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LOCALES Configure IBus-anthy or Scim-anthy to enable Japanese input

This is a very basic guide to setting up Japanese input on Crunchbang using either ibus-anthy or scim-anthy.

Note that in order for your system to display (and therefore write) Japanese you will first have to install some Japanese fonts. You can go on this page to check if Japanese characters are displayed properly on your system. If not, please use the Synaptic package manager (or the terminal) to install some Japanese fonts. There are several available, but ttf-sazanami-gothic and ttf-sazanami-mincho are a good start.


Nowadays (2011) Scim input gets less and less support as it is progressively replaced by IBus. Also it tends to be more tricky to install and configure.

It is therefore recommended to install and use the IBus input framework which should work instantly.

To do so, just install the IBus package and its dependencies via Synaptic. Make sure to have both ibus-gtk and ibus-qt4 dependencies selected for install if you want to be able to input japanese in any application regardless of the nature of its graphic interface.

IBUS is just the system that allows to switch between differents input methods. But we also need to install the input method itself. For the japanese it is called anthy. So again using the package manager, install ibus-anthy and anthy packages along with their dependecies.

Once those few packages are installed, log out and reenter your session: IBus should be working! As a proof a keyboard icon should have appeared in the control bar (or whatever this area is called, nearby the sound control and clock and so on…). Right-click on it, go to “preference>input method” and choose “Japanese”(anthy) then click on “add”.

You can now switch to Japanese input with the hankaku/zenkaku key if you have a Japanese keyboard (it's immediately above tab) or ctrl+space otherwise. できた!

Space bar switches between anthy's various guesses, F7 will transform into katakana, F6 into hiragana, and Enter confirms the choice.


The method for configuring scim was found at thanks to scottro. This guide will try and be as clear as possible for people like myself - but will be limited by my knowledge, so if you can add anything please do.


tainted sushi posted this at the above forum. It is simpler. just copy each of the following lines to your terminal.

sudo apt-get install xfonts-wqy
sudo apt-get install scim-anthy
sudo touch /etc/X11/Xsession.d/74custom-scim_startup
sudo chmod 646 /etc/X11/Xsession.d/74custom-scim_startup
echo 'export XMODIFIERS=”@im=SCIM”' » /etc/X11/Xsession.d/74custom-scim_startup
echo 'export GTK_IM_MODULE=“scim”' » /etc/X11/Xsession.d/74custom-scim_startup
echo 'export XIM_PROGRAM=“scim -d”' » /etc/X11/Xsession.d/74custom-scim_startup
echo 'export QT_IM_MODULE=“scim”' » /etc/X11/Xsession.d/74custom-scim_startup
sudo chmod 644 /etc/X11/Xsession.d/74custom-scim_startup

once done, login and press control and space together to turn on japanese input.



This may only work with US keyboards. I am unsure, but you may have to change the en_US.UTF-8 if you have a non-US keyboard. See for more info.


via command line type:
sudo aptitude install scim-anthy language-support-fonts-ja

to install 'scim-anthy' and 'language-support-fonts-ja'

or find them in synaptic package manager. open that via command line with:
gksudo synaptic

Open a program with Japanese input enabled - via command line

In a terminal type:
scim -d

to start the scim daemon. A process that runs in the background and makes it possible to call scim.

next, in a terminal type:

this will open the program 'gedit'. Replace 'gedit' with the program you want to open.

In the program you opened you can now type Japanese. If you can't try pressing alt and left-shift together to switch between Roman characters and Japanese characters. If you still can't, try pressing ctrl and space together to open anthy.

To simplify this process create a text document containing the following text:

XMODIFIERS='@im=SCIM' LC_CTYPE=en_US.UTF-8 GTK_IM_MODULE=“scim” ${1+“$@”} &

call that document and save it to ~/bin ['~' (tilde) stands for your home directory]

then via the command line, navigate to that directory [use the command 'ls' to see which folders you can navigate to. use the command 'cd <folder name>' to navigate to that folder. use command 'cd ..' to move up a folder level]

then type:
chmod 755

now instead of typing scim -d and XMODIFIERS='@im=SCIM' LC_CTYPE=en_US.UTF-8 gedit, just type: gedit

and gedit will open with Japanese input.

You can change your menu entries, or your keybindings to <program name> and they will open with Japanese input.

Apply Japanese input to all programs you open

If you don't like typing to open programs, there is a far easier way.

In your home directory look for the file .profile and open it with gedit or another text editor. Make sure you enable 'show hidden files' [in PC Man file manager just press ctrl and h together]

or via command line, in your home directory type:
gedit .profile

This will open the document with gedit. At the end of the document on a new line, paste the following lines:

export XMODIFIERS='@im=SCIM'
export LC_CTYPE=en_US.UTF-8
export GTK_IM_MODULE=“scim”
export QT_IM_MODULE=“scim”
scim -d

Once you log out and log back in any program you open should have Japanese input enabled. If not, try pressing alt and left shift together to switch between Roman and Japanese characters. If you still can't type Japanese, try pressing ctrl and space together to open scim-anthy.

In my experience, when I tried the global method, Japanese became the default input for all windows. This meant that I had to press alt and left-shift together to switch to Roman characters every new window. If this happens to you and it is not what you want, either run scim-setup at command-line or right-click the language bar or the scim-anthy icon and select options. On the left side under IMEngine select Anthy and on the Common tab change Input mode from Hiragana to Latin. ««««««««««««««««««««

Other Japanese Fonts and Things

Tagaini Jisho is a really great Japanese to English, German, Spanish, French and Russian dictionary. It serves as a Japanese language study assistant as well. Its homepage is Even though it is a great tool, it is not in the official #! repositories yet (2012). Check this thread to see how to proceed for installation.

Links to various commercial and non-commercial Japanese fonts can be found at .

My (mothxx) favorite free (for non-commercial use) handwritten fonts are
Moonfont at
Mikachan at
AP fonts at

howto_configure_scim-anthy_japanese.txt · Last modified: 2012/07/22 00:04 by caca
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