change the language. The Japanese IME icon will have a stylized "'J" within a circle.

    Windows Keyboard Setup
  11. To the left of the IME selection you will see a roman letter "A" or the hiragana "あ" symbol. When the "A" symbol is selected, you can type in Romaji. When the "あ" symbol is selected, you can type in kana. 
  12. When you click on the Microsoft IME icon, you can select between various input methods, such as Hiragana, Katakana, Half-Width, Romaji, etc. There are also several Windows keyboard shortcuts to speed up character entry as you become more proficient in using the Microsoft IME.

    Windows Keyboard Setup
  13. Right-click on the Microsoft IME symbol to customize your input settings

    Windows Keyboard Setup
  14. The Windows Preference pane appears and allows you to customize general settings, key and touchbar settings, Dictionaries, and Appearance of the input bar.

    Windows Keyboar Setup


Here are some general keyboard shortcuts as you work within the Microsoft IME:

Press this key

To do this

Alt + Backquote (`)

Turn on / off Japanese input.

Ctrl + Caps lock

Equivalent to Hiragana key on a Japanese keyboard (106/109 key).

Alt + Caps lock

Equivalent to Shift + Hiragana key on a Japanese keyboard (106/109 key).

Shift + Caps lock

Equivalent to Eisu key on a Japanese keyboard (106/109 key).

Ctrl + Delete

Remove the selected candidate from the prediction candidate window.

Ctrl + B

Search the selected candidate in the prediction candidate window.


Expand / collapse the table view in the conversion candidate window.

Windows logo key + period (.)

Open Emoji picker.

Ctrl + Shift + F10

Turn on / off IME private mode.


Convert input string to Hiragana.


Convert input string to Full-width Katakana.


Convert input string to Half-width Katakana.


Convert input string to Full-width Alphanumeric.


Convert input string to Half-width Alphanumeric.

Using the Romaji Input Mode

For this input mode, you will want to select the Microsoft IME input source and then select the "" symbol.

Right-Click on the "あ" symbol and select "Hiragana" or "Katakana" and turn Kana Input to "OFF"

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

For this input mode, you will want to select the Microsoft IME input source and then select the "" symbol.

Right-Click on the "あ" symbol and select "Hiragana" or "Katakana" and turn Kana Input to "ON"

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

Hiragana Layout

Japanese Windows Hiragana Key Layout

Katakana Layout

Japanese Windows Katakana Key Layout