Change Your Mobile Phone To Japanese — 25 Comments

  1. Perhaps it takes some dedication, but I’ve always transitioned back shortly after setting my devices to 日本語.. I found myself learning menu item positions and not reading the kanji, most of the kanji I didn’t look up the readings and they just got ignored.

    Apart from my computer, I only really use my devices for times where I’m in a rush, and this can sometimes cause frustration when not in English due to time constraints (can’t spend 10 minutes looking up kanji by radical when only got 2 minutes to send a message/make a call)

    Perhaps I need to push past this and It will pay off, may give it another shot!

  2. I just changed it, thank you for reminding me. Good advice on waiting until intermediate, I’ve tried this before with my computer as a beginner and it didn’t last long.

  3. Thanks for the Han-unification tip. I was having problems with Anki in Android showing up Chinese characters instead of the Japanese ones.

  4. I tried doing this a while ago and my version of Android doesn’t have Japanese in the language list. Go figure.

    Once I get a phone upgrade, this is the first thing I’m doing.

  5. I changed over my devices (iPods, phone, computer, gaming consoles and handhelds) to Japanese about four years ago. I remember the hardest thing was dealing with my computer when it was an emergency or when I was installing something or when my mom was on my computer. I would have to change it to English frequently, but would always put it back in Japanese. I went through a similar thing with my other devices.

    I found that with my iPods and phone (when I eventually got an iPhone), I would just go my muscle memory. It bothered me that I wasn’t actually reading the names of apps and stuff, but at the same time, there were so many things I just couldn’t read and couldn’t be bothered to look up. However, over time, I found that I was starting to read the names of things in my settings or in other apps without forcing myself to do so. It came naturally.

    And now, I can navigate the more complicated things on my computer, picking up computer-specific vocabulary and such. I’ve come a long way from four years ago!

  6. Some Android phones (like mine, I have a Galaxy Note 4) don’t list 日本語 as an available language when you go to settings, but it is still possible to make the switch. You can use an app called “MoreLocale2” in the Play Store to make the language Japanese. Note that this will most likely require you to connect the phone to a computer and enter some text into the command line (there are tutorials if you google it) to give MoreLocale2 permission to change your language. Even if it is a bit of a hassle, it is totally worth it and great for your Japanese. Highly recommended.

    Note: For those of you who might be worried about “Rooting” your phone, this is not that.

  7. I switched my phone to Japanese a while ago, maybe right when I was moving towards intermediate. I found it much easier than switching my computer over since there’s more pictures and generally less text compared to drop down menus etc.

    I have an iPhone and my favorite part is having the navigator voice in the maps app being Japanese. Her voice is WAY better and there’s not too much vocabulary used, it’s quick to get them all down. I love it when she tells me 到着しました!^_^

  8. Just gave this a go myself on iPhone.

    If you want the full package, you should also set the calendar settings to Japanese. This is done on the same settings screen. You will probably find it easier to do this before you change the phone language ;)

  9. Would have done this aaages ago but my phone doesn’t have the option. Next phone I will make sure it does. Changed my ubuntu laptop to Japanese yesterday though. It’s pretty cool so far. A lot of reading practice since programs also default to Japanese eg Firefox and VLC.

  10. I just did this for the first time — the Japanese keyboard is crazy! Though this admittedly will make using a Japanese dictionary much easier :D

    Other than that though, doesn’t seem TOO extreme. Definitely a lot of new vocabulary, but at least it’s in a pretty clear context. Let’s see if I can stick with it…


  11. Are you kidding me?! I was trying to get Anki to work on my phone and for whatever reason switching to Japanese allowed it to work. Japanese is supreme!

  12. I’ve had my phone in Japanese for a while, and I think the scariest moment was installing some big software updates for the first time. No biggie (switch back to English if you need), but it felt like I might accidentally sign my life away. ^_^;

    If you use Japanese directions, learn some vocab words first (turn, go straight) and make sure you give yourself a little extra time the first couple of tries. I made some funny repeat mistakes at a fork on the Interstate (big loopy highway), thinking that the wordy “don’t exit and continue straight, exit is on the right ahead…” directions were a fancy, emphatic “EXIT on the right IMMEDIATELY.” Also, friendly tip: if you’re driving long-distance or around construction, don’t panic if you hear 回り道 and a bunch of words you don’t normally hear. It’s just announcing a detour, followed by your usual turn, go straight…instructions. ^_^;

  13. I have tried this multiple times on both my iPhone and iPad mini. I also switch back to English. It works for a while, but then I want to look at something more complicated and it is all in Japanese and I can’t understand a thing. If I click one wrong button I could end up doing some irreversible or otherwise extremely annoying. I’ll try again with my iPhone right now, so we’ll see.

    • There is nothing wrong with switching back to English when it is something you really don’t want to mess up on. As long as you switch it right back to Japanese afterwards you do yourself no harm. Eventually you’ll feel more confident about it, and it’ll just become an annoyance to switch it to English. Best of luck with your second try.

    • I sent a map of my location to a colleague yesterday :) – I just wrote “oops” and he smiled back. Apart from that it’s all good. A bit hard at times, but that just means it is forcing me to learn. Don’t worry too much about it. The risk of you doing significant harm is actually very low.

  14. How the heck are you guys getting More Locale 2 to work and change to Japanese on the Android without a root?

    • You don’t need to root your phone. You just have to enable the debugging console and use it to grant one extra permission to the app. If you attempt to change it without permission, the app will tell you what to do to allow the change.

      It *is* a fairly technical process, though. Maybe somebody with video-making skills could tackle the task of creating a tutorial video? =)

  15. I have Nokia 02 mobile. I wish to use both English and Japanese.
    I am struggling not to be able to use Japanese. I tried to change it.
    Unfortunately I can’t use Japanese.
    Anyone can help me, please.

    Mrs Hill

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