Modern Japanese writing mixes four different scripts, including the Latin alphabet, depending on the word and context of the material. The four major scripts used in Japanese are:
In addition to the scripts listed above, Japanese writing can also include these scripts.
In order to integrate foreign scripts into your computer, you must set up "keyboard" or input utilities in your operating system. These utilities will allow you to switch between typing English and other languages in word processors and Web tools. This process will also make sure the correct fonts are installed and available on your operating system.
See instructions for Setting up Keyboards for details.
Microsoft provides a variety of free keyboard utlities, but they must be installed from the disk, then activated from the Regional Control Panel.
Student Computing Labs - The utilities are installed in the University Park Student Computing Labs, but students must install the utlities by going to the Start menu then International Language Support » Microsoft » Office Microsoft Office Asian Character Input Support.
Home Computers - Several Asian and Middle Eastern keyboards are available in Windows, but you may have to install it from the Windows System disk because it is a complex script. After that you can activate the keyboards from the Regional Control Panel.
See Windows East Asian Keyboards for detailed instructions with screen captures.
Once the keyboards have been installed, they must be activated in the Regional Control Panel. Read the summary instructions below or go to Windows East Asian Keyboards for detailed instructions with screen captures.
Student Computing Labs - Many language keyboards have been activated in the labs and are available through the flag menu on the upper right. Skip to Step #4 in the instructions below.
Home Computers - A variety of keyboards are available from Apple, but you may have to install it from the Macintosh System disk then they can be activated through the International System Preferences. See details below.
See the Macintosh Keyboard Activation for complete instructions with screen captures.
Several Japanese keyboards are available for the Mac, but you may have to install it from the Macintosh System disk. See the following links for details. Note that Macintosh OS X 10.3/10.4 includes separate palettes and keyboards for Kanji, katakana, Hiragana and Rōmaji.
If you have your browser configured correctly, the Web site below should display the correct characters. If you have difficulties, see list below for font and browser configuration instructions.
Please note which fonts are needed for each platform before viewing instructions to configure your browsers in the Preferences or Tools menu. Most browsers are recommended, but older browsers like Netscape 4.7 may need more adjustments.
All modern browsers support this script. Click link in list to view configuration instructions. In some cases, you will be asked to match a script with a font.
If you see Roman character gibberish instead of Japanese (such as www.e-kids.or.jp) you will need to manually switch from Western encoding view to the Japanese encoding under the View menu of your browser.
When Japanese is transliterated into English in the Romaji systems, long marks are used to indicate long vowels. These can be written in one of several ways depending on the operating system.
If you are using a recent version of Microsoft Word (2003/2007/2010), you can use the following ALT key plus a numeric code can be used to type a Latin character (accented letter or punctuation symbol) in any Windows application.
Cap long A
Cap long E
Cap long I
Cap long O
Cap long U
Lower long A
Lower long E
Lower long I
Lower long O
Lower long U
For Unicode Compliant Applications, you can activate the Extended Roman keyboard (10.2) or the U.S. Extended keyboard (10.3+) to type the long marks.
|Macron||ā, Ā||Option+A, V|
For example, to insert lower long O ō, you would type Option+A, then O.
Below are the codes for typing a Yen sign in different platforms.
|Windows||Type Alt+0165. You must use the numeric keypad. See details on the Alt Key page.|
|HTML||Use the code ¥ to specify a Yen symbol. See details on the HTML code page.|
These are the codes which allow browsers and screen readers to process data as the appropriate language. All letters in codes are lower case.
Computers process text by assuming a certain encoding or a system of matching electronic data with visual text characters. Whenever you develop a Web site you need to make sure the proper encoding is specified in the header tags; otherwise the browser may default to U.S. settings and not display the text properly.
To declare an encoding, insert or inspect the following meta-tag at the top of your HTML file, then replace "???" with one of the encoding codes listed above. If you are not sure, use utf-8 as the encoding.
Generic Encoding Template
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=??? ">
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8 ">
The final close slash must be included after the final quote mark in the encoding header tag if you are using XHTML
Declare Unicode in XHTML
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />
If no encoding is declared, then the browser uses the default setting, which in the U.S. is typically Latin-1. In that case many Unicode characters could be displayed incorrectly. Also, older browsers such as Netscape 4.7 may not be able to process the entity codes correctly without the "utf-8" declaration.
Language tags are also suggested so that search engines and screen readers parse the language of a page. These are metadata tags which indicate the language of a page, not devices to trigger translation. Visit the Language Tag page to view information on where to insert it.
One option is to use Dreamweaver, Microsoft Expression or other Web editor and change the keyboard to the correct script. This will allow you to type content in directly with the appropriate script. However, it is important to verify that the correct encoding is specified in the Web page header.
Another option is to compose the basic text in an international or foreign language text editor or word processor and export the content as an HTML or text file with the appropriate encoding. This file could be opened in another HTML editor such as Dreamweaver or Microsoft Expression, and edited for formatting.
For Web tools such as Blogs at Penn State, Facebook, Twitter, del.icio.us, Flicker, and others, users can typically change the keyboard and input text. In most cases, this content will be encoded as Unicode.
For best cross-browser support, horizontal text is recommended. There is a way to specify vertical text in CSS, but it's only supported in Internet Explorer for Windows.
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Unicode character names and hexadecimal entity codes are taken from the public Unicode Character Charts.
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