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    Japanese with colemak (Windows)

    • Started by uberstuber
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    • Registered: 10-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 7

    I'm using Windows XP.
    I use colemak when I type in English as my default layout, but on occasion I need to type in Japanese. I use xp's IME input mode which changes romaji (english characters) into the corresponding Japanese. The problem is that the IME input mode assumes that I'm using a qwerty keyboard. Does anyone know of a way that I can type Japanese using the colemak layout?
    If not, I guess its a good way to maintain my qwerty skills.

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    • Shai
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    • Registered: 11-Dec-2005
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    Here are some instructions for making Japanese/Chinese IME work under Windows.
    Another option is to use the registry remapping implementation.

    A future version of the installer will automate the procedure mentioned above.

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    • Registered: 10-Dec-2006
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    Thank you very much for the quick response.

    I used the instructions on the link you provided and switched the database entry to colemak.dll and it works great, but for some reason it doesn't work in microsoft word/excel/ppt/etc. Really weird. I don't really mind, until I have to do a ppt presentation for my Japanese class. I have absolutely no clue as to why it would work everywhere but MS office. Any ideas?
    I'd use the registry remapping, but I want the option of using qwerty if others use my computer.

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    • Registered: 17-Nov-2006
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    I used to have that problem as well. I just did exactly what Sorting It All Out requested to do, and I didn't have a problem afterward. It's rather odd that you're having problems with MS Office.

    Although I could have changed the Japanese layout to Colemak, I figured it wouldn't be an optimal result since Colemak was made for English. So, I suggest, if you have the time, to simply use kana input. It's really not that hard to remember where all the keys are.

    If you're uncertain how to do that, right click on the language bar, click restore, change to Japanese, put it in hiragana, and click kana – it's right below caps. If you've done it successfully, instead of あ, you'll see ち when you press a.

    Whichever method you choose, I hope it works out!

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    • Registered: 10-Dec-2006
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    I wasnt sure if the kana input mode was optimal for Japanese, or if it has the same problems as qwerty. If indeed it is nicer than qwerty is for english, I think I'd switch.
    Once I get faster at colemak, I think I'll give it a whirl.

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    • Registered: 16-Apr-2007
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    Which entry did you change?

    I'm considering changing E0210411 (ATOK16W.IME) from kbdjpn.dll to Colemak.dll, but I'm not sure this is the correct one, as the Sorting It All Out said that the kbdjpn.dll pointed to different layouts depending on other settings (not documented).  Oh, it would be so much easier if I were trying to use the Chinese IME (which uses the us layout directly).  Grrr.

    I remember having some problem when I tried to switch to Dvorak years ago...

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    • Registered: 17-Nov-2006
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    Under ControlSet 1, find 00000411 and E0010411 and change the layout file to Colemak.dll. Under ControlSet 2, do the same thing. In total, you'll be doing that to four layout files. After you finish doing that, the Japanese IME keyboard should be changed to Colemak. But as I said before, kana input is much easier and much faster.

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    • Registered: 16-Apr-2007
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    I don't really have an excuse _not_ to learn the kana keys, since it's a Japanese keyboard with the kana written write on it.  I just don't want to have to learn too much at once.  It's entirely possible that I'm just lazy.  ^_^

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    • Registered: 17-Nov-2006
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    That's understandable. You would have to learn 46 or so keys. If you don't type Japanese often, it would be difficult to remember where they all are. There a couple of difficult keys to remember like ぬ and ろ which are 1 and ` respectively. So yeah, I definitely understand.

    At any rate, it's not all that common to find someone who uses kana input to type in Japanese. I guess I simply like to be an odd man out. ^_^

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    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
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    For a Japanese user, would it be convenient to use two keyboards next to each other? I saw an AutoHotKey user had figured out how to do that for some purpose. If you could spare the desktop room for it, maybe two keyboards (one could be a compact one without a NumPad) could alleviate the complexity of Kana input, since you could then mark the keycaps of the auxiliary board and not have to do some switch trick (other than moving your hands)? Just a thought.

    One use I saw for that trick was if you were a Russian or Greek keyboard user. One keyboard could be set up to map all the AltGr signs without actually holding down an AltGr key. With a keyboard setup that has the Greek chars on AltGr mappings one could then type away in Greek on one keyboard and in latin letters on the other. IME input is more complex though and I don't know exactly how it's done so I may be barking up the entirely wrong tree here.  :)

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
    *** Check out my Big Bag of Keyboard Tricks for Win/Linux/TMK... ***

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    • Registered: 17-Nov-2006
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    I'm not so sure about that. For me to start typing in Japanese, I have to press ctrl+shift and alt+`. That's it. If I had a Japanese keyboard, I would only have to press one key. There's a key on the Japanese keyboard specifically for going into kana input.

    I think it would be a bit unnecessary to have more then one keyboard.

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    • Registered: 10-Dec-2006
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    I'm using linux now, so this thread has lost its purpose for me, but I did reboot to my windows install and Golden_Hammer's solution fixed the input in MS Office.
    Now that I'm happy with my Colemak speed, I think its time to start learning kana input.  Does anyone know of a typing tutor for kana input? My knowledge of Japanese is still somewhat limited and my friends in Japan all wonder why in the world I would want to learn anything but romaji input.

    As far as two keyboards, I can't see how that could be good ergonomically. I have enough trouble with my mouse being too far away, I couldn't fathom reaching for another keyboard.

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    • Registered: 17-Nov-2006
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    Maybe my searching skills are not what they used to be, but I couldn't find any typing tutors for kana. I learned kana input by putting romaji lyrics into kana/kanji. I'm still not all that fast using it, but it's getting there.

