What keyboard should I be using?

When typing Japanese on my phone, should I be using the romaji to kana (ie, typing shi turns to し automatically) or the kana only where you hold down one of the 10 keys brings up multiple kana options (ie holding down さ brings up the options for all kana starting with s )

  • are their benefits of using one rather than the other?
  • which is best for fluency?
  • which keyboard do natives use and should I be doing the same?
  • am I thinking too much about this whole thing?

As you can see I’m on level 2, I started here five days ago, so I have a lot of time to hone either one if there’s a right answer to this question. I currently use romaji to kana

Thanks in advance! :grin:

I recommend using the kana keyboard. It helps you get used to thinking in kana rather than the english alphabet.

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You’re talking about generally, right? Not on WaniKani?

On mobile devices, Japanese people almost universally use the thing you described which is called flick keyboard. They don’t type romaji on mobile. As the name suggests, it’s made so you can flick in a given direction to make the kana. You don’t have to hold down unless you’ve forgotten which kana are which direction.

On computers, almost all Japanese people use what’s called wa-puro input, basically what we think of as typing in romaji. Using the keyboards where each key is dedicated to a different kana is rare.

As an aside, Japanese people wouldn’t type “shi” to make し, though they obviously could. They would almost certainly type “si”. The use of “shi” is part of a romanization scheme designed to make sense to English speakers’ pronunciation sensibilities, and therefore isn’t necessary to think about when Japanese people are typing.

But honestly, do whatever you feel comfortable with. There’s no “right” way to type, just whatever is best for you.


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