Viewing and creating Japanese documents under GNU/Linux

Last modified 2014-Feb-07.

Creating Japanese documents

Viewing Japanese documents

With the correct fonts installed, a Japanese text file can be viewed with emacs (as long as the correct coding is specified, see How to create Japanese text file using emacs), or with a web browser. And a Japanese PostScript or PDF file can be viewed using evince, gv, xpdf, or the Acrobat Reader.

  1. Install the system-wide Japanese font packages

    In Fedora 19 the relevant packages are japanese-bitmap-fonts, vlgothic-fonts, and vlgothic-p-fonts. Once the bitmap font packages are installed, make sure they are in the X11 font path. List the contents of /etc/X11/fontpath.d (xset q will tell you if X knows about this font catalogue directory). There should be a japanese-bitmap entry (or "fonts-japanese" in earlier releases).
  2. Japanese PDF

    If you use evince or xpdf then it should work, using the system-wide Japanese fonts. If you want to use Adobe's acroread then it may require an extra step. For acroread 6,7,8 you just go to The Adobe font pack website, specify your platform and acroread version, and download the font pack file. Untar it and (as root) run the INSTALL command in the resultant JPNKIT directory. The default place to install the fonts, /usr/local/Adobe/Acrobat7.0/Resource/Font, is the correct one, assuming you have a generic installation of acroread.

Printing Japanese documents

Most printers outside Japan do not have Japanese fonts resident on them, so even if your computer has the Japanese fonts installed, they will not appear in printout. I use PostScript printers: when setting up the printer (using system-config-printer under Fedora) you should go to the "Driver Options" tab for the printer queue and under "Ghostscript pre-filtering" select "Embed ghostscript fonts only". This will cause Japanese fonts to be uploaded to the printer.

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