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Are you using the right font?

Chinese vs Japanese font

By default, your computer / phone will display kanji in a Chinese font. Japanese kanji look slightly different, and it can be damaging if you learn the Chinese appearance of kanji rather than the Japanese ones.

Verifying if your browser is currently using a Japanese font

The one character that looks strikingly different between Japanese and Chinese fonts is which is used in the word 直す (naosu) which means cure, heal, fix.

Naosu in a Chinese font (DengXian)
Naosu in a Japanese font (IPAex Gothic)

If your 直 looks like the second image, congrats! You are using a Japanese font, if not, change your font.

Windows 10

Win+I to open Settings > Apps > Optional features > Add a feature > Search "Japanese supplemental fonts" and Install

Advanced Users: Powershell

Japanese fonts can also be installed using Windows Powershell (Administrator):

Get-WindowsCapability -Online -Name Language.Fonts.Jpan~~~und-JPAN* | Add-WindowsCapability -Online
This does not require a restart.

Also have Chinese supplemental fonts already installed?

You will need to set your locale to Japanese (Japan).

Setting Japanese locale

  1. Open the Run dialog box by pressing Win+R
  2. Type intl.cpl and press Enter
  3. Click on the Administrative tab, go to Change system locale... and select Japanese (Japan) and click OK.

Now if you're using a Chromium based browser (e.g. Google Chrome, Brave), click the Menu > Settings > click on Appearance on the left > Customize fonts. Here's where you'll need to set your fonts.

Standard font: Meiryo UI
Serif font: Yu Mincho
Sans-serif font: Meiryo
Monospace: MS Gothic

If you're using Firefox it is already pre-configured.


You just need to add Japanese as a preferred language in System Preferences.
 > System Preferences, then click Language & Region. Click General, then Add a language and choose Japanese 日本語


You should have ja_JP.UTF-8 as one of your locales. If not, uncomment the line #ja_JP.UTF-8 UTF-8 in /etc/locale.gen and run:

sudo locale-gen

Now install the noto-fonts-cjk package. It is available on the official Arch repositories and it's known to set up the necessary fontconfig rules when installed in Arch.

If any part of that does not apply to you (p.e. different distro, different font, different method of installation), fontconfig may or may not have been set up properly.
If you don't know how to check that, simply create a new file with the necessary fontconfig rules in the ~/.config/fontconfig/conf.d directory (create the directory if it doesn't exist) for Japanese text. You can use this section of the Arch Wiki or this excellent example config file by tatsumoto-ren as references.




Chinese fonts can still persist even with the right setup in place (no idea why), so you may need to force it by doing the following:

> Settings > click on Appearance on the left > Customize fonts

Standard font: Noto Sans CJK JP Regular
Serif font: Noto Serif CJK JP Regular
Sans-serif font: Noto Sans CJK JP Regular


Unless Firefox has Japanese set as one of its languages or the webpage (or one of its sections) explicitly claims to be in Japanese (lang="ja"), it tends to fallback to Chinese characters. This is because Chinese fonts tend to have a more complete character coverage.
To counteract this, do the following:

  1. Open a new tab to about:config
  2. Click through the warning page (if it appears)
  3. Search for font.cjk_pref_fallback_order
  4. Move ja to the front of the entire value

The commas are important

They are there to separate the language values in that sentence, take care not to carelessly remove one.

Before: Firefox settings 1

After: Firefox settings 2


Just add Japanese (it looks like this: 日本語) as a secondary language, it won't change your display language unless you move it to the top.

Android settings


Adding the Japanese keyboard (kana or romaji whatever works) should do the trick.


I think Chinese fonts on Anki cards looks the worst because kana will be sans-serif and kanji will be serif AND out of proportion AND Chinese so it looks all out of place.

Oh god. Unironically a lot of people's cards look like this.

After you have installed Japanese fonts on your system it should automatically use Japanese fonts. If not, you will need to force it.

Forcing Japanese font in Anki

IPAex Gothic is a good sans-serif Japanese font I recommend for Anki. You can download it here

Install the font onto your system and reboot.

Windows: Double click and click Install
macOS: Drag the font into the Font Book
Linux: Move the file to ~/.local/share/fonts/ and then run fc-cache -f -v

Now in Anki click "Add" then click on "Cards" and then "Styling" and modify your font family accordingly.

.card {
 font-family: IPAexGothic; /* here is where you set font */

You can also change the font by putting the font into the Anki directory.

Windows: C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Roaming\Anki2\(profile)\
macOS: ~/Library/Application Support/Anki2/(profile)/
Linux: ~/.local/share/Anki2/(profile)/
Android: /storage/emulated/0/AnkiDroid/

Now in Anki click "Add" then click on "Cards" and then "Styling" and modify your font family accordingly.

Don't copy exactly!

Just add what you don't already have.

.card {
 font-family: CustomFont; /* here is where you set font */

 @font-face { 
    font-family: CustomFont; src: url('ipaexg.ttf'); } /* here is where you define the font */



With a full Japanese definition.
With a bilingual definition.

Now also change your font for the Anki editor. Click on "Add" then "Fields" and change the Editing font of each field to any one of these (or any other font you know is a Japanese font)

MS Gothic
Yu Gothic
Hiragino Kaku Gothic Pro
Noto Sans CJK JP Regular


Yomichan's font should change according to your browser's font, but you can force Japanese font if not.

Using Popup CSS...

.kanji-link {
   font-family: IPAexGothic;

.source-text {
   font-family: IPAexGothic;

.gloss-content {
   font-family: IPAexGothic;

.tag-label-content {
   font-family: IPAexGothic;
Japanese to Japanese defintion with IPAexゴシック font.