by

I’m guessing a lot of you know how to type in Japanese (hint: you don’t need a Japanese keyboard), but did you know about all the “hidden” special characters you can type out while you’re in Japanese input mode? You aren’t only limited to hiragana, katakana, romaji, and kanji. There are a score of other weird characters you can use to make your text a lot more interesting, you know? Here’s a lot of them (mostly the good ones) with an explanation of what they are and how to get them to show up!

Typing Musical Notes and Notation in Japanese

One of the things you’ll see quite often when reading Japanese blogs / text messages is various music-related symbols. There are a bunch of them, but they can all be called by the same word. It’s just like when you type in a Japanese word and hit space to see what kanji you can choose from, except this time you type in a Japanese word to show a list of possible symbols you can use.

So, as long as you know the word you can get the symbols for it! Let’s start with おんぷ (above). If you don’t know how to read hiragana, perhaps it’s time to learn how to read hiragana?

Notes: おんぷ

By typing in おんぷ, you get access to all kinds of musical notes.

♩ ♫ ♪ ♬

Beyond musical notes, though, you can type other music related things.

Sharp: しゃーぷ

Flat: ふらっと

If you read these out, you’ll notice that they’re just readings of the words “sharp” and “flat.” If you hit space after typing しゃーぷ or ふらっと, you’ll get yourself the following sharp / flat symbols.

♯ ♭

If you want to “jazz up” (har dee har har) your text, you can use some of these musical notations. Yee Haw! ♬

Typing Shapes In Japanese

If you can type musical notes, you should be able to type simple shapes, too, right? To type shapes in Japanese, you pretty much only have to know the word for the shape, hit space a few times after you type it in, and find the shape and type of shape you want.

Squares: しかく

□ ■ ◇ ◆

Triangles: さんかく

△ ▲ ▽ ▼  ▶ ◁ ◀

Circles: まる

○ ● ◎ ◉ ◯

Stars: ほし

☆ ★ ※ *

Arrows: やじるし

→ ← ↑ ↓ ⇄ ⇅ ⇔ ⇦ ⇧ ⇨ ⇩ ☜ ☝ ☞ ☟

Hearts: はーと

♡ ♥

These shapes are pretty simple. If you want to get a little more complicated, there are even more options in the “symbols” category.

Typing “Symbols”

This is where things start getting interesting, I think (and possibly a lot less useful). These symbols include playing card symbols and more.

Playing Card Symbols: とらんぷ

とらんぷ (or trump) are what playing cards are called. When you type this in, you get the clubs, diamonds, spades, and hearts symbols.

♠ ♣ ♥ ♦ ♡ ♢ ♧ ♤

Beyond trump cards, there are a number of other symbols as well, typed in a couple of different ways.

Emoji: えもじ

☎ ♨ 〄 〠

〠 is a variant postal mark

〄 shows that a product complies with the Japanese industrial standard

♨ looks like a cup of java but actually has to do with hot springs (which Japan has a lot of)

☎ is a telephone symbol. You might see this next to a telephone number.

Postal: ゆうびん

〒 〠

You might see these symbols on letters or on a Japanese address (especially the first one).

Other Characters?

There are a few more things you can type in using Japanese input, but nothing all that interesting. The ones I’ve written about above are the best and most useful (unless you’re typing out a lot of math, or something). If you are interested in the other ones, check out the Wikipedia article or this article.

Now, I fully expect all your Tofugu comments to be full of musical notes and onsen symbols. Have at it!

P.S. Interested in business? Check out my business blog.

P.P.S. If you can type 140 special characters in Japanese, you should follow Tofugu on Twitter.

  • SarahXin

    へー…正しいひらがないつも忘れます。★♡♬ありがとう!〠☎☆

    also have you noticed the ipod/iphone's japanese input feature that automatically makes acsii emoji things? I think it might be new with iOS4. switch to japanese input, then hit the “123” button in the bottom-left corner, then hit the “^_^” button next to the exclamation mark. it's pretty awesome.

  • blueshoe

    Nice post. I knew about some of these symbols, but didn't realize there were so many.

  • http://gakuranman.com Gakuranman

    Here's a couple you missed (but excellent article!)

    きごう brings up pretty much everything in a long list: ゜´〇ж – useful for making emoji!
    And こめ brings up this interesting little symbol used a lot in Japanese: ※

  • http://okdubu.tumblr.com okdubu

    weird, only a handful of these work for me, and i only get this music note: ♪ o_O

  • http://www.facebook.com/VocaloidLen Ignatius Mortimer Meen

    http://www.Sometimes you need to install special dictionaries for these.  Try going into your IMEwww. Setting and adding the “Symbol Dictionary”. It worked for me…

  • porkchops

    I can only get one of the onpu: ♪
    Anything I need to do? :(

  • porkchops

    oh, nvm.

