Writing Japanese Under Windows 2000 Professional/XP

This is not intended to be a comprehensive manual to writing Japanese under Windows 2000 Professional/XP, but rather a quick and dirty guide to get someone new to Japanese computing going.

 

  1. Once Japanese language support and IME have been installed on a computer running Windows 2000 Professional (or Windows 98/95 for that matter), there should be a Language bar button on the right hand side of the taskbar at the bottom of the Windows desktop. If you left click on it, then the language input options you have installed should appear. Scroll to the language option you want (in this case Japanese), and left click to select it as an input option.



  2. Screenshots for the example below is taken from a computer running Windows 2000 Professional with the Japanese input editor MS-IME 2000 installed. The steps are similar for Windows XP. For differences between Windows 2000 Professional and Windows XP, go to section (15). Otherwise, go to that next section.

  3. As an example, we will write the sentence "I am Chinese" in Japanese (watakushi wa chugokujin desu) in Microsoft Word. First open Word, then choose the Japanese MS-IME 2000 as in section (1). Note that on the right hand side of the taskbar, instead of , you have .

  4. You also get on the taskbar a menu for the options in Japanese MS-IME 2000. Note that even though the default input mode is supposed to be Hiragana, what shows on the menu is Direct Input as indicated by on the menu. Click on , and the submenu for different options for text input displays. Click on Hiragana to choose it as the input mode.



  5. Now the options menu for Japanese MS-IME 2000 indicates that Hiragana is the input mode, as represented by .



  6. Type in watakushi, and you get:



  7. Note that there is a dotted underline below watakushi, indicating that it is provisional. If you hit the space bar, you get the kanji:



    Note that there is a solid line under the kanji for watakushi. Since that is what you want, hit the return key to accept.

  8. IME is not smart enough to know that wa should be written by the kana for ha. So type ha. Again, note the dotted underline. Hit the return key to accept the hiragana for ha.



  9. Then type chugoku.



  10. If you hit the space bar, chugoku is converted into its kanji form.



  11. You can hit return to accept it. But suppose those kanji are not the ones you want, and you want to see what other alternative forms may be possible. Hit the space bar again, and you get a drop-down list of choices for chugoku.



  12. You can hit the space key repeatedly to cycle through the options. When the one you want is highlighted, hit the return key to select and finalize it. Alternatively, you can select the choice you want by entering its corresponding number. In this case, you actually want the first option. So enter 1 to select it and then the return key to finalize it. Then enter jindesu.



  13. Hit the space bar, and the kana for jin is converted to kanji:



  14. Hit the return key to accept the underlined phrase, enter a period, and then hit return again. The sentence is now complete.



  15. The example above also applies to Windows XP. The differences between Windows 2000 Professional and Windows XP in the implementation of Microsoft's IME for Japanese are:

    (i) A newer version (Microsoft IME Standard 2002) is installed for Windows XP.

    (ii) The language bar by default is a floating bar at the top of the screen in Windows XP, whereas in Windows 2000 Professional, the language button is located on the right side of the taskbar at the bottom of the desktop. You can reduce the language bar to a language button on the taskbar by clicking on the minimize button (the top part of at the right side of the language bar).

    (iii) Microsoft IME Standard 2002's option menu in Windows XP appears on the language bar at the top of the desktop.



    The input mode starts in Direct Input mode. To switch to Hiragana mode
    , click on the Input Style button to bring up a drop-down list of input modes, move the mouse to highlight Hiragana and click to select.



    The input mode is now in Hiragana mode.



    To follow the example illustrating the inputting of Japanese text, go back to section (3), keeping in mind the differences in the display of the language bar/button and option menus.


  16. Anyone who is reasonably proficient in Japanese language input will take far fewer steps than the example given here. What we are demonstrating here is not the most efficient way to achieve the result, but rather some general principles: (i) in Hiragana mode, entering the romaji and then hitting the return key means accepting the hiragana displayed; (ii) entering the romaji and then hitting the space bar means converting the hiragana to kanji; (iii) if the displayed option for conversion is the desired one, then hitting the return key means accepting that choice; (iv) if, on the other hand, the displayed option is not the desired one, hitting the space bar produces a drop-down list of choices in kanji, katakana, and/or hiragana.

    For more details on the features and options of this input method editor, look at Microsoft's own help files, or check out resources listed by Wai-keung Chung's comprehensive guide to CJK Language Computing.

    Please email me your comments, suggestions, and corrections.

All contents copyright 2003 Robert Y. Eng. All rights reserved.
With author's permission, republished in CLIEJ.