HOWTO: Installing Japanese that looks nice on Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy): 日本語

Installing Japanese Input and Superior Font Setup in Ubuntu

This is a guide to setting up Japanese for Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy. It is intended as a complete guide encompassing all elements required for using Japanese on any language installation of Ubuntu. It covers input (UIM-Anthy) and configuring the Japanese fonts. There are other
guides around for older versions of Ubuntu or that use the alternative SCIM. They tend to cover elements only. This guide is intended to cover everything. Please note that Kubuntu requires slightly different steps. Please follow the relevant page accordingly. This is an updated version based on the original 7.04 one, but with some sections changed. Please note that if you follow this guide, your fonts will be reconfigured. This might mean losing some font settings you may have made. I have chosen to switch to UIM from SCIM because SCIM (ubuntu) does not properly support XIM at the moment. That means in applications not written for GTK or QT, you will not be able to use extended characters. UIM on the other hand should support 100% of applications.

Issues Involved

There are two main issues here:

1.Installing the UIM input system that will work in a locale other than converting your whole install to Japanese, i.e. you want Japanese input in an English login.

2.The fonts look initially terrible. Therefore a certain amount of customisation is required to make all the Kanji's render in the same style and Hiragana & Katakana to render in a non-handwriting style.

Japanese Input with UIM

This section covers setting up the Japanese input system using UIM Anthy. This involves, downloading, installing and configuring it so that you can use it in non-Japanese locales (e.g. your system is in English).

Setting Up Repositories

First lets make sure you have the correct repositories installed in order to automatically download the relevant packs. Make sure you have the Universe and Multiverse repositories switched on. This can be done in 'Synaptic Package Manager' under the repositories tab. Also, you need the Japanese repository too. Open the repositories list file:

gksudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list
Add the following line at the bottom:

deb gutsy/
Note that you will need to change 'gutsy' if you are using a different version from 7.10. Now update your repos with:

sudo apt-get update
At this stage, you will probably get an error saying that the repository is not validated. Ignore this for now. The following step will correct it. After adding the repository and running the update, you also need to add a keyring for the new location:

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-ja-keyring
Adding Ubuntu Language Support

Go to System / Administration / Language Support and select Japanese. This should install the basics.

Installing UIM

Although the default input method (SCIM) will have been installed, there are still certain bugs which mean that it will not function correctly in all applications, specifically non GTK (Gnome) ones. For this reason we will install UIM. This alternative provides the same input converter (Anthy) as SCIM did, but also provides a much more stable and compatible back end.

sudo apt-get install uim uim-anthy uim-common uim-gtk2.0 uim-qt uim-xim
As long as you have followed the above steps (including switching on Japanese language support), you should have all the necessary packages installed. Now we need to set up UIM.

Making UIM available under a non-Japanese login

Now you want to make UIM (Language input system) available in your English (or other lang) login and not just the Japanese one.

sudo im-switch -s uim-systray
This will change the input system over to UIM and tell it to dock itself in the system tray at the top of your screen. You now need to restart your computer. When the system has rebooted and you have logged back into Ubuntu, you should notice a new icon in the top right corner (or wherever your systray is). To check that it is working, open text editor. The icons now displayed in the UIM bar allow you to select different input methods. The first one should be clicked on and set to 'Anthy'. This is the Japanese input system. The second one allows you to choose between character types. Holding SHIFT and hitting SPACE will allow you to toggle between these.

Note: You might want to set Anthy as your default input method. You can do this in the UIM preferences window by clicking on the spanner and screwdriver icon in the UIM bar.

Setting up the system to display Japanese characters properly

OK, now you've got Japanese input installed (hopefully). But for me, I really couldn't cope with the horrible fonts that defaulted. Here's the next step.

Now that you have the Japanese repositories set up (see above), you'll want to get a nice set of fonts.

Downloading Repository Fonts

sudo apt-get install msttcorefonts ttf-dejavu ipafont ipamonafont ttf-arphic-ukai ttf-arphic-uming
This will install the Microsoft (Freeware) core fonts and a number of other useful fonts, specifically ones that support Japanese unicode characters.

Downloading External Fonts

Unfortunately, I am very disappointed in the Ubuntu selection and you will almost certainly want this to be changed to MSGothic and MSMincho. These are Microsoft fonts, but they are freely available to use and are actually from a company called Ricoh. They need to be downloaded and installed manually. They can be found at the following page.

So download and extract the files and you need to copy them into the fonts directory. This will need root privileges and is probably easiest done using the file explorer:

gksudo nautilus --browser
That will give you a browser with the right privileges. So copy your downloaded ttf files and paste them into a folder under the fonts tree. I recommend:

Rebuilding the font cache

Now we need to rebuild the fonts cache:

sudo fc-cache -f -v
Setting up the font order

OK, so that might well be enough, but I think you'll probably still have your Japanese fonts not running at optimum and the default might be a little ugly. Lets set up the order in which we like the fonts to be selected. Open the “.fonts.conf” file in your home directory:

gksudo gedit ~/.fonts.conf
It should read as follows:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
 <family>Times New Roman</family>
 <family>MS 明朝</family>
 <family>Sazanami Mincho</family>
 <family>Kochi Mincho</family>
 <family>DejaVu Serif</family>
 <family>Bitstream Vera Serif</family>
 <family>Thorndale AMT</family>
 <family>Luxi Serif</family>
 <family>Nimbus Roman No9 L</family>
 <family>Frank Ruehl</family>
 <family>MgOpen Canonica</family>
 <family>AR PL SungtiL GB</family>
 <family>AR PL Mingti2L Big5</family>
 <family>Baekmuk Batang</family>
 <family>MS ゴシック</family>
 <family>Sazanami Gothic</family>
 <family>Kochi Gothic</family>
 <family>DejaVu Sans</family>
 <family>Bitstream Vera Sans</family>
 <family>Albany AMT</family>
 <family>Luxi Sans</family>
 <family>Nimbus Sans L</family>
 <family>MgOpen Moderna</family>
 <family>AR PL KaitiM GB</family>
 <family>AR PL KaitiM Big5</family>
 <family>Baekmuk Dotum</family>
 <family>Courier New</family>
 <family>MS ゴシック</family>
 <family>Sazanami Gothic</family>
 <family>Kochi Gothic</family>
 <family>DejaVu Sans Mono</family>
 <family>Bitstream Vera Sans Mono</family>
 <family>Andale Mono</family>
 <family>Cumberland AMT</family>
 <family>Luxi Mono</family>
 <family>Nimbus Mono L</family>
 <family>Miriam Mono</family>
 <family>AR PL KaitiM GB</family>
 <family>Baekmuk Dotum</family>
 <match target="font" >
 <edit mode="assign" name="embeddedbitmap" >
 <match target="font" >
 <edit mode="assign" name="autohint" >
So, save the file and reboot xwindows (CTLR+ALT+Backspace). Now with any luck the order of fonts should have been updated so that the default Japanese type face is actually a clean one first and foremost instead of the ugly first serving. Also it disables the built in bitmap font which can really make kanji's look odd next to anti aliased hiragana etc. For most people this setting will be fine. If you're not happy, by all means leave out the embeddedbitmap setting.