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I find myself referring back to this reddit page to configure Japanese input on fresh elementary OS installations but it's closed and cannot be edited to include other language inputs:

https://www.reddit.com/r/elementaryos/comments/33cfha/multiple_inputs_under_freya_chinese_case_pinyin/

Is it possible to add this to a Wiki post? (with appropriate attribution to the OP on reddit)

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  • OP, you can post wiki answer (not a question).
    – png2378
    Jul 20 '16 at 14:24
  • This version consolidates the recommended changes to the reddit OP and offers commands for both Chinese and Japanese input systems. I find this to be a more convenient reference when setting up a new Freya or Loki system.
    – Tom Kelly
    Oct 25 '16 at 8:03
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To quote from the Reddit post:

The best working method is to use fcitx input method framework. The following description is suitable for many different languages, including chinese (pinyin, bopomofo aka zhuyin or chewing, etc.), japanese [anthy, mozc], etc.

Entering Commands

Time to open up your terminal: Ctrl+Alt+T

  1. Add fcitx repository
sudo apt-get install software-properties-common
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:fcitx-team/nightly
  1. Update your sources

sudo apt-get update

  1. Install fcitx & Language input

sudo apt-get install fcitx fcitx-config-gtk fcitx-table-all

Chinese: sudo apt-get install fcitx-sunpinyin fcitx-googlepinyin fcitx-module-cloudpinyin fcitx-chewing

Japanese: sudo apt-get install fcitx-anthy fcitx-mozc

  1. Install im-config

sudo apt-get install im-config

  1. Configure input method using im-config

im-config

Quick Reference

Commands for Japanese:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:fcitx-team/nightly
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install fcitx fcitx-config-gtk fcitx-table-all
sudo apt-get install fcitx-anthy fcitx-mozc
sudo apt-get install im-config
im-config

Commands for Chinese:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:fcitx-team/nightly
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install fcitx fcitx-config-gtk fcitx-table-all
sudo apt-get install fcitx-sunpinyin fcitx-googlepinyin fcitx-module-cloudpinyin fcitx-chewing
sudo apt-get install im-config
im-config

Interactive Session

  1. Select the correct input method

In the window that opened after you typed im-config, the second line shows which input method is currently in use on your system. If might be : ibus, scim, xim or whatever else. If it shows "missing, default, cjkv or auto" remember it and click "Ok".

  1. Update input method or not ?

-> If at step 6, the line Currently in use on your system was different from "missing, default, cjkv or auto", click yes and select fcitx input method in the window that will open then click on "Ok".

-> If at step 6, the line Currently in use on your system was "missing, default, cjkv or auto", click on "No".

  1. Last windows Click "Yes" ;-).

  2. Open "System Settings" -> "Language Settings" and click "complete installation". Change settings as you wish for date formats and so on then click "Set Language".

  3. Restart your computer.

Configuration

hell

You will see a new icon on the right up corner that allows you to choose your input.

To add wanted inputs :

  1. Click on Configure

  2. In the new window, click on the plus at the bottom left corner.

  3. Untick "Only show current Language"

  4. Search your favourite input method by name. For example : pinyin, chewing, anthy, mozc, etc.

  5. Select it and click Ok for add it

  6. Open any window, hit ctrl+space (default trigger) to switch language and enjoy !

  7. Other configuration options are available such as changing the Triggers, e.g. to switch between English and Japanese or between Hiragana (ひらがな) and Katakana (カタカナ).

Many options are available from the input switcher icon in the right top corner icon's menu.

As it took me a very long time to find this out, I wanted to share it with everyone.

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  • Is this up to date with the current releases of ElementaryOS?
    – ranu
    Aug 14 '20 at 21:28
  • I haven't tested it on Juno or Hera but it survived the jump from Freya to Loki no problem. I'm not actively using my personal laptop with Elementary OS installed on it so it hasn't been worth the rouble of a fresh install to upgrade it. Let me know if it works!
    – Tom Kelly
    Aug 17 '20 at 3:06

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