(Japanese) Wiki links

Japanese Environment

I hereby describe methods to set up a Japanese environment in Debian.

<!> In order to set up and use not only Japanese environment but also multilingual environment smoothly, please select the locale with UTF-8 encoding.

Required packages for Japanese environment

Following lists required packages for Japanese environment.

<!>  Read /usr/share/doc/ibus/README.Debian.gz in detail for input method.

<!>  Read Fonts/FontsProprietaryJapaneseFonts for more font hints

What is locale

The locale is used for LANG environment variable to define language environment. It has a structure of xx_YY.ZZZZ and has following meanings:


language codes


country codes 



The language region of Japan is ja_JP but if it is used alone it is treated as tradional ja_JP.eucJP . The language region of US (the best supported) is en_US but if it is used alone it is treated as tradional en_US.ISO8859-1.

For example, the encoding system often used for Japanese are:


recent standard, multilingual compatibility


old UNIX standard, only for Japanese


old Microsoft standard, only for Japanese


standard for Japanese e-mail, use only 7 bit code, only for Japanese


old standard for western European languages, ASCII+accented characters, 8 bit code


US standard, 7 bit code Simply set LANG=C

These encodings are well thought out to keep them compatible within ASCII code ranges.

If you accidentally haven't created the ja_JP.UTF-8 locale, please execute the following to enable Japanese UTF-8 environment.

$ sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales

Each program behaves differently depending on the set up of language related environment variables.

Here, you have to pay attention to the fact that some program uses PAM (pluggable Authentification Module) and the environment variable set by PAM has priority.

Both /etc/environment and /etc/defaults/locale files define


when Japanese is selected during the etch installation process under etch (as of December 2006).

Working with key programs

emacs situation

$ XMODIFIERS=none emacs

In order to adjust Debian menu, place customized configuration in /etc/menu following the method described in /usr/share/doc/menu/html.

vim situation


Recently IBus has become the most widely used input framework - it's probably the best choice for Japanese input in Debian

There are two Japanese IBus engines: ibus-anthy and ibus-mozc. ibus-mozc is an input method that originates from Google Japanese Input, while ibus-anthy is a more established method. It would be advisable to test both and pick the one that is the most appropriate for your needs.

Run the following to install mozc:

$ apt install ibus-mozc

and this to install anthy:

$ apt install ibus-anthy