How to Type Japanese on an iPhone

By Contributor

Updated May 11, 2020

Apple's iPhone 8 and onwards include support for multiple input languages, including the Japanese language's phonetic hiragana and katakana alphabet and its complex kanji. Before typing in Japanese, you must add the Japanese keyboard to your iPhone and select it as an input method when composing text. A separate Japanese dictionary is used, from which suggested characters are presented, similar to how English words are offered when you type in English.

Tap "Settings | General | Keyboard| Keyboards | Add New Keyboard" to bring up a list of available keyboard languages.

Settings icon on iPhone.
General tab in Settings on iPhone.
Keyboard tab under General Settings on iPhone.
Keyboard settings on iPhone.
Adding new keyboard on iPhone.

Select "Japanese" from the list.

Choosing Japanese as keyboard language on iPhone.

Touch "Romaji," which enables you to type phonetically.

Choosing Romaji Japanese keyboard language on iPhone.

Open any window in which you can input text, such as a text message. Touch and hold the "Next Keyboard" key, indicated by a globe icon, and tap the Japanese language when its name appears on the space bar.

Selecting keyboard language in text message on iPhone.

Begin typing the Japanese characters phonetically until suggestions appear at the top of the keyboard.

Japanese Romaji characters on iPhone.

Drag your finger across the suggestions to view all options and tap any suggestion to enter it in the text.


Information in this article applies to iPhone 5 and iOS 6. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.