Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Monday, July 15, 2019 at 10:28

(Debian with Mozc active and typing 'konnichiwa!')

Debian 10 GNOME Edition includes Mozc and Fcitx by default. This means you can easily type in Japanese chars (Kanji, Hiragana, Katakana) by utilizing the system tray. This allows you to switch by click between Japanese and Latin (English-US) chars anytime you wish. How to configure them on Debian 10? Here's my setup for English readers. Enjoy!

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On Debian 10: Download Links | Install Guide
On Mozc: Kubuntu+Mozc | Ubuntu MATE+Mozc

About Mozc and Fcitx

Mozc is a tool (called an engine) to process Japanese chars to type on computing. Fcitx is a more generic tool to handle all kind of language chars with any type of engine (Japanese/Mozc is a piece among many of them) on GNU/Linux desktop. Mozc does the actual job, while Fcitx presents it to us in very friendly way. By combining Mozc and Fcitx, a computer user may type everything Japanese everywhere very easily and helped by automatic char suggestions. Mozc and Fcitx are both free software and available on all GNU/Linux distros including Debian. Visit Mozc website here and Fcitx's here.

1. GNOME Extension: Tray Icons

Without tray, we will not see Fcitx, and unfortunately GNOME version 3.30 removed that feature since long ago. To have tray feature once again, install Tray Icons extension from EGO website. Later, we will see Fcitx running as a keyboard icon on the top panel.

(That keyboard icon is Fcitx)

2. Install Required Program

We still need to install fcitx-mozc on Debian 10 GNOME Edition:
$ sudo apt-get install fcitx-mozc 

(Installation of fcitx-mozc package on Debian Buster)

3. IM Setup

Debian is an advanced operating system. It is rich with multiple input methods, one among many installed is Fcitx. We need to make sure the input method selected is Fcitx.
  • Go to start menu.
  • Find IM Setup.
  • First page: OK
  • Second page: YES
  • Third page: fcitx
  • Fourth page: OK

(im-config dialog, to switch Debian system to use Fcitx instead of others)

4. Fcitx Setup

Next one, we need to setup Fcitx to appear properly on screen:
  • Go to start menu.
  • Find Fcitx Configuration (with penguin logo).
  • Open the Appearance tab.
  • Font size: 10
  • Use System Tray Icon: give check mark
  • Vertical Candidate Word List: give check mark
  • Close the dialog.

(Fcitx configuration dialog)

5. Mozc Setup

Now we need to setup Mozc engine behaviors:
  • Go to start menu
  • Find Mozc Setup (orange circle logo with「あ」character)
  • Input mode: Romaji
  • Space input style: Follow input mode
  • Keymap style: ATOK
  • OK

(Mozc setup)

6. Utilize the tray

Right-click Fcitx > Input Method > you should find at least English (US) and Mozc here > select Mozc > keyboard icon turns into orange circle「あ」> typing in Japanese is ready. This is how to switch between Latin and Japanese writing later.

If you wish to change between Hiragana and Katakana, when Mozc is selected, go to Composition Mode > select Hiragana or select Katakana > your keyboard is now ready to type as your selection.

(Composition mode is the switcher between Hiragana and Katakana)

7. Practice

Open your terminal and try to type literally 'konnichiha' then Mozc behind the scene will turn it instantly to 'こんにちは' (pronounced konnichiwa). Now go to LibreOffice and start writing Japanese document you wish. Enjoy!

(Top panel: Mozc's orange logo is active means Japanese typing is ready; Terminal: typing 「こんにちは」very easily)



This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.