How to type in Japanese

My goal for this year (see completely different thread here:
is to learn to read, write and type in Japanese.

I have found this web site which is a good start: How to Type Japanese.

Can anyone suggest a typing drill program for English-speaking learners of Japanese? learning to touch-type Japanese would be helpful (I can touch-type in English and Russian, very badly but it still saves time)

The keyboard layout is the same as it is for English, though. If you can touch type in English you can do it it Japanese.
Even Japanese people don’t bother with kana input these days.
You can get a bit faster by cutting out unnecessary letters:
shi → si
tsu → tu

The special keys (f7 for katakana, etc) aren’t really for touch typing.
The hardest thing is to convert correctly. At least these days you can reconvert. I used to be really annoying to mis-convert, because the only way of correcting it would be to retype the word.

Also, handy things are special conversions.
まる1 → ①
ー> → →
ゆうびん → 〒
ばんごう → №

If you’re used to thinking of topic-marker ‘wa’ and object-maker ‘o’, you have to start thinking of these as ‘ha’ and ‘wo’ respectively.
And ん is ‘nn’. Even if you can get away with ‘shinbun’, it’s a good habit to type ‘shinnbun’, because in the case of words such as ‘tanni’ and ‘tani’ the number of n’s is important.

Mastering Kanji is the key.
Find a piece of Japanese text and try to type it.
Start with sentences such as
You’ll pick it up in no time.

I’ve just had a look at that site you linked to, and that pretty much tells you everything you need to know.
Work through that and you’ll be an expert.

My goal for this year is to learn to read, write and type in Japanese.
For practicing kanji I would recommend you (For getting a free 2 weeks extra you can use my referral code: Skritter - Learn to Write Chinese and Japanese Characters )
I use now for Japanese

  • LingQ (listening)
  • Skritter + Wacom (kanji writing)

The CosCom site you mentioned is excellent. You can understand how to type Japanese letters on the computer.
Most Japanese think and type English alphabet when we type Japanese. If you can touch-type in English, you can touch-type in Japanese easily.

I teach touch-typing to kids and adults at my private school. Here are some videos on YouTube.

I don’t think these typing applications work on your computer.
My adult students practice touch typing on Microsoft word.
It’s called “nobuo’s method”.

Here are the words for touch-typing beginners.
Put your fingers on the right keys in the right position.
We call it “home position”.


Just type “aaakakakaaaakakakaaaakakaka”
あああかかかあああかかか on the screen.
“a with little finger (left hand) and ka with middle finger(right hand) and little finger”

type slowly 赤赤赤赤赤赤 (Don’t look at your keyboard.)
It means that you type “a” and “ka” and then hit space bar with your thumb. “aka” will convert Japanese kanji 赤.

type slowly 赤い赤い赤い赤い赤い赤い
It means that you type “a” and “ka” and “i” with middle finger.

Next step
赤い 赤い 赤い 赤い 赤い 赤い
You have to press “enter key” after you convert it into kanji.
Close your eyes and type 赤い 赤い 赤い in 30 times.

Here are the basic words of nobuo’s method.
赤い akai
青い aoi
青木 aoki (popular Japanese family name)
青木さん aokisann
愛子さん aikosann (popular Japanese first name)
明子さん akikosann
栄子さん eikosann
青木愛子さん aokiaikosann
大きい ookii means big

Type same word ten times at least with touch-type.
If you can type 大きい well, then you can type 大きい石 大きい足 大きい頭
Type like below
大きい石 大きい石 大きい石 big stone
大きい足 大きい足 大きい足 big foot
大きい木 大きい木 大きい木 big tree
大きい家 大きい家 大きい家 big house
大きい目 大きい目 大きい目 big eye
大きい耳 大きい耳 大きい耳 big ear
大きい頭 大きい頭 大きい頭 big head
大きい顔 大きい顔 大きい顔 big face

Good luck!

Thank you everybody! Gosh, learning how to read and type Japanese really isn’t obvious for foreigners. It seems I need to learn to look at kana / kanji, convert it into romaji in my head so I can type it, but still remember what the kana / kanji looks like so I can tell I’ve typed the right thing. That’s going to take a lot of practice…

It also seems to me a good idea for a beginner to include in the LingQ the romaji you need to type the word - which isn’t the same as the phonetic rendition that Google gives you.

It’s a funny thing, but when typing Japanese I usually use sya syu syo for しゃ しゅ しょ, but I would never romanise them as such. Same with tya tyu tyo for ちゃ ちゅ ちょ. But I use ja ju jo for じゃじゅ じょ because it’s quicker than zya zyu zyo.

I have got no idea when I picked up these habits.