I see Mac OS 10.6 has a new Chinese character input via the trackpad. This looks really cool, but I can't find a detailed description of it, so I'm not sure if I can use it.

  • Can I use it to enter kanji? I know nothing about Chinese, apart from hearing that kanji uses Chinese characters. But Apple says nothing about kanji or Japanese. Are the characters identical across languages? Is there anything I'll be missing?

  • Can I use it to enter kana, too?

  • Can I use it on my Macbook? It's a 2GHz Core2Duo, so it's a couple years old, and probably doesn't have the newest trackpad.



The Chinese character input will also recognise the Japanese kanji (seeing the are pretty much the same thing). However, it will not recognise kana.

Additionally, the Chinese character input requires a modern Macbook with a multitouch trackpad. To determine if you have one of these, go to System Preferences > Trackpad. If your's looks like this:

enter image description here

Then it means you have a multitouch trackpad. Otherwise, you are just out of luck.

  • Yeah, mine doesn't have that, and it looks like I'm SOL. Chinese input isn't listed in "Feature-specific requirements" on Apple's page, but they say "write directly on the Multi-Touch trackpad" elsewhere. It's also not even clear to me if a new Macbook would permit this, since they say "Solid-state scrolling trackpad ... two-finger scrolling", and not "Multi-Touch trackpad ... three-finger swipe, four-finger swipe" like the Pro has. D'oh.
    – Ken
    Sep 8 '09 at 1:03
  • Mine looks like that, now what should I do¨?
    – OscarRyz
    Sep 8 '09 at 1:55

Well, some character are different for example 步 in Chinese and 歩 in Japanese (or almost every one with the 米 radical), and in general the Traditional Chinese characters are more the same with the Japanese Kanji than the Simplified Chinese ones. But it is possible to enter most of the Kanji using this Traditional Chinese input method system.

  • Isn't the difference those two languages not not just a matter of selecting the correct locale or language settings?
    – Hennes
    Jan 1 '13 at 14:24
  • 1
    @hennes no, it isn't. Many people want to believe it is, which is where we get things like Unicode's Han unification from; but that's just lies from people who don't understand the languages. Calling Chinese and Japanese Kanji the same thing means we must resort to fonts to distinguish them (much as in the pre-unicode days). E.g., 2016-Android only ships with Chinese fonts, rendering Japanese illegible to most native speakers. E.g., Japanese has both 来 and 來 characters, but Chinese has only the latter. Sep 29 '16 at 6:57

I think this is the same situation as on the iPhone. Chinese only. You could use it for individual kanji I guess, but for complete Japanese sentences not so much.

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