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I'm studying Japanese and need to write a lot of text with furigana. I've been using Word so far but my main concern is that entering furigana is not only quite clumsy (no hotkey) but what's more important is that once entered, you can't globally change either its font or its size; you need to change them one by one. This is a deal-breaker for me since my average text contains hundreds of entries. There is a hack you can do as pointed out by another guy on SU but I found that by using it I could (and did) break my document easily.

My question is: is there a software that is specifically designed to work with Japanese text that also has its UI in English? As stated above, I need something that has furigana editing as a first-class citizen.

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One option is to use HTML 5's ruby text support. Your ruby text can then easily be styled globally using CSS. Unfortunately, the syntax is extremely verbose:

<ruby>漢<rt>かん</rt>字<rt>じ</rt></ruby>

You're probably not willing to type that much!

So, you can follow Mark S. Everitt's ruby text support for Markdown. Then write your text in a reasonably concise Markdown format:

[漢](-かん)[字](-じ)

and use Everitt's scripts to process them into an output format. There's also a script to convert to XeLaTeX.

If you don't like Markdown, you can also use XeLaTeX directly:

\usepackage{ruby,xeCJK}
\ruby{漢}{かん}\ruby{字}{じ}

Since all these formats are based on plain text, edit them in your favorite text editor. Syntax highlighting and completion for XML/HTML and TeX in many editors.

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    So, I eventually took Mark Everitt's idea and rolled my own php implementation. github.com/poisa/JVFurigana. It's not as performant but definitely works! – Julian Nov 17 '12 at 21:44
  • The Markdown ruby text link from Everitt is dead. – bright-star Sep 4 '14 at 21:01

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