HHKB Japanese Layout

By Xah Lee. Date: .

HHKB Japanese Layout

If you really want HHKB, i recommend the Japanese layout ones.

hhkb pro japan 3143
Happy Hacking Keyboard Pro JP, with customized keycaps. (photo by Rick Cogley At https://plus.google.com/+RickCogley/posts/ZeLsRgiypjG. used with permission)
hhkb pro jp-type-s N294D
[image source geekhack.org, photo by 002]

This is a better HHKB, even if you only type English, because:

hhkb keyboard pro2 type s zsQpf
HHBK US layout.
happy hacking keyboard jp layout 38609
happy hacking keyboard jp layout 38609

There are issues to watch out:

  1. In Japanese layout, key columns are less staggered than US version (compare the vertical line from Q to Z).
  2. In Japanese layout, the Space bar may not be comfortably reachable by right thumb.
  3. In Japanese layout, the Enter key is 1 column more to the right than standard PC keyboard layout.
  4. In Japanese layout, the Shift key on the right is tiny, and is 2 columns more to the right than standard PC keyboard layout.

Japanese keyboard are like that because there's little use for space or capital letter. See: Tiny Spacebar

Solution to Tiny Space Bar, Tiny Shift Key

For the tiny Space key problem, just use left thumb for it. Or, remap one of the thumb keys to space.

For the tiny Shift key problem, turn on Operating System's sticky key feature. So, you don't need to hold Shift. Just press left Shift, release, then type a letter key.

If you use emacs, there's more advanced way to solve the Shift key problem. See: Emacs: toggle-letter-case