How to Type Japanese

How do Japanese people type in Japanese characters?

Japanese people use a Japanese keyboard to type.
Japanese keyboard has an alphabet letter and a Hiragana letter on the key top.

(Japanese keyboard is not necessary)

There are two methods to type, Romaji Nyuuryoku (Romaji Input) and Kana Nyuuryoku (Kana Input).
Currently, Romaji Nyuuryoku is more common than Kana Nyuuryoku among Japanese people.

Both methods uses IME which is a software to type Japanese characters.
For instance, we type K U R U M A, then IME displays くるま in Hiragana.
Then we convert it into Kanji by a space key.

Using Romaji Nyuuryoku, we need to type more keys.
Using Kana Nyuuryoku, we can type one Japanese letter by typing one key.
It seems that we can type faster by using Kana nyuuryoku method.
However, there are nearly 50 Kana letters. It is quite difficult to remember the key locations.
After all, we can type faster by using Romaji nyuuryoku which uses 26 keys.

Here, we introduce how to type in Japanese by using Romaji nyuuryoku.
If your keyboard has the English alphabet letters on the key top, you can type like Japanese people do.

What is IME?, What does IME do?

IME means "Input Method Editor". It is a software to type Japanese characters.
There are many IME for each computer systems such as Windows, MAC, Linux.
Microsoft provides MS-IME for Windows and Apple provides KOTOERI for MAC as a standard accessory even on non-Japanese system.

Each IME looks differently, but the logic is the same.
IME has a dictionary in order to convert from Hiragana into Kanji.
We type a word or sentence in Hiragana and IME converts it into Kanji acording to its dictionary.

Hiragana is a phonogram, but Kanji character has a meaning.
So, there are many words which has the same reading but different meaning.

For instance, there are two Kanji for かう.
One is 買う (to buy) and another is 飼う (to keep an animal).

When you type KAU, IME displays かう in Hiragana.
You convert it into Kanji by the space key.
IME searches in the dictionary and finds two options, 買う and 飼う.
IME displays the option list and you can choose an appropriate Kanji from it.

Moreover, IME analyzes a sentence or phrase.
When you type a sentence or phrase, IME analyzes a meaning of a sentence you typed according to the attributions of each word.


車を 買う

buy a car


犬を 飼う

keep a dog

(car) is an inanimate object. (dog) is an animate object.
IME puts 買う (to buy) to (car), and 飼う (to keep an animal) to (dog).

This logic does not always work correctly.
Before we keep a dog, we buy a dog.「犬を飼う前に、犬を買う

However IME converts a sentence correctly in many cases.
In order to convert efficiently, you should type a sentece or phrase then convert it.

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