4 Best Japanese Keyboards for Android to Raise Your Kana and Emoji Game
Having a good Japanese keyboard is important if you’re learning the language.
Luckily, there are a ton of awesome and useful Japanese keyboards for Android that you can download to effectively communicate in Japanese with just a tap (or two) of your fingers.
Below, we’ve featured the best Japanese keyboards Android has to offer and took the guesswork out of finding the perfect one for you.
- 1. Japanese Keyboard by Desh Keyboards
- 2. Simeji Japanese Keyboard + Emoji
- 3. Gboard—the Google Keyboard
- 4. Microsoft SwiftKey AI Keyboard
- Why Install a Japanese Keyboard on Your Android Device?
1. Japanese Keyboard by Desh Keyboards
Price: Free (with in-app purchases)
This keyboard is ideal for beginners and intermediate learners who prefer to use English or are comfortable enough with romaji to use a romaji-to-Japanese keyboard.
It can be a time saver compared to other keyboards that are kana based, especially if you haven’t gotten that far in your kana studies yet.
Using the app is easy: just type in English and the text gets translated in real time to Japanese.
2. Simeji Japanese Keyboard + Emoji
Price: Free (with in-app purchases)
Looking for a keyboard that’s loaded with features? Simeji Japanese Keyboard + Emoji has a ton of bells and whistles that go above and beyond basic Japanese input.
With Simeji Japanese Keyboard + Emoji, you can create a custom keyboard background or choose from tons of different themes. You can also instantly access lots of kaomoji and emoji to add some personality to your chats. (For those who don’t know, kaomoji are Japanese emoticons made from Japanese keyboard punctuation and kana.)
Want to take it up a notch? This app’s sticker function has a ton of super cute stickers and GIFs to send to your friends.
If you’re more concerned about communication quality than aesthetics, no worries! This keyboard has over two million Japanese phrases and words in its cloud-based dictionary.
Other features include a wide range of slang words registered, tons of preset phrases for quickly responding to friends on the go and super user-friendly input. Literally any level of learner can benefit from using this keyboard!
3. Gboard—the Google Keyboard
If you’re searching for a keyboard that isn’t likely to have compatibility issues with Android, Gboard might fit the bill since Google is the primary developer of both.
Gboard mainly focuses on helping you type as quickly as possible. You can glide type (change letters by sliding between them), dictate words while your hands are occupied and even write by hand if that’s the most comfortable form of input for you (although this method works best when you’ve got Japanese stroke order rules down pat).
All of these features are available on Wear OS devices as well, allowing you to get those steps in and practice your Japanese at the same time!
4. Microsoft SwiftKey AI Keyboard
In case you’re wondering what exactly an “AI keyboard” like SwiftKey does, it’s the sort of keyboard that learns your writing style. That means it can predict what and how you’ll write in the future, saving you time when you have to send out the same messages over and over again!
Moreover, SwiftKey gives you two different layout options: hiragana and romaji. There’s also a candidate bar and extended candidate menu, both of which give you suggestions for commonly used phrases like おはよう(hello), ありがとうございます (formal “thank you” in Japanese), はい and いや (“yes” and “no,” respectively).
Finally, SwiftKey allows you to activate up to five languages at once, making it perfect for multilanguage learners!
If SwiftKey sounds like the keyboard for you, here’s a great article on how to set it up.
Why Install a Japanese Keyboard on Your Android Device?
You could easily use the standard Japanese keyboard input that comes with most Android devices. So why bother looking into other keyboards?
- You can access more than just kana. The basic Android keyboard is pretty cut-and-dry and used solely to type in Japanese. On the other hand, many downloadable Japanese keyboards for Android devices let you access common Western emojis as well as Japanese ones. If you want to make friends via Japanese social media, these added emojis lend a little more personality to your messages!
- The built-in Japanese keyboard for Android devices is pretty bland. Most of the keyboards we’ve covered are visually customizable. That means you can easily grab eye-catching themes that showcase your personality with the tap of a button.
- Downloadable keyboards come with other cool and useful features. In addition to being able to type in Japanese, many of these fancier keyboards allow voice-to-text recognition, live translations and more.
Did you find at least a couple of these stellar Japanese keyboards appealing? The basic Japanese keyboard for Android devices may be good enough for some, but it really feels nice to have a keyboard with more than just the basic functions.
Plus, your phone is an awesome way to learn! Aside from the abovementioned keyboards, I recommend loading your phone up with apps so you can study some Japanese on your downtime throughout the day.
For example, you have Duolingo, where you can practice Japanese vocabulary in the form of games. There’s also FluentU.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
The videos on the FluentU platform are paired with aids like interactive subtitles, multimedia flashcards and custom quizzes.
Now you can use your device to learn Japanese anywhere!
And One More Thing...
If you love learning Japanese with authentic materials, then I should also tell you more about FluentU.
FluentU naturally and gradually eases you into learning Japanese language and culture. You'll learn real Japanese as it's spoken in real life.
FluentU has a broad range of contemporary videos as you'll see below:
FluentU makes these native Japanese videos approachable through interactive transcripts. Tap on any word to look it up instantly.
All definitions have multiple examples, and they're written for Japanese learners like you. Tap to add words you'd like to review to a vocab list.
And FluentU has a learn mode which turns every video into a language learning lesson. You can always swipe left or right to see more examples.
The best part? FluentU keeps track of your vocabulary, and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You'll have a 100% personalized experience.
Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)