I am Portuguese, and thus have a Portuguese keyboard layout on my laptop. I want to write in Japanese, and have already installed Microsoft IME and am able to write in Japanese.

What I want to know is if there is anyway to get a "preview" of the virtual Japanese layout (preferably in kana) so that I know where all the keys are and exactly which functions each one has. Is there anyway of getting a virtual image of my layout or does anyone know exactly where each key is and what it does?

Thank you

3 Answers 3


After having chatted with some native Japanese, I've found out that they usually type the romanized word, thus rendering my question moot...


Windows has an on-screen keyboard for accessibility. You can bring it up - it's always-on-top - and see a map of your current layout.

On my Windows 7 installation, it's at Start->All Programs->Accessories->Ease of Access.

  • It does show the keyboard layout, but not in kana, which is what I am looking for. Do you know if there is a way of showing it in kana?
    – JNat
    Jul 25, 2012 at 13:56
  • Is there a one-to-one correspondence from keys on the keyboard to kana? I'm not very familiar with it, but in my limited experience, Japanese is typed by typing a romanization of the Japanese word, which the software then translates to kana. Jul 25, 2012 at 14:20
  • Each of the letters has a kana assigned to it, but the kana that are supposed to be in the punctuation keys are not the same, because they are located in different places. BTW, I can actually write in Japanese right now, I would just like to know if there is a way to show me where all the keys are. And normally I write in kana and then let the software translate it to Kanji, since I do not like to write the romanization of the words.
    – JNat
    Jul 25, 2012 at 16:37

I think the missing thing is either changing the keyboard driver, or changing the default keyboard setting. You may run through the steps described here, http://anonani.blogspot.com/2009/11/how-to-map-japanese-keyboard-on-english.html I used it to map my Japanese keyboard correctly, but using these same steps, I can select the option to the default key map back to English. Source(s): http://anonani.blogspot.com/2009/11/how-to-map-japanese-keyboard-on-english.html

  • This does not help me. I CAN already type in Japanese, I just don't know where the keys are.
    – JNat
    Jul 25, 2012 at 13:57

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