Typing In Kanji

“Every effort under compulsion demands a sacrifice of energy. I never paid such a price.” - Nikola Tesla

Typing in kanji isn’t all that different from typing things into katakana. You do, however, need to know the kanji (or at least recognize it) so that you know which kanji to choose. Some words / sounds will give you hundreds of kanji outputs – knowing which one you want is pretty important, since you could be typing the entirely wrong word if you don’t. The good thing, however, is that usually the first option is the most common one (so, if you’re going to make a gamble, which you shouldn’t do, at least you know what the best bet is). Also, if you tend to choose the same kanji for a word over and over, Google IME will learn that about you, and start showing that kanji higher up on the list. There’s a lot of smart features built into your IME, but in the end, you’ll still want to be able to recognize the kanji you want to type.

Let’s give it a shot – we’ll be using words with kanji you’ve already learned. Type the following words into the box below:

hitotsu + SPACE = 一つ
amerikajin + SPACE = アメリカ人
chikara + SPACE = 力
mata + SPACE = 又
agaru + SPACE = 上がる
senensatsu + SPACE = 千円札
mittsu + SPACE = 三つ
iriguchi + SPACE = 入り口
ookii + SPACE = 大きい
yama + SPACE = 山
kyou + SPACE = 今日
ippun + SPACE = 一分
tenjou + SPACE = 天井

That right there shouldn’t be a huge deal for you (as long as katakana worked out okay). Typing entire sentences isn’t a lot different, though it’ll take a little practice to be able to get the “flow” down. For me, I tend to SPACE+ENTER after every word / particle. For example, take a look at the following sentences to see how I go about typing them.

寿司 (space+enter) を (enter) 食べます (space+enter)
すし を たべます

オレンジジュース (space+enter) を (enter) 買いに行きました (space+enter)
オレンジジュース を かいにいきました

Sometimes I’ll do a word & particle together (like すしを), but usually my “flow” for Japanese typing involves an enter after each word. It may seem like it’ll take a lot of time (and it does at first) but you get used to it and get a lot quicker. You’ll get plenty of practice typing Japanese from here on out, so don’t worry about it too much (and type as much as you can until you get better!). Luckily, you’re typing with your regular keyboard, so if you have okay English typing skills, Japanese won’t be too hard for you either. Just takes practice.

Before we finish up here, let’s type some sentences using grammar you’ve already learned. We’re going to cheat a little on the words, though. Typing lets you input kanji you don’t even know yet (shhh, it’s cheating!) so we’re going to play with that a bit. I’ll put the kanji version and hiragana version below. Type it in, and make it into the kanji version, just for practice with typing sentences. For typing with kanji, especially (i.e. like normal Japanese) there are no spaces. I only have the spaces in there to make it easier to read, since reading a string of hiragana characters is a big pain, otherwise.

にほんご を ならい に きました。

すし が ほしいです。

おもしろい ほん を かいました。

こういちさん は こわい です。

あの ねこ は まっくろ です。

にほんご が だいすき です。

えいご が だいきらい です。

When you’re able to type all those things, you’re ready to start creating. Don’t worry if things are a little shaky right now – you’ll get better and better at typing in Japanese (plus, I think it’s kind of fun too).

Let’s move right along and learn how you’re going to take advantage of your newfound Japanese typing skills.

By finishing this page, you’ve just become a Japanese typing master. You’re ready to start typing now!

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