Typing Japanese on your computer

You can type Japanese on your computer. All you need is a Japanese font, and a word processor or graphics package to type in.

Epson has kindly provided a whole bunch of free TrueType fonts, that you can use on any Windows PC.

Here's a sample from each one. Click the picture to download the font.

File name
Description
epmgobld.ttf
A simplistic, san serif font
epkgobld.ttf
A bold version of the font above - ideal for manga
epminbld.ttf
A bold version of the Microsoft Mincho font, which is slightly more formal than epgyobld.ttf
epgyobld.ttf
A bold and oblique (italic) version of the flowing scripty gyosho style
epmarugo.ttf
A very formal and angular version of epkgobld.ttf

Good for futuristic manga

epkyouka.tff
A light version of the Kaisho font
epkaisho.ttf
A very formal block letter font in the kaisho style.
epgyosho.ttf

A flowing, scripty style, akin to cursive in English. The style used for day-to-day writing

To install the fonts
1. Download the font you want to use
2. On Windows XP, go to the Start Menu, and select Settings/Control Panel
3. If Control Panel is not set to classic View, click Switch to Classic view
4. Double click the Fonts icon
5. Select Install New Font from the File Menu
6. Go to the place where you saved the font to. The computer may take a few seconds to find it. Because the font names are in Unicode, the names may not display probably, so you'll probably see something like Epson, followed by some rectangles.
7. Select the font you want to install, and click OK. The font/s will now be available in your applications.

To use the fonts in your projects
Method 1 - Works with all programs
By far the easiest way to use the fonts, is by using Microsoft Character Map. This comes with Windows. Here's how to use it:

1. Go to the Start Menu and select Character Map from the Accessories/System Tools folder
2. In Character Map, change the font, to the Japanese font that you want to use
3. Look at he the alphabet codes listed below (or better yet, download them and print them out. Work out which character you want to use and take a note of its Unicode number.
4. Hunt through the Character Map table to find the character with the same number
5. Double click the character in Character Map to add it to the "Characters to Copy" dialogue box at the bottom of the window
6. Add any further characters if you are spelling a word
7. When you are done, click the Copy button
8. Return to your word processor, or graphics program
9. Ensure that you are in text mode and press the Control and V keys together. Alternately, right-click and select Paste.

Method 2 - Only works with Microsoft Word
This is quicker because you don't have to hunt through millions of characters to find the right codes, but it only works with Word, or Unicode compliant applications.

1. Ensure that you are using the font that you require
2. In your document type in the Unicode value for the character that you require - for instance, to type the character Ku, you would type u+30af (the case doesn't matter so you don't have to use capitals)
3. Select the letters you just typed using the mouse. Be careful not to select spaces on either side of the code
4. Press Alt and X at the same time - The code will change into the appropriate Japanese character

Translating your text into Japanese

Here's the katakana translation of our club name

You can try to translate your text into Japanese manually using the word sound charts at the end of this pages. Just be aware that some words don't translate as directly as you might hope. For instance, you might think the Ryu in Go Kan Ryu, could be achieved using the Japanese character Ru, but it is apparently more properly translated, using two characters: Ri and Yu. There are other complications concerned with the fact that some sounds in English (an L sound for example) simply don't exist in Japanese, and so need to be substituted with other sounds.

By far the easiest way is by using Jim Breen's Japanese names server, which will provide a phonetic translation of any text. Go here to translate your text.

Whichever method you choose, you should under no circumstances use the translations as the basis for company stationary, marketing, tattoos, shop signs, or any other situation where mistranslation could have serious or embarrassing consequences. This is just a bit of fun. Put your name on your dojo board, your school books, your front door, or even a temporary tattoo, but for god's sake don't take it too seriously!

Japanese Alphabet Codes
The following charts list the Unicode entries required to generate katakana characters. Katakana is a phonetic alphabet used by the Japanese to spell foreign words. Unlike kanji, the characters have no meaning other than the sounds they make, much like our own alphabet. This is the alphabet that you should use to write your name. If you try to use kanji, you may come up with a silly or meaningless name, even with a supposedly professional translation.

Unicode is an extended character set that enables you to incorporate the characters of multiple languages in a single font.

