Using Japanese on Debian Wheezy

The goal is to make the system capable for Japanese input, while letting the base system remain English. For the Japanese input method, I had been using Anthy, but I will be using mozc, which is now better supported and presumably much better (it is).

First, set up locales and install im-config. In addition to my base English locale (en_US.UTF-8), install Japnese locales ja_JP.EUC-JP and ja_JP.UTF-8:

$ sudo aptitude install locales im-config
$ sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales

Set the default locale for the system to en_US.UTF-8.

Install some Japanese fonts:

$ sudo aptitude install ttf-kochi-mincho ttf-kochi-gothic ttf-sazanami-mincho


Install IBus-related packages and configure for KDE:

$ sudo aptitude install ibus ibus-mozc ibus-qt4 ibus-gtk ibus-gtk3 ibus-clutter
$ im-config
... choose IBus ...

Run the IBus setup program:

$ ibus-setup

If asked, start ibus-daemon. Logout the KDE sesssion, restart X session, and login again. Under the Input Method tab, add “Japanese – Mozc”. Configure IBus to my liking, such as making Ctrl + Space (as opposed to Shift + Space) trigger the Japanese input mode. The IBus icon also shows up in the system tray, from which various settings can be changed.



$ sudo aptitude install ibus-mozc mozc-utils-gui
$ /usr/lib/mozc/mozc_tool --mode=config_dialog

to configure Mozc to my liking.

Using Japanese in Emacs

Install ibus-el:

$ sudo aptitude install ibus-el

Within emacs, M-x ibus-mode will toggle IBus on and off. Very easy!

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12 Responses to Using Japanese on Debian Wheezy

  1. Atarakt says:

    Thanks a lot, it perfectly work for me. πŸ˜‰

  2. Juanmi says:

    Thank you very much it worked great in debian.

  3. Pirategoerges says:

    Thank you very very much, you saved me from hellbringer and headach!


  4. bibbleCake says:

    Perfectumundo, my good man! Nice and easy – thanks!

  5. Javier says:

    Your method worked perfectly. Thank you very much.
    But I want to know if it’s a way to configure mozc to start writing hiragana directly. I always have to press keys to change the input method, then go to the language selector and select Input Mode (A) > hiragana instead of Direct input. I cannot find anything in the configuration (kana option change the keyboard layout to the japanese one).
    In Wheezy, using Anthy, it was the way it worked (directly jump to hiragana), and I think it’s better.
    I Duckduckgo’ed and Googled looking for a solution with no results at all. Could you help me?

    • Taro says:

      Javier — I hear you. That’s really the only reason I do not use mozc right now (I’m on Jessie). But after using libkkc for a while, I find that mozc is much smarter and the amount of extra training I have to do on libkkc to make it usable might make going back to mozc worth considering… Hopefully somebody helps the the development of mozc.

      • Javier says:

        Ok, thank you very much. I understood that there is no way, by the moment, to do that. Is it OK?
        Well, fortunately it has to be done just the first time in session. Then, it works perfectly.
        Thank you very much for your response.

  6. Pingback: Japanese file name is storing in garbage characters | Solutions for enthusiast and professional programmers

  7. Jon-Fu says:

    Thank you very much for the how-to. It worked like a charm for me.

  8. Kim Lee says:

    Thank you so much. It’s an old post, but it’s the best. Works so fine on my debian.

  9. AntΓ³nio says:


  10. Alice says:

    Thank you!! This worked great on the raspberry pi (“Rasbian” Jessie) I’m temporarily using as a desktop. Like Javier, I’m surprised there isn’t a shortcut to switch between input methods within mozc, but at least mozc is clever so I’m not complaining.

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