This is a follow-up on the former articles "Writing Japanese with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Xenial Xerus", "Writing Japanese with Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr", "Writing Japanese with Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin" and "Writing Japanese with Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx".

With Ubuntu switching over to Gnome Shell, the configuration utility looks slightly different from to the previous LTS versions but I'll (hopefully) safely guide you through it and over the small stumbling stone while setting up the Japanese input.

So let's start:

  1. Open up the system settings by clicking on the icon with the screwdriver and wrench crossing each other in the menu that comes up when clicking on the icons at the right top of the screen. Then select "Region & Language" on the left side of the opened window and click on "Manage Installed Languages".
  2. Eventually a dialog with the words "The language support is not installed completely" might come up. You can ignore it by clicking on "Remind Me Later". Now you should see a window called "Language Support". In this window, click on "Install / Remove Languages...".
  3. In the opened "Installed Languages"-window, find the Japanese entry inside the list and click on the checkbox next to it so it's checked. Then, click on "Apply".
  4. Next, enter your password in the appearing authentication dialog and click on "Authenticate.
  5. The necessary packages will now be downloaded and installed. Nothing to do for you in this step, but you can already start to save open documents and close unused windows in preparation for the next one. :-)
  6. After the Japanese language support is installed, you have to log out. This is the small stumbling stone I mentioned before. For the installed input method to show up, the session needs to be restarted. This is really kind of annoying but there's nothing you can do about that at this point. :-(
  7. Now reopen the "Region & Language" settings but this time click on the small button with the Plus-Sign below the Input Sources.
  8. In the "Add an Input Source"-dialog, first click on "Japanese" and then select "Japanese (Mozc)". Now click "Add".
  9. The entry "Japanese (Mozc)" should now appear in the list of Input Sources along with the system icon. Also notice the "Options"-button, that now appeared at the right side of the "Input Sources"-label. When you click it, the opened dialog allows you to specify whether input sources are global or window-specific. I recommend to set it to "Allow different sources for each window".
  10. You should be ready to go now. Open the text editor, click on the system icon to switch between the input sources, select "Japanese (Mozc)" and then "Hiragana" as the "Input Mode". You should now be able to type Japanese. Switching between candidates is done by pressing the spacebar and katakana-conversion is done by pressing F7.

I hope, this article answered your first questions regarding Japanese input in Ubuntu.

If this article was useful to you, you might also be interested in my (short) list of Japanese learning materials and software for Linux and how to type specific symbols and radicals in Mozc / Google’s Japanese IME. I've also recently started a new project called Lyzo-Translations where I translate Japanese web novels if anyone is interested in these. Kind regards

16 Responses to “Writing Japanese with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver”

  1. GST
    March 10th, 2018 at 23:48

    After following these instructions on Ubuntu Budgie 17.10, every keystroke leads to a japanese character. There are no key combinations. Also, there are no additional options in the keyboard selector other than the language (e.g., Input Mode or Tools — as in your last image). Any idea how to fix?

  2. Anon
    April 21st, 2018 at 01:56

    This helped so much! Thanks!

  3. SZ
    April 21st, 2018 at 10:39

    It does not work on 18.04 LTS if you log in using “Gnome on Wayland”, because the “Japanese (mozc)” thing does not appear in the Language Selector menu (step 09).

  4. hm
    May 19th, 2018 at 10:56

    If you don’t see “Japanese (Mozc)” in Input Sources, try this: log out once, then log back in. This happened to me on the first boot after installing 18.04.

  5. Seb
    June 20th, 2018 at 02:19

    This worked perfectly, thank you!

  6. Nobu
    August 15th, 2018 at 04:26

    I can’t switch between English and Mozc with Space bar nor using Ctrl-Win-Space as described on another site.  On Windows it is really easy to switch back and forth.Do you have any advice?

  7. Sean
    August 28th, 2018 at 07:50

    Use Win+Space, not Ctrl+Win+Space to switch.
    And does anybody have a keyboard shortcut for switching from hiragana to latin input?

  8. Kaan
    September 17th, 2018 at 10:20

    Thanks a lot!

  9. PP
    September 25th, 2018 at 21:49

    Thank you!

  10. Lebad
    October 8th, 2018 at 12:17

    It’s trying to install the Firefox locale and fails because it cannot fetch something. Any workaround? I don’t even use Firefox.

  11. brother
    October 10th, 2018 at 20:22

    On 9th step it doesn’t show Japanese(Mozc). Please help

  12. Mori
    October 14th, 2018 at 22:41

    Thanks. It’s very helpful for me especially about “logout” is essential.

  13. brother
    October 17th, 2018 at 18:02

    I am using Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS, I do every step just as you showed but on 8th step, when i click on Japanese I see every option but Japanese(Mozc). Please help

  14. brother
    November 8th, 2018 at 18:13

    I fixed the problem! Turns out my ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS wasn’t installed correclty so i had to format and reinstall the system, it works now.

  15. brother
    November 9th, 2018 at 17:23

    I kinda enjoy posting stuff here every now and then.

  16. brother
    November 12th, 2018 at 12:40

    Turtle shaped raspberry cakes with chocolate icing are the best!

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