Samsung Galaxy S III: How to Add a Japanese Keyboard

Ever since SLee went to Japan, he’s wanted to add a Japanese keyboard to every device he gets his hands on. So when he got his Samsung Galaxy S III, I knew it wouldn’t be long before he asked me how to put Japanese on it as well. The good news is, it’s a relatively simple process that works for Japanese as well as dozens of other languages.

Here’s a quick tutorial to show you how.

Note: You may have heard that the only way to add a Japanese keyboard to your Samsung Galaxy S III is to root it or to install 3rd-party apps. This is not true. This photo-tutorial will show you how to add a Japanese keyboard using functions already built in to the phone — no root required, no 3rd-pary apps. Now let’s get to it.

How to Add a Japanese Keyboard to Your S III

Step 1:

Add a Japanese Keyboard - Go to Settings

Go to your settings menu. Scroll down and tap on “Language and input.”

Step 2:

Add a Japanese Keyboard - Step 2

In the “Language and input” menu, tap on the settings gear next to the Swype keyboard.

Step 3:

Add a Japanese Keyboard - Step 3

In the Swype menu, tap the third option for “Language Options.”

Step 4:

Add a Japanese Keyboard - Step 4

When you are in the “Language Options” menu, tap on “Download languages.” I took this screen shot after I had already installed Japanese on SLee’s phone. If you haven’t added any additional languages yet, your screen should only show English.

Note: If you already have more than one language installed, you can use this screen to choose your current language, but I’ll show you a faster way to change your input language in a little bit.

Step 5:

Add a Japanese Keyboard - Step 5

The screen displays a list of available languages. Choose whichever language you want (in this case, we’re choosing Japanese; here is a list of all the languages Swype supports).

Tap on the language name, and the Samsung Galaxy S III will download it to your phone.

Voila! You now have multi-lingual writing capabilities on your Samsung Galaxy S III.

How to Switch Languages on Your Swype Keyboard (on the fly)

Adding a new language keyboard to your phone is only half the battle. Having multiple languages installed on your phone is useless if you can’t change what language you’re using. In step 4 above, I mentioned one way you can change your input language. But it is very inconvenient to have to go digging in your settings menus to do something as simple as switching languages.

Thankfully, the designers of Swype thought so too.

Let’s take a look at an easier way.

Selecting Language - Step 1

After you add a Japanese keyboard to your phone, you’ll notice your spacebar now has “EN” printed on it to indicate your current input language is English.

The first step in changing your input language is to hold down the spacebar.

Selecting Language - Step 2

A window pops up allowing you to select whichever language you want to use.

Pick your target language, and start Swyping.

Selecting Language - Step 3

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  1. Claire says

    My samsung doesn’t have that Swype option. But I was able to find the list of available languages. Unfortunately, Japanese wasn’t there…

  2. shu says

    Hi Topher.
    Thank you for the info. I could install Japanese. When I hold down the spacebar, no window pops up. I have S3. Do you have any idea?

    • says

      Hi, Shu. Thanks for your comment. This technique only works with the “Swype” keyboard. It doesn’t work on the “Samsung” keyboard.

      When you have the keyboard pulled up, there should be a keyboard icon in your notification bar. Pull down that bar and you can select “Choose input method” to change between Google Voice Typing, Samsung keyboard, or Swype.

    • says

      If you are using the stock TouchWhiz ROM, the Swype keyboard is built in.

      If you are using a custom ROM, you may not have the Swype keyboard.

      The good news is that in Android 4.2, the default Google keyboard has swipe functionality, so you don’t need the Swype keyboard app. If you are using an older version of Android that doesn’t have the Google swipe keyboard, you can download the Swype app from the Google Play Store for $0.99.

  3. arama says

    i downloaded the wrong language by mistake, is there anything i can do to delete that before download Japanese

  4. luis says

    hi i have a galaxy 3 mini but in the language input list Japanese does not appear even if I refresh the list. only on the google voice method list appears… thx

  5. Hans Skjöldebrand says

    I have a Samsung Galaxy S III Mini, I did what I saw on the tutorial but I didn’t find SWYPE anywhere

    • says

      I have a mini as well, in the “languages and input” menu, you have to uncheck the “Google Voice typing” first, leave and come back, then click the arrow next to “default” under keyboards and input method, swipe is one of the options, there will be a few windows alowing you to activate the app, then you can do the above tutorial.

  6. Derrick says

    Thanks for this tutorial! I managed to download Japanese onto my S3 but when I tried a test, it said I needed to set the input to automatic. How do I do that?

  7. Mara Kurohi says

    I have a Samsung Galaxy S4.
    I have done this however, pressing the spacebar does nothing for me, which still makes me unable to text in Japanese. I need to be able to use Japanese for texting other people. Any additional ideas?

    other japanese apps come out as an error to other recipient phone users

    • says

      sometimes there is a little button to the left of the spacebar that lets you switch, i found that if it has a gear instead of a character than i have the wrong keyboard activated in the settings.

  8. Tracia says

    I have a Galaxy S3 Version 4.3. I have the Japanese option but it will not let me Swype Japanese or change my language on the Swype.

    • eripk says

      Hey Tracia, I have the Galaxy S3 Ver 4.3 as well but can’t find the Japanese option or a swype keyboard. :S
      Where did you find those options after entering “language and input”? Under default, my only options visible are the Samsung keyboard and Google voice typing.
      Help would be appreciated!

      • ivyclay says

        I had to play around for a little bit, I remember selecting the giogle voice keyboard under defaults. The swipe keyboard should be an option back one screen, its grey but you can still select the settings icon. I went in there and set it all up. With the proper languages. Then somehow managed to get it to have a check in front of it even though the google voice is the only light option. I also have a check by that. It works fine. あ。え。う。
        If you need more detailed help let me know and ill set it up on my husbands phone to remember the exact order.

  9. says

    I have the galaxy S3. I successfully installed Japanese according to the instructions above. As written above, my now includes the word “English.” Unfortunately, when I press and hold spacebar, nothing happens. I rebooted and still, no go.
    What should be my next step?

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