    Hey, using kana input has its advantages. Since I don't use QWERTY anymore, I would have to hit and peck to type Japanese, but why would I want to do that when there's another keyboard that allows me to type Japanese as well? Kana input may or may not be the best way for typing in Japanese, but it's definitely working for me so far.

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    • Registered: 09-May-2007
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    As someone who uses both colemak and Japanese on a daily basis, I suggest you use AutoHotKey on windows.
    # I also use a mac, but that belongs elsewhere.

    AutoHotKey also works without adjustments in Word, Excel etc.

    Note that the MS Office suite apps actually hook up to the IME via a different (unknown?) mechanism to the IME. In fact, there is a special version of the Microsoft IME that is needed to use office, and Third Party IMEs like ATOK require the use of special plugins to work in Office applications!


    One other reason to use AutoHotKey on windows is that it tends to preserve the position of non-alphanumeric keys on non-US keyboards. The JIS Keyboard (the one with kana on the keys) actually has punctuation character placed in significantly different positions to the US Keyboard. Using Colemak.dll moves these keys to the US keyboard positions, and can render some common characters untypable (the backslash/yen and the tilde come to mind), while at the same time will render some keys functionless.

    There are similar issues with the Mac JIS keyboard, so I've created my own remapping to cover that case.

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    • Registered: 07-Sep-2009
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    Sweet! I don't know how I didn't find this thread before!
    I am a college student learning Chinese and often have to type in Chinese for my homework. I have no idea what others are going to do when they use my computer now but at least I can now use colemak for both of the languages I type in!
    Can you make a layout that maps from Colemak back to QWERTY that I can run when others want to use my computer?

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    • Registered: 23-Dec-2009
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    Old thread, but since it's already been recently resurrected, figured one more can't hurt =)

    Wanted to correct a couple of things that flew by here:

    -I also purchased Japanese keyboards for both my desktop and my laptop, ostensibly to learn the kana layout and for the benefit of having single-key toggle. Turns out the former is obsolete and the latter was unnecessary because:

    -It's not necessary to use both Ctrl-Shift and Alt-` to switch between qwerty and romaji input in Windows. You can forgo the Ctrl-Shift and simply use Alt-` as a toggle, because there's essentially no difference between being in the 'US English' keyboard and being in 'Direct Input' mode in the Japanese IME. I switch between English and Japanese dozens of times a day, and this is how I do it. In fact, I completely removed US English and its keyboard, to avoid accidentally switching to it.

    -The kana layout is old and arbitrary and so has similar problems as QWERTY. I have never met a single Japanese person who types using it; everyone uses romaji. The moraic syllabry is ~46 characters and mapping each one to a key leads to an absurd amount of row jumping. On top of that, you have to switch modes to type numbers. So sadly the 'just use the kana layout' suggestion does a lot more harm than good.

    Last edited by kobachi (23-Dec-2009 00:41:18)
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    • Registered: 22-Sep-2007
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    Not a huge deal but, something went wrong with my Japanese Google Input...?

    For some reason, it reverted from Colemak to Qwerty layout at an unknown point in time.
    Switched it back. But now when using Google Japanese I can't seem to change between Direct Input and Hiragana using Alt Tilde shortcut. Ctrl Caps doesn't work either.
    Or maybe my memory isn't right and those shortcuts never worked at all in Google Japanese, but I don't think so.

    Shortcuts work fine on Microsoft IME, also work fine with Google using the original qwerty kbdjpn.dll.

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    • Registered: 26-Feb-2011
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    ecchichuu said:

    But now when using Google Japanese I can't seem to change between Direct Input and Hiragana using Alt Tilde shortcut. Ctrl Caps doesn't work either.a

    I had the same issue when I started using Colemak with Farkas Maté's PKL, so I would have Colemak layout for Japanese input too.
    I got around by using both Japanese and Spanish (or other alphabet-based language) layouts in Windows. I always leave Japanese with hiragana and toggle layouts with Shift+Alt.

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    ecchichuu said:

    Not a huge deal but, something went wrong with my Japanese Google Input...?

    For some reason, it reverted from Colemak to Qwerty layout at an unknown point in time.
    Switched it back. But now when using Google Japanese I can't seem to change between Direct Input and Hiragana using Alt Tilde shortcut. Ctrl Caps doesn't work either.
    Or maybe my memory isn't right and those shortcuts never worked at all in Google Japanese, but I don't think so.

    Shortcuts work fine on Microsoft IME, also work fine with Google using the original qwerty kbdjpn.dll.

    it only took me a year to figure this out. well not really, but doing a fresh OS install recently i confirmed that setting google japanese to colemak2.dll indeed breaks the Alt ` shortcut to toggle hiragana mode. HOwever, I realized u can create a custom hiragana toggle shortcut by going to the google japanese properties and making a Custom Keymap Style based off MS-IME. Just add entries like Direct Input - Ctrl ` - Set mode to Hiragana input and Precomp - Ctrl ` - Deactivate IME.

    Now ive got anew porblem tho. MS OneNote doesnt respond to any language shortcuts at all.

    ...maybe ill figure it out next year. :P

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    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
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    Hmmmm... Using PKL you could in theory set a key to produce any recognized (enumerated) key code I think? Including the Hiragana/Katagana keys (I think they're just called that)? Just a thought. Not sure what it'd do because those keys don't do anything by themselves but rely on an IME and I'm not familiar with their use at all.

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
    *** Check out my Big Bag of Keyboard Tricks for Win/Linux/TMK... ***

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