  • ねこみみーチャン

    こいちーさん、ありがとう!あたし の かな わ まだまだ じょうず けれど、 これ すき!★☆◆※♪♪○●♪★☆※♪●♡♥

  • http://www.rukinet.com/ Rukishou

    I actually just learned how to do this about a week ago (I have always known it is possible, just not how), but you should know – and let your readers know – that the most desirable ones (such as the heart) is not usable with Microsoft IME, the most common (I think) IME used on non-Mac computers. At least not without some sort of add-on which I have no idea where to get or how to install. ねえ☆

  • http://okdubu.tumblr.com okdubu

    sorry i couldn't seem to the find the settings you're talking about?

  • diego

    some of them, including the heart doesn't come up on Ubuntu, with Anthy, does anybody kno how to make them work?

  • Toothpaste

    ★★★★★★★★★★★★★★
    I thoroughly enjoyed this post.

  • http://twitter.com/gruikya Philippe Plantier

    Looks like you forgot ゆきだるま!

  • http://www.blueterritory.com Arisa

    Nice! Though with typing onpu I only manage to get ♪ and はーと doesn't give me any heart symbols :( えもじ also pulls a blank… That's like total fail… ☆★※ at least something works XD ♯ ♭ More stuff that works :)
    I just wonder about the stuff that doesn't work though… let me try again. ♬ ❦ YAY it works now.
    As mentioned below, it's in the IME settings! It's the symbols dictionary you need to add. Learning while commenting is fun! Thanks for the great post!

  • Guest♪

    すごい~♪ ありがとう♥ 今から女っぽい日本語書かないように気をつけます★ (Is it my pc but when I use chrome I can only see 3/4 of the post as window)

  • http://www.blueterritory.com Arisa

    If you go to your keyboard settings (where you added Japanese IME) then selecting the IME input and going into properties. Then go to dictionary/auto-tuning and from the list of system dictionaries select the symbol dictionary. (for me it was all the way at the bottom)
    Hope that helps! If you have a question about this, then let me know what you're working with so maybe I can help.

  • Guest♪

    Always wanted to know a shortcut for ※!Thanks

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    haha, whoa, that's awesome! ☃☃☃☃☃☃☃

  • Postingcommentsoniphoneisapain

    I've the same problem on a windows pc

  • http://okdubu.tumblr.com okdubu

    thank you yep it helped! arigatou. ♪♬♫

  • http://www.blueterritory.com Arisa

    I'm also on a windows pc. Here's what I wrote to someone who commented above.

    If you go to your keyboard settings (where you added Japanese IME) then selecting the IME input and going into properties. Then go to dictionary/auto-tuning and from the list of system dictionaries select the symbol dictionary. (for me it was all the way at the bottom)
    Hope that helps! If you have a question about this, then let me know what you're working with so maybe I can help.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christian-Padron/593517052 Christian Padron

    Oh my gosh, thanks a lot Koichi! Now I don't have to copy paste it from an outer source, and just use my MS IME to do its thing :]

  • http://twitter.com/lloydantony Antony Crisp

    ♬♡〠☜☝☞☟ ▶◁◀
    cool stuff. However, how do I do a katakana middle dot (中黒)? I've never been able to work that out, and google hasn't helped me either :(

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    You just type in a ” / ” and hit space a few times. ・ ・

  • Pingback: Setting Up Japanese Text on Your Computer « Mikoto's Adventures in Japanese()

  • Nina

    Yay thanks for the info! I didn't know about this…I was just copying and pasting symbols (^O^)

  • http://www.yonasu.com yonasu

    Awesome! Thanks a lot for letting me know about this! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/jimmy.leng Jimmy Leng

    Popchar is king!!