I've included the Hexadecimal and Decimal values in case you are working in programs that require those values instead.

Until you have a Japanese font installed on your computer, the characters in the Character column may not display properly, and will probably be replaced by a square.

Katakana Characters
Number
Hex value
Decimal value
Character
Character name
U+30A0
゠ ゠ Double hyphen
U+30A1
ァ ァ Small A
U+30A2
ア ア A
U+30A3
ィ ィ Small I
U+30A4
イ イ I
U+30A5
ゥ ゥ Small U
U+30A6
ウ ウ U
U+30A7
ェ ェ Small E
U+30A8
エ エ E
U+30A9
ォ ォ Small O
U+30AA
オ オ O
U+30AB
カ カ Ka
U+30AC
ガ ガ Ga
U+30AD
キ キ Ki
U+30AE
ギ ギ Gi
U+30AF
ク ク Ku
U+30B0
グ グ Gu
U+30B1
ケ ケ Ke
U+30B2
ゲ ゲ Ge
U+30B3
コ コ Ko
U+30B4
ゴ ゴ Go
U+30B5
サ サ Sa
U+30B6
ザ ザ Za
U+30B7
シ シ Si
U+30B8
ジ ジ Zi
U+30B9
ス ス Su
U+30BA
ズ ズ Zu
U+30BB
セ セ Se
U+30BC
ゼ ゼ Ze
U+30BD
ソ ソ So
U+30BE
ゾ ゾ Zo
U+30BF
タ タ Ta
U+30C0
ダ ダ Da
U+30C1
チ チ Ti
U+30C2
ヂ ヂ Di
U+30C3
ッ ッ Small Tu
U+30C4
ツ ツ Tu
U+30C5
ヅ ヅ Du
U+30C6
テ テ Te
U+30C7
デ デ De
U+30C8
ト ト To
U+30C9
ド ド Do
U+30CA
ナ ナ Na
U+30CB
ニ ニ Ni
U+30CC
ヌ ヌ Nu
U+30CD
ネ ネ Ne
U+30CE
ノ ノ No
U+30CF
ハ ハ Ha
U+30D0
バ バ Ba
U+30D1
パ パ Pa
U+30D2
ヒ ヒ Hi
U+30D3
ビ ビ Bi
U+30D4
ピ ピ Pi
U+30D5
フ フ Hu
U+30D6
ブ ブ Bu
U+30D7
プ プ Pu
U+30D8
ヘ ヘ He
U+30D9
ベ ベ Be
U+30DA
ペ ペ Pe
U+30DB
ホ ホ Ho
U+30DC
ボ ボ Bo
U+30DD
ポ ポ Po
U+30DE
マ マ Ma
U+30DF
ミ ミ Mi
U+30E0
ム ム Mu
U+30E1
メ メ Me
U+30E2
モ モ Mo
U+30E3
ャ ャ Small Ya
U+30E4
ヤ ヤ Ya
U+30E5
ュ ュ Small Yu
U+30E6
ユ ユ Yu
U+30E7
ョ ョ Small Yo
U+30E8
ヨ ヨ Yo
U+30E9
ラ ラ Ra
U+30EA
リ リ Ri
U+30EB
ル ル Ru
U+30EC
レ レ Re
U+30ED
ロ ロ Ro
U+30EE
ヮ ヮ Small Wa
U+30EF
ワ ワ Wa
U+30F0
ヰ ヰ Wi
U+30F1
ヱ ヱ We
U+30F2
ヲ ヲ Wo
U+30F3
ン ン N
U+30F4
ヴ ヴ Vu
U+30F5
ヵ ヵ Small Ka
U+30F6
ヶ ヶ Small Ke
U+30F7
ヷ ヷ Va
U+30F8
ヸ ヸ Vi
U+30F9
ヹ ヹ Ve
U+30FA
ヺ ヺ Vo
U+30FB
・ ・ Middle dot
U+30FC
ー ー Hiragana prolonged sound mark
U+30FD
ヽ ヽ Iteration mark
U+30FE
ヾ ヾ Voiced iteration mark
U+30FF
ヿ ヿ Digigraph koto

Tables based upon international Unicode character charts by Matt Corks. With thanks.