Introduction: Can't Type English Correctly, on a Japanese Keyboard, With English Windows!

About: Hi there! After living in Japan for 25 years, I've picked up a few useful PC survival tricks. Given the time it took me to learn, I thought I'd post some of them so that they may help others avoid similar prob…

So you want to type English, on a Japanese keyboard, with English Windows.

Why would you want to do that?... Easy!
If you live or work in Japan, you have little easy choice but to buy a Japanese keyboard.

You would think it would be easy just to add a Japanese keyboard template to your English Windows... Wrong!!

All versions of Windows from 95 to 8 have had the same fundamental problem that Microsoft has NEVER corrected.

Windows always installs a Japanese 101 key keyboard template when Japanese language is added to English Windows. This means many of the keys on your keyboard come out wrong, or not at all!

Actually, what most people need is a 106 key standard Hiragana keyboard template. The kind you would be in any store in Japan. Luckily, Microsoft has supplied the template with Windows but it's buried.

Actually changing the keyboard template is a very easy Registry tweak. I use a reg file rather than hunting through the Registry but doing it manually only takes a few minutes.

So... let's get your keyboards working properly.

Special Advantage: There is one very big special advantage in this simple technique... You DON'T need to install Japanese as an additional language at all!! You are simply using the Japanese keyboard layout only, nothing more. So, you can have a 100% English system but with a Japanese keyboard! Cool.

Step 1: Identifing Your Windows Input Language

There are many language versions of Windows.

Before you can start, you need to identify the default language version you have installed. For me that's English (US).

Each language is identified by a language code. In order to change the keyboard layout, you need to know the language code so you can find it in Windows Registry.

English (US) = 409

English (UK) = 809

Japanese = 411

To find you installed language, go to:
Control Panel>Region and Language>Keyboards and Languages (tab)>Change keyboard (button)

Here you will find you default language. It's the one listed first, at the top.
Again... For me that's English (US). The keyboard type is not important.

Once you know the language, you can find your language code on this website:

Step 2: Digging in Windows Registry

Warning: Be very careful here and follow the instructions exactly.
I've never had a problem but messing with Windows Registry can be disastrous, if you are slap-dash!

  • Open the Registry:
    Start Button>Run >type "regedit.exe" & OK
  • Scroll right to the top and close any branches, if open.
  • Navigate to the following:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layouts\
  • Depending on your language, scroll down until you find your language code.
    English (US) = 00000409
  • Click on the language folder.
    In the right window, double click on "Layout File".
    This will open a option to change window.
    VERY CAREFULLY!!... Clear and change the "Value Data" to... "KBD106.DLL"
    Click OK, Close the Registry, Reboot Windows!

You should now have a Japanese 106 keyboard layout that you can type English correctly.

I have used this technique since Windows 95 without problem... Enjoy!

Warning: Use this tweak at your own risk!!!!!

Step 3: Make a Automatic Reg (batch) File

Additional reg Information:

If you install Windows often or just want to play, you can create a reg (batch) file.

Do all the same as you did in the last step.

After rebooting Windows, open the Registry again, and go to the same folder as before.

Right click on the folder.
You will see the option to Export.
Simply, type a suitable filename, and find a nice location to save it... and save it.

Next time, after you install Windows, simply double click the reg file in Windows Explorer, confirm that you want to change the Registry and bang!... after rebooting, you are finished with English on a Japanese keyboard.
No need to hunt in the Registry manually.