    ℃℉ℓ№℡™Å†‡‥‰※←↑→↓⇄⇅⇆⇒⇔⇦⇧⇨⇩∀∃∇∈∋
    −√∝∞∟∠∥∧∨∩∪∫∬∮∴∵∽≒≠≡≦≧≪≫⊂⊃⊆⊇⊥⊿⋯
    ①②③④⑤⑥⑦⑧⑩⑪⑫⑬⑭⑮⑯⑰⑱⑲⑳❶❷❸❹❺❻❼❽❾
    ─━│┃┌┏┐┓└┗┘┛├┝┠┣┤┥┨┫┬┯┰┴┷┸┻┼┿╂╋
    ■□▲△▼▽◆◇○◎●◯
    ★☆☎☜☝☞☟♀♂♠♡♢♣♤♥♦♧♪♭♯
    〃〄々〆〇〈〉《》「」『』【】〒〓〔〕〜〝〟〠︵︶︷︸︹︺︻︼︽︾︿﹀﹁﹂﹃﹄
    ㈪㈫㈬㈭㈮㈯㈰㈱㈲㈳㈴㈵㈶㈷㈸㈹㈺㈻㈼㈾㈿㉀㉂㉃㊖㊘㊙㊝㊞㊤㊥㊦㊧㊨㊩
    ㌀㌃㌅㌍㌔㌕㌖㌘㌞㌢㌣㌦㌧㌪㌫㌱㌳㌶㌹㌻㍂㍇㍉㍊㍍㍎㍑㍗㍻㍼㍽㍾㍿

  • Yushlolz

    My computer won't let me type everything. I only get ♪ when I type in “おんぷ”
    And, nothing shows up for an option when I type in “はーと、えもじor とらんぷ”
    Anything I can do to fix this?

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    check out the other comments – there's some extra things you have to do with
    windows computers to get these all to work!

  • Pingback: Работа с японским IME в Windows()

  • http://www.facebook.com/moomooame Amy Chen

    ありがとう! ♪ I've also been looking for another place to download emotes… I have it in this old computer right now, but since I downloaded it years back via mediafire, I have no record. As far as I can tell, I can view a huge chart of examples under Microsoft IME Dictionary Tool.
    Examples of which:
    きゃ = ヽ(・∀・ )ノ キャッ キャッ or ヾ(*´∀`*)ノキャッキャ  
    あせ = (;・∀・)  or (;^ω^) or (;´Д`) 
    なんだとう = (@益@ .:;)ナンダト 
    おちゃ = (・∀・)つ目 オチャノメ! or ドウモ( ・∀・)っ旦 
    いえーい = v( ̄Д ̄)v イエーイ 
    きらり = ( ̄ー+ ̄)キラリ

  • http://www.loveuggboots.co.uk classic tall boots

    good article ,thanks for share

  • http://scalesoflibra.wordpress.com/ elisabel

    That's so useful! I've been doing control+option+8 to make ・for years, but using / is so much easier!

    Though now I see that control+option+all the numbers save 9 and 0 make other stuff: √†£¢∞§¶. (But not as fun as ☃. ♡)

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/FNNO7VCMKIDS5OPDECIUFQNOYY Binai Shui

    If you open this web site, which would you think of the harvest, there are many necessities of our lives!
    (nike-alliance).(com)

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/LFR46LQC2E7T6BAUVAJH6MIMJI Sadasjh Kkjh

    I like this site very much

    ===== http://www.tnta.us ====

    jordan air max oakland raiders $34–39;

    Ed Hardy AF JUICY POLO Bikini $25;

    Christan Audigier BIKINI JACKET $25;

    gstar coogi evisu true jeans $35;

    coach chanel gucci LV handbags $36;

    coogi DG edhardy gucci t-shirts $18;

    CA edhardy vests.paul smith shoes $32;

    jordan dunk af1 max gucci shoes $37;

    EDhardy gucci ny New Era cap $16;

    coach okely Adidas CHANEL DG Sunglass $18;

    ===== http://www.tnta.us ====

  • http://twitter.com/littledebbie11 Deborah Austin

    Also, if you type きごう then a huuuuge list of symbols come up.
    Thank you! I knew that you could type in things like ほし & きごう and such, but I always wondered if there were other ones! OMG!!! This is so awesome! ♬ Yes, on Windows it has some enabled, but if you right-click the language bar> settings > click on IME Standard > properties > enable Symbol, & Character dictionary then you have more symbols. ♡ Ahhhh!!! Finally!!! I've been pasting in the heart for like 2 years!!! This is the best!

    Also, if anyone is using the Simeji IME input on Android phones, it also works on there, and clicking the simeji icon to connect to the social IME gives a TOOONN of results for stuff like '絵文字', 'はーと' etc.

