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How do I setup my Windows XP box so that I can write Japanese text?

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It's fairly easy to do this, but you'll need your windows install CD. If you don't have your install CD, this answer might be useful to you.

Open your Control Panel and open your "Regional and Language Options" controls. Then

  1. Click to "Install files for East Asian languages"
  2. Press "Apply" (this is the stage that requires your windows install CD)
  3. Now click the "Details..." button

Regional and Language Options screen

This will show you a list of the "input options" that you currently have installed. We need to "Add..." one.

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On the "Add Input Language" screen, select "Japanese" and the "Microsoft IME Standard".

enter image description here

Then click "OK", then "OK" and then "OK"... and you should see the language bar pop up either on your start bar or elsewhere on the screen. You might need to restart if the system tells you to, before you can use the IME.

You can use it with the following key-commands:

  • alt+shift : Switch IME modes (between "EN" and "JP" mode, for example)
  • alt+~ : While in "JP" mode, switch input modes (between "A"-romaji and "hiragana" mode)

You should be able to switch to hiragana mode, type using "IME-romaji", then use spacebar to select among the possible kanji writings.

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To install another language and keyboard layout in Windows XP, follow these steps:

  1. In the Windows XP standard Start menu, click Start, and then click Control Panel.

  2. In the Windows XP classic Start menu, click Start, click Settings, and then click Control Panel.

  3. Double-click Regional and Language Options.

  4. Click the Languages tab, and then click Details under "Text Services and Input Languages".

  5. Click Add under "Installed Services", and then click the language you want to add and the keyboard layout you want to use for that language.

  6. To configure the settings for the Language bar, click Language Bar under "Preferences".

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