Here is what I did to fix this problem

  • I installed the japanese language pack.
  • I unchecked the "Hide fonts according to your language settings" option.
  • I set the local language to Japanese and back to my language
  • I delete the FNTCACHE.DAT in C:\Windows\System32

There is a 50% chance that when I do a cold boot, all file names and text in programs (e.g. skype) with japanese font/kanji display as squares.

A reboot often fixes the problem temporarily but it's super annoying. Does anyone know how to fix this constantly?

  • May be your system has some "bad" font, wich reports itself to system as "japanese capable", but it does not?
    – Maximus
    Commented Aug 19, 2012 at 11:39
  • I don't know, makes no sense to me. I freshly installed Windows 8 so everything should be fine.
    – asdf
    Commented Aug 19, 2012 at 11:41

2 Answers 2


It's just way too simple and easy. Create a file named 火.txt and place it on your desktop, then reboot. (Tested only on Win7)

This will work because of font-caching. There are two main parts in the os that create the cache. One is the Windows Explorer, the other one the DirectWrite part of DX. The problem is, that DXW fails with Unicode. So when a programm starts up using unicode and the dxw api, the font-cache is build by dxw, not containing unicode because of the fail. If you place the txt file on your desktop, it's the explorers first turn to fill the cache. And explorer supports unicode, so the cache is initialized correctly.

  • Works for me on Windows 8. Thanks!
    – netvope
    Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 1:02
  • Make sure you are also using Keyboard for Japanese language.
  • Also use the Japanese locale.
  • 4
    Neither one of these has any connection with correct display of Japanese.
    – user105352
    Commented Nov 12, 2012 at 9:33

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