British + Japanese Key Caps for the Keychron K2

Hello all, I’ve come back to WaniKani after 2 years, I last used the service in August '21. My reason for “quitting” (although I’d rather call it an extended suspension) was university studies. Well, that’s over and done with, so I can go back to studying Japanese.

Anyway, preamble aside, I was wondering if anyone knows where I could get a set of Japanese Keycaps with British English layout for the KeyChron K2. I really like this keyboard and I’m too busy (or lazy maybe) to build my own.

I’ve looked around and most websites have the JIS layout, but it’s mostly incompatible with my ISO-UK layout.

If what I’m asking for is a unicorn, I get it, I’ll just learn the JIS keyboard layout like I did for ISO-UK, was just wondering if I could get some custom caps for my keyboard.

Sorry if this isn’t the right place for this, perhaps Reddit would have been better? Thought I’d try WaniKani first just in case.

Is there a particular reason you want to type with a Japanese layout? The vast majority of Japanese people just type in romaji with qwerty.

If it’s an aesthetic thing, I guess I can appreciate that.

Maybe I’m not enough of a keyboard nerd to understand the question.

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I actually want to avoid romaji all together, I’ve been using WaniKani using Flaming Durtles on my phone mostly, and using the Japanese keyboard, I just feel like avoiding Romanjify Japanese while harder now will help me in the future

Using the Japanese input method on a keyboard is also handy, again you can use romanji but I’m trying not to take the easy way out.

So it’s kind of like a personal challenge?

I’ve just never seen someone use kana input (I work in a Japanese company), but I suppose as a challenge it could be interesting.

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I have a Keychron K8 with JIS layout for kana typing. While I was waiting for it, I used this image as an aid for touch typing on my UK keyboard.


As you can see, there’s no button for ろ, so I just copy pasted that.

I think you would be able to just use a standard JIS keycap set and remap ろ on backslash. You’d probably want to keep the long shift and backspace and just switch back to GB for punctuation. (Assuming you’ve memorised it, since the JIS layout is really weird for that.)

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I was wondering the same thing. I have been working here since 2000 and I can probably count the number of times that I have seen a dedicated kana keyboard on one hand.

Maybe what is being looked for is a typical keyboard that one would get here in Japan. They do all have small kana characters as a secondary label on keys. Although I have very rarely ever seen anyone use it that way. I believe that I read a survey on that topic a couple of years ago and less than 10% of people type on a PC in kana. I have tried it out for fun once or twice.

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You may want to switch to Smoldering Durtles. Flaming Durtles is no longer maintained. It does still work but does not handel the kana only vocabulary well. Smoldering durtles is a fork and works great.

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For me it’s an aid for getting to into the right mindset. I don’t have space for a dedicated study area, but whipping out the JIS keyboard and using a dedicated browser with the UI set to Japanese has a similar psychological effect.

I initially got the idea from a Cure Dolly video, where she claims it helps you think in Japanese vowels and consonants. Bit of a dubious claim, I still see those f’s and t’s floating around in my head, but I was in the market for a spare keyboard at the time anyway.

In hindsight I would have just stuck to touch typing with my image aid.

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For the Kana mindset, for me it’s simply trying to fit Waapuro Romaji into 1 alphabet for ア row, 2 alphabets the remaining Kana, and 3 for digraphs. Just like Nihon-shiki Romaji.

Irregular or foreign combinations can usually be put to 2-3 alphabets as well, but require a little memorization.

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While I don’t know about the layout you want, I thought I should mention that majority of keycaps are compatible with keyboards as long as you don’t have some weird switch. I don’t have a keychron so I don’t know what switches you’re running, but I assume they’re the standard stuff.

Also you can absolutely build a keyboard within an hour or maximum 2 if you’re a complete beginner. It can take longer if you solder the PCB and such yourself, but I’d recommend going for a hotswap board, it’s mostly all done and all you’d need to do is put in switches and keycaps (and lube it if you want, but some are prelubed). It’s really not much effort, I’d recommend looking into it at least because you can get exactly what you want.

Also yeah reddit would have been better, like r/MechanicalKeyboards
They know a lot about layouts and especially JP caps.

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Oh wow really??? Cool thank you, will move over to that!

Ah I see, so while it could be remapped it’s futile really… Ok, I think I’ll just learn how to touch type.

Only reason I ask really is because I know the British-ISO layout is different from most, specific it’s got a thicc enter key which isn’t found on American keyboards which most international JIS keyboard layouts I’ve seen are based on

Thank you all, appreciate your input and suggestions, looking forward to getting back into 日本語. Cheers!

Surely by someone you mean Japanese native speakers right?

I feel like at least once a year there’s a learner looking for or using a kana keyboard.

The only times I’ve seen native speakers type on kana keyboards were people with flip phones, but that’s the only option on flip phones.

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I’ve seen people say they want a Japanese keyboard because they want to type with kana, sure.

I’ve still never actually witnessed someone do it.

Yeah, I suppose that counts as a different type of kana keyboard,.

Fair enough. I guess ianegg’s virtual keyboard they posted in this thread doesn’t count?

I don’t think I had actually returned to this thread since I posted, and I did so by directly going to your post that quoted me, so I didn’t see it until you mentioned it now.

That wasn’t the sense I meant “seen” in, but I guess I should clarify that yes, people say they do it.