Debian Japanese Input support by IBus-Mozc and fonts. (2nd.)

This stage is for non-English speakers, especially Japanese.

STATUS: Frozen (2019-11-17)

No more updates for this guide.

Please refer to the TOC page.

Rev 2

Minor tweaks.

Unicode Fonts

For better Unicode (especially Japanese) font display,

  1. GNU unifont : basic unicode supports.
  2. Google Noto : complete unicode supports.
  3. IPA font (Japanese) : some formal Japanese font face.

these three are crucial.

root# apt install ttf-unifont fonts-{ipafont,noto}

Set Firefox font settings with Google Noto.

  • Launch Mozilla Firefox ESR
    • General -> Language and Appearance -> Font & Colors
    • Advanced -> Fonts for "Japanese"
      • Serif/Sans-serif: "Noto Sans CJK JP"
      • Monospace: "Noto Sans Mono CJK JP"

This is beautiful, and covers all Unicode characters.

Input Method Editor

In short, let us use IBus + Google Mozc.


There are many Japanese Input Method Editors and related technologies, such as Wnn, canna, Anthy, SKK, kinput, uim, etc.

tier1.jp does not recommend those.

Google Mozc is an open source edition of Google Japanese Input which is installed in many Android devices.

We just cannot find any reason not to choose Mozc (in 2019).


This guide assumes GNOME only.

Basically we only use English (locale C) on CLI terminals.

That is one of the reasons why tier1.jp is written in English.

Install IBus-Mozc

Install the packages.

root# apt install ibus-mozc

Debian 9.11 does not need per-user-commands any more.

Setup IBus-Mozc for GNOME

Launch GNOME setting window.

  1. Region & Language -> Input Sources
  2. Select "Japanese" and "Japanese (Mozc)"
    • "Japanese" simply means a support of Japanese Keyboard.
    • "Japanese (Mozc)" enables us to input Japanese text.

How to use

After those setups, you can see the top-right Input-Method widget.

  • "ja" is just a Japanese Keyboard layout support.
  • "A" and/or "あ" means Mozc is ready.
  • To switch those, hit SUPER-SPACE.


SUPER key almost means Windows key, unless you change it with Tweak Tool, etc.

Now you can switch input mode by 半角/全角 (Hankaku/Zenkaku) key.

If you do not have jp layout keyboard, use GNOME settings and/or Tweak tools to setup an alternative key.


"Japanese" mode is useful when you do not want to type Japanese.

such as vim, which confuses us around normal-insert mode transitions.

Great thanks for Google and IPA.

published: MODIFIED: