Hiragana is the basic Japanese alphabet. Romaji is the romanisation of the Japanese alphabet and is used to type on standard keyboards. Each hiragana character corresponds to a romaji key combination. A hiragana character can be generated on a computer when a valid romaji key combination is entered. To set up a computer to do this, Japanese keyboard support needs to be added.
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Click the start button and open up Control Panel.
Click 'Change keyboards or other input methods' from the 'Clock, Language and Region' menu.
Click on the 'Keyboards and Languages' tab and click the 'Change keyboards' button.
Click the 'Add' button in the 'General' tab screen.
Scroll down the list and find the 'Japanese (Japan)' option. Select Japanese from the 'Keyboard' option. Click 'OK' to save your changes.
Open up a word processor application and click on the page. A language bar should appear in the taskbar. It will be displaying your computer's current keyboard language. The default value is 'EN English (United States)'
Click the 'EN English' and select 'JP Japanese' from the drop down menu. Your computers keyboard is now set up to type in romaji.
Start typing in romaji. The computer will automatically generate the hiragana when a valid romaji is typed.
Click 'System Preferences' from the dock and choose the 'International' icon.
Change to the 'Input Menu' tab and scroll down to the 'Kotoeri' option. Turn it on and select the 'Hiragana' option.
Click the flag in your status bar and select hiragana from the drop down menu. The flag will be the current system language, the default value is the American flag.
Open up a word processor application. Start typing in romaji. The computer will automatically generate the hiragana when a valid romaji is typed.
Tips and warnings
- In Windows 7 / Vista, 'ALT + ~' is the default shortcut key to change keyboard languages.
- In Mac OS X, 'Option + ~' is the default shortcut key to change keyboard languages.
- After typing a word in Japanese hiragana push the enter button on your keyboard to confirm. Pushing the space button will try to convert the word into a Japanese kanji.
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