Printing PDFs with Japanese fonts

My wife asked me to help her with a problem in which she cannot print an invitation letter addressed to the Japanese embassy. In other words, the letter was written in Japanese. She resorted to me confident that there would be a Linux way to solve the problem. I thought she’s right.

There sure was. But the solution was painstaking as it is not pre-installed with our Kubuntu setup. Theoretically, one has to install japanese fonts for the display and printing to be done right. But I was wrong. xpdf didn’t work. It can display the right fonts, but it cannot print them as displayed on screen. I thought acroread would be my friend. But, much to my surprise, it is no longer part of any of the repositories, neither universe nor multiverse, in Feisty Fawn.

Not losing hope, I resorted to one of our machines running on Dapper Drake. I installed acroread and related packages in it. Already installed, I ran it and tried to open the invitation letter. But I was shown a warning that there was no Japanese font support set up. It said that I need to go to a site where I can download Asian fonts for Acrobat Reader. I visited the cited site: I downloaded the Japanese font support tarball and unpacked and installed it right away on the machine. At first, the install went pfft because I forgot to do so as root.

I ran acroread again and tried to open and print the invitation letter. Was it a success!

Now, I’d like to go back to my other issues: Why is acroread no longer part of the Feisty Fawn repository and why xpdf is not as cool as acroread in printing Japanese-font-laden documents?

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