Japanese Input Method for Debian (IBus-Mozc)

STATUS: Frozen (2019-11-17)

No more updates for this guide.

Please refer to the TOC page.

In short, let us use IBus + Google Mozc.


More Debian Stretch 9.9 and buster feedbacks.


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

All we have to do is just install the package.

root# apt install ibus-mozc

Debian 9.9 and buster status

We no longer need to do some more settings.

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)" enable us to input Japanese text.

How to use

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

  • "ja" means "a Japanese Keyboard layout support", not Japanese input.
  • "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 could confuse us about normal-insert mode transitions.

Again, great thanks Google!

published: MODIFIED: