Multilingual support (East Asian)

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


Throughout Wikipedia, Chinese, Japanese and Korean characters are used in relevant articles. Many computers with English or other Western or Cyrillic operating systems will require some setup to be able to display the characters. The improper rendering of these (or other) characters is known (in Japanese) as mojibake.

Check for existing support

If you see boxes, question marks or meaningless letters mixing into the first part, you still do not have support for East Asian characters.


  1. This is Traditional Chinese text as it appears on Chinese websites and Wikipedia
  1. This is Simplified Chinese text as it appears on Chinese websites and Wikipedia


  1. This is Japanese text as it appears on Japanese websites and Wikipedia
    かつ、尊厳と権利と について平等である。


  1. This is Korean text as it appears on Korean websites and Wikipedia
    모든 인간은 태어날 때부터
    자유로우며 그 존엄과 권리에
    있어 동등하다. 인간은 천부적으로
    이성과 양심을 부여받았으며 서로
    형제애의 정신으로 행동하여야 한다.


Windows 3.1x, 95, 98, ME and NT

In order to display Asian characters on the browser, download and install the Microsoft Global Input Method Editors (IMEs) of the language(s) that you need. This is the system extension that provides the language support to your English Windows system when you are using Internet Explorer. Select the "with language pack" option if you do not have any related character set on your machine. The IMEs allow you to input CJK, while the language pack is the character set that you need to display the particular language. If you are an Office XP user, the Global IMEs will not work for you; you will need to install a new version of the IMEs for Office XP users.

Sometimes the system offers to download Asian fonts by default while viewing pages in those languages. [2] Otherwise, update your system manually with these language support packs.

Windows 2000

Instructions for Windows 2000

Windows XP and Server 2003

The Windows Installation CD-ROM is needed while installing support for East Asian languages.

Instructions for Windows XP and Server 2003

The CD-ROM may not be necessary for Windows XP MCE. (E-Machines seems to ship Asian fonts on the hard drive but not install them by default.) The above link mostly works for Windows XP MCE.

Windows Vista

Windows Vista supports East Asian characters.

Mac OS X

In older versions of OS X, such as 10.1 you had to install Languages Kits from Apple in order to read Chinese, Japanese or Korean on the Internet. The Language Kit for CJK contains WorldScript software known as scripts which support the encoding for the character set of a particular language. Each language needs a separate script. In more recent versions of OS X, it is included with all installations of OS X.

Once you have installed the Language Kit, just select the particular language character set that you need to see on the Internet page either from View > Encoding (for Microsoft IE) or View > Character set (for Netscape).

Font packages at


GNOME supports East Asian characters natively. You may need to install appropriate fonts.


KDE supports East Asian characters natively. You may need to install the following packages: Japanese: kde-i18n-ja

If this does not help, or works partially, but some characters are still missing, you may need to run qtconfig, and add a comprehensive unicode font to your chosen browser font's substitutions.

Debian GNU/Linux

In order to display Chinese, Japanese and/or Korean characters, you must install some font packages:

  • Traditional Chinese (Big5): ttf-arphic-bkai00mp
  • Simplified Chinese (GB): ttf-arphic-gbsn00lp
  • Korean: ttf-baekmuk
  • Japanese: ttf-kochi-mincho

There are some alternative packages for some languages, but the ones listed above do work. (After an X restart)

Fedora Linux

Install the appropriate ttfonts packages.

For Fedora Core 3, the packages are ttfonts-zh_TW (traditional Chinese), ttfonts-zh_CN (simplified Chinese), ttfonts-ja (Japanese) and ttfonts-ko (Korean). E.g. 'yum install ttfonts-ko'

For Fedora 7, as well as Fedora Core 4, 5 and 6, the packages are fonts-Japanese, fonts-Chinese, and fonts-Korean. The command to enable these fonts is

yum install fonts-japanese fonts-chinese fonts-korean

Gentoo Linux

Enabling the cjk (Chinese, Japanese, Korean) USE flag improves East Asian support in some packages, but is not essential.

Some useful font packages are (category media-fonts) cjkuni-fonts and arphicfonts (han), baekmuk-fonts (hangul) and kochi-substitute (hirigana/katakana).

e.g. for viewing Chinese text:

# emerge arphicfonts


FreeBSD system provides possibility to install CJK fonts using freebsd ports collection:

# cd /usr/ports/x11-fonts/cyberbit-ttfonts; make install clean
# cd /usr/ports/japanese/kochi-ttfonts; make install clean

or by installing precompiled packages:

# pkg_add -r ja-kochi-ttfonts


On NetBSD and other systems using pkgsrc, one can install CJK fonts with the following commands:

# cd /usr/pkgsrc/fonts/kochi-ttf && make install clean
# cd /usr/pkgsrc/fonts/cyberbit-ttf && make install clean

Slackware/Generic Linux Distro

Download the appropriate .ttf file (for example, kochi-gothic-subst.ttf) and copy it to /usr/lib/X11/fonts/TTF/ (you will need to be root). Then run (again, as root):

/usr/X11/bin/fc-cache /usr/lib/X11/fonts/TTF/

Restart X if it is in use, and the new font should be installed.

Unicode Fonts

Simplified & Traditional Chinese

List of free Simplified Chinese fonts List of free Traditional Chinese fonts

Google Pinyin for Windows


List of free Japanese fonts


List of free Korean fonts

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