Japanese HWR Demo


This program demonstrates a handwriting recognition input method for several Japanese search engines. Users can enter Japanese queries by writing the characters in the HWR Input Test window which will place the recognized characters in the text field of the search form.

The Hiragana and Katakana recognition was developed at the UAMIS AI Lab by Marshall Ramsey and the Kanji recognition was developed by Todd David Ruddick as part of his JavaDict project that won first place at the ACM's Quest for Java '97 Contest.

The HWR system is not endorsed or developed by any of the search engines. Please do not ask them for support.


Write your Japanese characters one-at-a-time in the white box of the HWR Input Test window. After writing a character, press the button corresponding to the type (i.e., Kanji, Hiragana, or Katakana). The five best matching characters are displayed in a pull-down list at the bottom of the window. Choose the character you wrote (the top choice is selected by default) and it will be placed in the form after you write another character or press the Force button. If the character you wrote is not listed, select none from the list and write the character again. Press the Clear button if you make a mistake while writing a character. After entering all the characters for your query, press the button to the right of the text field in the search form. A new window will be displayed that shows the search results from the search engine.

Trouble Shooting

You may need to expand the HWR Input Test window if the Force button is not visible.


This program requires Netscape 4.0 with the Java 1.1 patch. A Japanese font is also necessary to view Japanese in both Netscape and Java. A free True Type Font is available from Union Way. After installing the font, follow these steps to enable Netscape to view Japanese Web pages:
  1. Start Netscape.
  2. Select Edit-Preferences from the menu.
  3. Select Appearance-Fonts from the Category area in the dialog box.
  4. Choose Japanese encoding.
  5. Select the font you just installed for both variable and fixed widths.
  6. Press the OK button.
UNIX users also need to copy the file font.properties.ja to font.properties in the <netscape-install-directory>/java/classes directory. Be sure to rename or back-up the original font.properties file.

This program has been tested on Windows 95/NT and SGI IRIX.