This is a short guide to enabling the input of Japanese in CrunchBang. There are various ways to do this, but here we do it via the combination of IBus and Mozc. As of early 2012, the IBus/Mozc combination is probably the simplest (or least irritating) combination both to set up and to use.
Understanding what's involved is not necessary, but for the inquisitive there's a (Ubuntu-slanted) introduction in this blog entry – although whereas the author, Chris Bracken, uses Uim, we use IBus.
First, though, we need to be able to display Japanese. Here's a (meaningless) string of five Japanese characters (kanji): 働込畑峠腺. If the five appear as boxes with hex numbers (or as blanks, question marks, etc) rather than characters, then you need to install at least one Japanese font. Here's a gallery of suitable fonts; but if you're in a rush for a ”Gothic” and a Minchō font pair, try one or both of (i) ttf-takao and (ii) the pair ttf-sazanami-gothic (developed further in ttf-vlgothic) and ttf-sazanami-mincho.
In Synaptic, select ibus-mozc and all the packages that this demands. Apply, download and install.
Log out of OpenBox, log back in.
In your system tray – together with the icons for ethernet/wireless connection, etc; by default at the top right of your screen – you should now see the icon for IBus: a keyboard with a globe in front of it. Right-click this icon. In Input Methods, click “Select an input method | Japanese | Mozc”. Click “Add”.
That's it: Done.
The keys are explained in “General | Keyboard shortcuts”. Briefly, your options for toggling between Japanese and Roman script include the 半角・全角 (hankaku/zenkaku) key (if your keyboard has this); and the Ctrl+space combination (whatever your keyboard). When the icon is that of a keyboard and globe, Mozc is turned off (for Roman script); when it is instead a character on an orange background, Mozc is turned on (for Japanese script).
Certain other programs (e.g. Geany as configured by default) have their own use for the Ctrl+space combination. And another program may have its own use for some other key or key combination that you want to use for toggling Japanese input on and off. If your preferred key (combination) fails, click on the IBus icon to choose whichever you need of “Japanese - Mozc” and “Turn off input method”.
When Japanese input is toggled on, the process of getting the six keystrokes s,u,z,u,k,i to result in your choice among すずき, スズキ, 鈴木, 鱸 and more should be very similar to the way you're accustomed to doing it with any mainstream alternative to Mozc. If on the other hand this is your first attempt at inputting Japanese, then most of the mystery should be cleared up by (i) skimreading this detailed guide to the Microsoft Windows Japanese IME, plus (ii) a little experimentation.
Please also check LOCALES Configure IBus-anthy or Scim-anthy to enable Japanese input and LOCALES Configure IBus-anthy or Scim-anthy to enable Japanese input for more information about Anthy.