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I added the Japanese Layout in Keyboard preferences, however all the layouts look like being in katakana.

I suspect that the key that is left of number 1 (above Tab and under Esc) could be the one to switch from katakana to hiragana however I don't have that key in my keyboard and my other Toshiba laptop does not have it either. I really don't know what to do, I simply want to be able to write in hiragana in Ubuntu.


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I'm not sure that the "Japan Kana" layout can do hirigana. The key left of 1 doesn't toggle for me.

I've only ever used an IME to type Japanese, that might be an easier option for you - you type phonetically in romaji and it's converted to kana and kanji. A guide to installing it is here:

To write, you type in romaji, e.g. nihongo. As you type, that would be replaced by hirigana にほんご. Hit space and that would be replaced with the kanji 日本語. Hit space again and you get a menu of other ways to represent it, which is important as Japanese has many homonyms.  

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Thanks, still I want to type directly in hiragana. I hate writing in romanji and the keyboard has hiragana printed on the keys. Most japanese keyboards come with hiragana next to romanji so there should be a way to write in hiragana. – Lisandro Vaccaro Mar 2 '11 at 15:38

I don't know Japanese and don't have a Japanese keyboard, but I think I might have found what you're looking for.

The key is IBus. Fire up IBus Preferences and install the Japanese "anthy (m17n)" input method. Then, configure IBus to show the language bar when you activate Japanese mode. If you don't have the proper key on your keyboard to toggle the input method on and off, you can configure your own. I use the Pause key for this. Annoyingly, you can't add a key directly from the preferences window, but you can do so easily enough from within gconf-editor.

When you type, you should be able to get hiragana directly. If not, play with the language bar settings and you'll surely find what you're looking for.

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I found that it was possible to toggle it using the key next to 1 (`) and alt. It should toggle it and take you through a couple of examples. Just type something in Microsoft Word (or whatever program you are using) each time you toggle it, and you should be able to find it. Hope this helped! :)

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Does this work in Microsoft Windows (mentioned Microsoft Word), or in Ubuntu? – Xen2050 Feb 25 '15 at 9:00

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