  • Pingback: Of cultural barriers and such « Lorem ipsum()

  • every

    Dear customers, thank you for your support of our company.
    Here, there's good news to tell you: The company recently
    launched a number of new fashion items! ! Fashionable
    and welcome everyone to come buy. If necessary, please
    input:

    http://www.newgoing.com/

    T-shirts (Polo ,ed hardy,lacoste) $14

    New era cap $10

    Air jordan(1-24)shoes $30

    Handbags(Coach,ed hardy,lv,d&g) $35

    Jean(True Religion,ed hardy,coogi) $35

    Sunglasses(Oakey,coach,gucci,Armaini)$14

    Bikini (Ed hardy,polo) $18

    http://www.newgoing.com
    fbgfb

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/LFR46LQC2E7T6BAUVAJH6MIMJI Sadasjh Kkjh

    Dear customers, thank you for your support of our company.
    Here, there's good news to tell you: The company recently
    launched a number of new fashion items! ! Fashionable
    and welcome everyone to come buy. If necessary, please
    input:

    http://www.tnta.us/

    T-shirts (Polo ,ed hardy,lacoste) $14

    New era cap $10

    Air jordan(1-24)shoes $30

    Handbags(Coach,ed hardy,lv,d&g) $35

    Jean(True Religion,ed hardy,coogi) $35

    Sunglasses(Oakey,coach,gucci,Armaini)$14

    Bikini (Ed hardy,polo) $18

    http://www.tnta.us/
    asdasdasd

  • http://twitter.com/konikamano Lily G

    I really appreciate that you like Dubu. Just putting that out there.

  • http://okdubu.tumblr.com okdubu

    :D/ do you mean just the food dubu? or the dubu in my icon? if you have no idea what i'm** talking about ignore me lol

    (lol typo)

  • http://okdubu.tumblr.com okdubu

    oh ok i just clicked your icon you know shinee!!! :3

  • http://twitter.com/konikamano Lily G

    How can I NOT know SHINee?! I saw your tumblr, I see you know their new song… are you a noona or a dongsaeng (to Onew)?

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/LFR46LQC2E7T6BAUVAJH6MIMJI Sadasjh Kkjh

    Dear customers, thank you for your support of our company.
    Here, there's good news to tell you: The company recently
    launched a number of new fashion items! ! Fashionable
    and welcome everyone to come buy. If necessary, please
    input:

    http://www.tnta.us/

    T-shirts (Polo ,ed hardy,lacoste) $14

    New era cap $10

    Air jordan(1-24)shoes $30

    Handbags(Coach,ed hardy,lv,d&g) $35

    Jean(True Religion,ed hardy,coogi) $35

    Sunglasses(Oakey,coach,gucci,Armaini)$14

    Bikini (Ed hardy,polo) $18

    http://www.tnta.us/
    gbgfn

  • http://www.totalscreenrecorder.com Screen Recorder

    Online video chatting is gaining more and more popularity nowadays. This is because video chatting is more vivid and real compared with traditional text message chatting. During video chatting, people can see expressions, movements and hear people’s voices clearly as if they were talking face-to-face. However, a lot of people complain that text messages can be saved, but video chatting can not be saved completely except manually captured single pictures during the chatting from time to time. So one question begins to surface: is there a way that I can record a video chatting from beginning to end easily just with a webcam?
    http://www.totalscreenrecorder.com

  • Natsu-rain

    ありがとう★♬♡♪~~~

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/LFR46LQC2E7T6BAUVAJH6MIMJI Sadasjh Kkjh

    Dear customers, thank you for your support of our company.
    Here, there's good news to tell you: The company recently
    launched a number of new fashion items! ! Fashionable
    and welcome everyone to come buy. If necessary, please
    input:

    http://www.tnta.us/

    T-shirts (Polo ,ed hardy,lacoste) $14

    New era cap $10

    Air jordan(1-24)shoes $30

    Handbags(Coach,ed hardy,lv,d&g) $35

    Jean(True Religion,ed hardy,coogi) $35

    Sunglasses(Oakey,coach,gucci,Armaini)$14

    Bikini (Ed hardy,polo) $18

    http://www.tnta.us/
    asdazxc

  • HajimeCrea

    I found some more:
    Taiyou (たいよう)=☀
    Ame (あめ)=☂
    Neko (ねこ)=(=^・^=),(=^・・^=),=^_^=

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    nice, those are great! Thanks!

  • Bokusenou

    Just ゆき brings up ☃❆❅❄(AKA a snowman and three different snowflakes) as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/steffiloveeypaner Steffi Paner 夏美夏美由希子

    how can i download Japanese IME

  • http://www.blueterritory.com Arisa

    Please see this page for information: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/ie6/downloa

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/LFR46LQC2E7T6BAUVAJH6MIMJI Sadasjh Kkjh

    ===== http://www.AooMall.com ====

    jordan air max oakland raiders $34–39;

    Ed Hardy AF JUICY POLO Bikini $25;

    Christan Audigier BIKINI JACKET $25;

    gstar coogi evisu true jeans $35;

    coach chanel gucci LV handbags $36;

    coogi DG edhardy gucci t-shirts $18;

    CA edhardy vests.paul smith shoes $32;

    jordan dunk af1 max gucci shoes $37;

