Displaying Japanese on the WWW

This document describes a number of solutions for viewing Japanese text on the World-Wide Web. Please notify me of errors or possible additions. Information about Japanese text transmission is also available.


There is one platform-independent solution (that is, a solution which works for any browser on any computer system). It is independent of platform because processing is done on the server side: you don't have to do anything.

Shodouka, a recent and ongoing project by Ka-Ping Yee, is a mediator for WWW documents which renders Japanese text as inlined GIF images. Please note that this is not intended to be a substitute for a Japanese operating system. Its objective is to make Japanese easily accessible by filling the gap until internationalized browsers become more widespread. Nonetheless, it seems to be working well for many people.

Shodouka won the first ACM Student Webbie Prize! Thanks to everyone who voted!

Microsoft Windows

Current versions of Mosaic and Netscape for Windows will display Japanese if you have a Japanese operating system or extension installed. Popular Japanese extensions include DOS/V, Windows-J, Win/V, and Twinbridge. A demo version of Twinbridge and a summary of its capabilities can be obtained by ftp.


To display Japanese on a Macintosh you must first install a Japanese extension such as KanjiTalk or system software like the Japanese Language Kit.

When your Macintosh supports Japanese, both NCSA Mosaic 200b12 and MacWeb can be set up to display Japanese characters. For information in Japanese, look at Hayato Yamana's document on Macintosh WWW clients.

Netscape 1.1b2 for the Macintosh also supports Japanese display. For more details, have a look at Katsuhiko Momoi's document on Netscape for Macintosh, or the release notes for Netscape 1.1 for Macintosh.


There are many possible solutions for X-Windows. All of the following require that you install Japanese fonts.


MULE, the MULtilingual Enhancement to GNU Emacs, enables the Emacs WWW client to display character sets for multiple languages simultaneously, and can handle Danish, Esperanto, Finnish, French, German, Icelandic, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Russian, Macedonian, Serbian, Byelorussian, Ukrainian, Greek, Hebrew, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese.

Multi-Localization Enhancement of NCSA Mosaic for X

Takada Toshihiro has created an enhancement which allows NCSA Mosaic for X version 2.4 to use many national character sets, including Czech, Cyrillic, Greek, Hebrew, Turkish, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. You can select one of these character sets to use at a time. Documentation for the multi-localization enhancement can be found at NTT's site in Japan.


If you have compiled Tcl/Tk with Japanization patches, you can view Japanese on the WWW using the tkWWW browser/editor. Find the configuration file (either .tkwww-config or .tkWWW-config) and add these two lines:

kanji internalCode EUC
kanji defaultInputCode EUC
Because of an unfortunate conflict between special characters in HTML and ISO-2022-JP encoded text, you'll also need Takada Toshihiro's ISO-2022-JP patch for the CERN WWWLibrary.

Lynx 2-5FM

This new version of the reigning text-mode browser can recognize and convert all three of the popular Japanese encodings (ISO-2022-JP, EUC-JP, and Shift-JIS). You will be able to see the Japanese if you are using a Japanese terminal or a Japanese terminal emulator like kterm.

WWW Line Mode Browser

You can also view Japanese by running a character-based browser like the Line Mode Browser in a terminal that displays Japanese, such as kterm.

copyright © by Ping (e-mail) updated Sat 25 May 1996 at 20:31 JST
since Fri 3 May 1996