When I use Iceweasel (Debian version of Firefox), I can see Chinese characters found on this page, but not when using Chromium. I instead see rectangles. This is on Debian 7 (Wheezy).

3 Answers 3


This page has specific information for installing font packages on Debian.


  • Chinese (both Simplified & Traditional)
    • Serif: fonts-arphic-ukai
    • Sans-serif: fonts-arphic-uming
  • Japanese
    • Serif: fonts-ipafont-mincho
    • Sans-serif: fonts-ipafont-gothic
  • Korean
    • All: fonts-unfonts-core

After installing these font packages, try this page as a test: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Han_unification#Examples_of_language_dependent_characters

For me on Debian/Linux, Chrome refuses to recognize the embedded language meta tags, but Firefox/Iceweasel can handle.

enter image description here

enter image description here


Firefox's rendering engine will substitute glyphs from other installed fonts (if it can find one with the required glyph) instead of displaying broken glyphs. Chromium will stick to the specified font(s) instead, and will display a "missing glyph" character if the glyph is not found.

For Chromium and possibly other programs, you need to install Chinese fonts. I usually use arphic fonts: fonts-arphic-ukai, fonts-arphic-uming.

  • wots the difference between those 2... Kaiti vs. Mingti
    – tshepang
    May 29, 2012 at 21:05
  • I just install both. Can't read anyway :P
    – phunehehe
    May 30, 2012 at 3:14
  • "Firefox ships with some fonts of its own". Could you provide one reference for this statement? I am experience this problem OP posted, and the final conclusion lies on this bug. After removing Droid font, installed in Linux by default, Firefox can't display Chinese properly, either, so I believe that Firefox doesn't have builtin fonts. Jan 27, 2014 at 1:47
  • @AlbertNetymk back then I didn't really know certain things. I have updated the answer with my current understandings :)
    – phunehehe
    Jan 27, 2014 at 6:35
  • 1
    There's a description of different font styles at jiromaiya.wordpress.com, @Tshepang. Kaiti looks more like calligraphy, and Mingti looks like printing.
    – Don Kirkby
    Jul 16, 2014 at 20:17

Debian-based GNU/Linux

In order to display Chinese, Japanese and/or Korean characters, you must install some font packages:

  • Chinese: fonts-arphic-ukai (Serif), fonts-arphic-uming (Sans serif)
  • Japanese: fonts-ipafont-mincho (Serif), fonts-ipafont-gothic (Sans serif)
  • Korean: fonts-unfonts-core (Serif + Sans serif)

There are some alternative packages for some languages, but the ones listed above do work. To install all the fonts listed above in Debian, Ubuntu, and other variants:

sudo apt-get install fonts-arphic-ukai fonts-arphic-uming fonts-ipafont-mincho fonts-ipafont-gothic fonts-unfonts-core

Arch Linux

For a large collection of fonts which comprehensively support Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, with a consistent design and look, install the following package:

pacman -S adobe-source-han-sans-otc-fonts

Fedora Linux

yum install fonts-japanese fonts-chinese fonts-korean

Gentoo Linux

Enabling the cjk (Chinese, Japanese, Korean) use flag improves East Asian support in some packages, but is not essential.

emerge arphicfonts baekmuk-fonts kochi-substitute

Those packages are:

Mageia v6

urpmi fonts-ttf-japanese fonts-ttf-chinese fonts-ttf-korean

Mageia v7

dnf install fonts-ttf-japanese fonts-ttf-chinese fonts-ttf-korean


CJK fonts can be installed on FreeBSD using freebsd ports collection

cd /usr/ports/x11-fonts/cyberbit-ttfonts && make install clean
cd /usr/ports/japanese/font-kochi && make install clean

or by installing precompiled packages:

pkg install ja-font-kochi


On NetBSD and other systems using pkgsrc, one can install CJK fonts with the following commands:

 cd /usr/pkgsrc/fonts/kochi-ttf && make install clean
 cd /usr/pkgsrc/fonts/cyberbit-ttf && make install clean

Other UNIX Distributions

Download the appropriate .ttf file (for example, kochi-gothic-subst.ttf) and copy it to your system's TrueType font directory (for example, /usr/lib/X11/fonts/TTF/). For example, (for Dejavu fonts):

wget http://downloads.sourceforge.net/project/dejavu/dejavu/2.35/dejavu-fonts-ttf-2.35.tar.bz2
tar -xjvf dejavu-fonts-ttf-2.33.tar.bz2
cp ./dejavu-fonts-ttf-2.33/ttf/* /usr/lib/X11/fonts/TTF

Or get the link to the current version here, then run (as root) the following then X if it is in use, and the new font should be installed:

fc-cache /usr/lib/X11/fonts/TTF/


GNOME supports East Asian characters natively. You may need to install appropriate fonts.


KDE 5 supports East Asian characters natively. You may need to install appropriate fonts.


KDE supports East Asian characters natively. You may need to install the following packages:

  • Simplified Chinese: kde-l10n-zhcn
  • Traditional Chinese: kde-l10n-zhtw
  • Japanese: kde-l10n-ja
  • Korean: kde-l10n-ko

If this does not help, or works partially, but some characters are still missing, you may need to run qtconfig, and add a comprehensive unicode font to your chosen browser font's substitutions.


Chrome/Chromium need to be restarted after installing the needed packages

Sources and tests


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.