    EDhardy gucci ny New Era cap $16;

    coach okely Adidas CHANEL DG Sunglass $18;

    ===== http://www.AooMall.com ====

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_B3PEHME66J2PDL63G4OTO5FVJU Qiguai Ren

    maybe you can find answers here:

    http:rad.yahoo. http://www.bingshop.us
    50%off ca,ed hardy t-shirt$15 jeans,coach handbag$33,air max90,dunk,polo t-shirt$13,,lacoste t-shirt $13 air jordan for sale,$35,nfl nba jersy for sale

    puma gucci$35,nike jordans six ring,yeezy$%5!!

    new era caps$13 gucci handbags jeans,t-shirts sunglass,caps

    true religion jeans$35,ca,ed hardy jeans$35

    LV,CHANAL,HANDBAGS$35

    NIKE SHOX+AIR MAX+TL3+OZ+NZ ONLY $35

    UGG TIMBLAND+LACOSTE SHOES+ED HARDY SHOES$35

    DIESEL T-SHIRT,GSTAR T-SHIRT,CA T-SHIRT,50% OFF FOR SALE $15

    DIOR SUNGLASS,DG SUNGLASS$15

    our website: http://www.bingshop.us

  • Budonging

    ======== Website: Http: / / http://www.shoescloth.com =====

    Hello! Let’s dress it! Tell you a good place to shop
    Fashion, avant-garde, personality, sexy, mature and you go from here!

    Jordan shoes
    Brand Jersey
    Clothing and jeans
    Hats and scarves
    Bags and purses
    Brand belt
    Brand glasses
    Brand watches

    ======== Website: Http: / / http://www.shoescloth.com =====

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1371566147 Darrell Myers

    This is nice to know. But does anyone know ( on a Mac) how to type small hiragana and katana.
    Example あ「あああ」But the あ’s in the quotations would be slightly smaller. Any answers? Thanks.

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    Xa
    Xya

    Etc for the smalls!

  • Tarerarerukamo

    Don’t forget kao かお (*^^)v(*^_^*)(#^.^#) (ーー;) (^o^)丿

  • 無羅沙季

    ギリシア文字も入力可能!

    Α α あるふぁ
    Β β べーた
    Γ γ がんま
    Δ δ でるた


    等々

  • 無羅沙季

    … or just write 「なかぐろ」=「・」

  • (しめ)〆

    Oops, that was supposed to be a reply to Antony Crisp below. Sorry ’bout that.

  • Pingback: Typing Japanese Special Characters | JapanLike()

  • http://www.japaneselevelup.com Japanese Level Up

    But what about the ultra hidden characters?

  • Joe.

    Well, it didn’t show the picture. If you look on Google images, search this up:

    Wooden Samurai Sword At Gibralter

    It’s the 4th picture on the top row.

  • Joe.

    So, I got this new Samurai sword (So we think it’s Japanese symbols). And it has a PI looking symbol on the handle. (If you search it on Google Images, it’s the one with 3 swords on a rack, and it shows it closed, and than opened. Mine is the bottom one, the longest.) It has a little triangle opening at the top of every painted ‘PI’ looking symbol. Does anyone know what it means?..

    Picture of it:       Mine is the one on the bottom. But, notice how there are PI symbols. Anyone know? Thanks!

  • Lynx

    After
    accidentally finding out that I could get the star shape by typing
    “hoshi” I tried to do the same thing with “kokoro” and “ha-to” in hope
    that I could get the heart but they didn’t work. I have been scouring the internet for a long time looking for a tutorial for typing the heart shape but they all tell me the same thing I already know and not what I was looking for (the Alt + 3 on Numpad) it drove me nearly insane. I’m so happy I finally found this  T_____T omg thank you thank you thank you!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003222267343 Ju Freitas

    すごいね❤ありがとうございます~★

  • VastDragonden901

    きごう➗…a little tip,an American Wii/Wii U will bring up ALL symbols and special letters like this:€£.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bui.hanh.duyen Bui Hanh Duyen

    とてもいいポスト な!♪ ♡ 本当にありがとう❣ ( ̄▽ ̄)

  • ☆★dimple boy★☆

    CAN ANY ONE TRASLATE THIS STUFF FOR ME PLZ .I JUST GOT THESE DONE LOL.☆★♪plz help

  • mikuotakukpop

    (*≧m≦*) (>_oo人<)
    щ(ಠ益ಠщ) (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ щ(ಥДಥщ)
    o(≧o≦)o (⋋▂⋌) (◣_◢)

  • Jocelyn

    i need help on how to type the little Д!