"Japanization, An Introduction to Software Japanization"

by Steffen W. Schilke (Diploma thesis - the score is 1.1 on the German scale [1.0 is the best])

Abstract (PDF)

 In this thesis ( " Diplomarbeit (PDF - 3,3 MB) " ) I will introduce the reader to the japanization (localization for the Japanese computer environment) of computer software systems. This means the adaptation of software to a Japanese language environment. Also I will show the main diferences in the system structure. Besides that I will discuss which steps a software house should made to japanize an European or an American software product.

In the further outlook you will find an introduction to some of the japanization standardization approaches, which have been made in the last couple of years.

The project was started by world wide research in diferent libraries, databases and on CD ROM. Besides that I wrote several letters to companies and international organization's all over the world. After this preparation I was undertaking a research trip to Japan and stayed there as a guest of Hoechst Japan Ltd. in Tokyo. During the time of this research trip I contacted computer & software related companies and organization. Also I have made many interviews with EDP related people. After the collection of the data I wrote this evaluation of the material.

Regarding the fact that the Japanese market is the second biggest information technology market in the world. It is worth to adapt software products to this different, but homogeneous, market. Differences like different double byte character sets, Front End Processors and the Japanese culture make it difficult, but not impossible, to succeed in this market. In the last couple of years the fast developing technology made it much easier to adapt a product to this market. Also you could consider the japanization as a first step to enter the other Asian markets (adaptation to the computer environments in China, Korea, . . . causes similar problems).

 Keywords : japanization, internationalization (I18N), globalization, localization, regionalization, kanjification, MNLS (multi national language support), Japan, DBCS (double byte character set), SBCS (single byte character set), Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji, Asia, standards


Table of Contents (PDF)

List of Figures (PDF)

List of Tables (PDF)


Intro (contains all of the above) (PDF)




1 Introduction (PDF)

1.1 Japanization ?!?

2 The Japanese Market (PDF)

2.1 Japanese IT Market in the World Market

2.1.1 Japan vs. World

2.1.2 Japanese Hardware World

2.1.3 Japans Software World

3 Doing Business in Japan (PDF)

4 Cultural Differences (PDF)

4.1 Introduction

4.2 Japanese Character Sets

4.2.1 ASCII and Katakana

4.2.2 Development of Kanji Character Sets

4.2.3 Japanese Character Set Mess

4.2.4 DBCS Problems

4.3 Number & Currency convention

4.3.1 Number representation

4.3.2 Rounding of Numbers

4.3.3 Currency

4.4 Date & Time convention

4.4.1 Date formats

4.4.2 Time formats

4.5 Kana & Kanji Input

4.5.1 Front End Processor

4.6 Minor Cultural Differences

4.6.1 Writing Style Specialities

4.6.2 Other Differences

4.6.3 Hardware

4.6.4 Sorting

4.6.5 Japanese Data-types

4.6.6 Japanization Pitfalls

4.6.7 Cultural Differences

5 Japanization (PDF)

5.1 First Steps

5.1.1 Adding Japanese features

5.1.2 Full Japanization

5.1.3 Japanese Operating Systems

5.2 Japanese Software Environment

5.2.1 MS-DOS

5.2.2 UNIX

5.2.3 MS-DOS vs. UNIX

5.3 Ways of Japanization

6 Further Outlook (PDF)

6.1 Unicode & TAD

6.2 Pen Computing

6.3 Asianization / Internationalization

6.3.1 Asianization

6.3.2 Internationalization / Globalization

Appendix (PDF) :


A Index

B Glossary

C Character Sets

D Useful Addresses

plus 6 additional charts with information about the Japanese IT market !!!


This thesis was done using LaTeX on a 386 notebook and a Fuji-Xerox J-Star system (for the Japanese text & graphics), Japanese Freelance for Windows and a scanner of a friend (sorry some of the scans are not that good as they got converted to black/white). All pdf files are done in 300 dpi.


Contact Information :

Mail : Steffen W. Schilke, Im Grund 27-J, D-61130 Nidderau 2 Germany

e@mail: steffen.schilke@gmx.net

Legal Stuff !!!

(C)opyright by Steffen W. Schilke - No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise without prior permission by the copyright owner.

Permission is hereby granted to put the thesis on a WWW or FTP site BUT not without this readme.txt file (and do not alter the text or format of the readme or any other file belonging to the thesis (compressing the files is the only exemption)). If you put it on your site you MUST send me a notification including the URL or the name of the ftp site and the full path !

If you want to publish it on a CD ROM contact me first via e@mail. If you get my permission you have to send me at least some copies of the CD ROM as a reference for free. If you want to publish it in printed form please contact me in written form (a letter) at the above mentioned address (in German, English or Japanese). If you are a company and want to make use of the knowledge presented in this thesis you might want to consider to send a contribution to the author.