I am running Firefox 52.0.2 on Arch Linux and although on the system (e.g.: in Nautilus) I have Japanese characters showing fine, in Firefox they are unreadable because all that is shown for them is this:

Japanese characters not shown properly in Firefox

This will be because I do not have the font installed which allows the showing of Hiragina, Katakana and Kanji installed for Firefox. But the problem is that I am not entirely sure about how I get this for Firefox. I tried installing the Japanese dictionary in Firefox, but that didn't seem to make any difference.

So what do I have to do and install to get them to display properly? Because in this form it is obviously very difficult to read and write them.

  • I don't understand. You say on the system I have Japanese characters showing fine, but then I do not have the character set installed which allows the showing of Hiragina, Katakana and Kanji. Don't these two contradict each other? How can the characters show fine if you don't have the font installed? – Sparhawk Apr 5 '17 at 9:34
  • @Sparhawk: What I mean is that elsewhere on the system for instance the file manager shows them fine. However I have not installed anything especially for Firefox. Sorry if I didn't put it in the best way. – user103789 Apr 5 '17 at 10:02

It should be enough to install the great noto fonts bundles:

sudo pacman -S noto-fonts-cjk noto-fonts-emoji noto-fonts

The restart firefox and you should be abe to see them. Personally, I also installed the following from AUR:

yaourt -S ttf-freefont ttf-ms-fonts ttf-linux-libertine ttf-dejavu ttf-inconsolata ttf-ubuntu-font-family

I doubt those will help for Japanese, but they do provide a respectable variety of fonts for your system.


Like terdon said in their comment, noto-fonts-cjk noto-fonts-emoji and noto-fonts will usually get the job done.

If you're just trying to install Japanese characters then this wiki page, https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Localization/Japanese#Fonts, is a good start.

If you want a more comprehensive font collection of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean characters, then use the noto-fonts-cjk package for a broad coverage. It's a big package, but will cover a lot of characters. Great to mix with noto-fonts.

As always, looking at Arch's wiki is a great start; in particular, https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/fonts.

  • I just had this problem and was going to suggest the Arch wiki too, specifically the one you linked, so thanks for posting this! I just had to install one of the fonts and then I had to chrome://restart (not Firefox) and the fonts showed up, a refresh did not work, had to be a restart! – Elijah Lynn Feb 12 at 5:36

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