Japan tiles still showing Japanese characters 5 years later? Any workaround possible? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello,

    I've searched extensively on this topic and found discussions going back to early 2007, but 5 years later and multiple versions and upgrades of Bing Maps later, this problem still persists.

    When you view maps of Japan in Ajax Map Control V7, all the writing is in Japanese characters.  I think the writing is embedded in the tile image files, and in the past the explanation has been that the system can't handle multiple language tiles for multiple view types.

    This explanation doesn't really make much sense though - why is Japan the only place in the world where this is an issue? How can a US based company assume that only Japanese speakers will want to view its maps of Japan?

    My users are US military personnel and English-speaking international travelers.  When they view maps and locations in Japan, they can't read the maps at all because of this problem.  

    I have two questions:

    1)Is there any chance that this issue will be fixed any time soon?
    2)Is there a work around that I could use, such as calling some other source of map tile images for Japan-only searches?

    Please help!  All the answers I've seen spanning the past 5 years have said essentially the same thing - the language is embedded in the images, this is not a priority to fix, and its against the TOS to use some other tile images there.

    I'd be very grateful for any guidance or answers or links to help with this issue.



    • Moved by Ricky_Brundritt Friday, March 16, 2012 6:40 PM (From:Bing Maps: Map Control and Web services Development)
    Thursday, January 12, 2012 4:01 PM


All replies

  • This isn't a bug. This was done by design 5 years ago. In the past it was not possible to support multiple languages but we can now. This may be something we will revisit in the future.
    Thursday, January 12, 2012 4:37 PM
  • Can you recommend any work-around in the meantime?

    For example, could we pull in different map tiles just covering Japan?

    Any links to tutorials or instructions on how to do that?

    Friday, January 13, 2012 3:48 AM
  • I don't understand why places like China don't have this same issue.  I must be misunderstanding some fundamental issue here.
    Friday, January 13, 2012 3:50 AM
  • The main reason for this issue is availability of high quality data for Japan along with other priorities. You can expect changes in coming future... 
    Hemant Goyal
    Sunday, January 15, 2012 8:03 AM
  • Also, for China, the is a completely different Bing Maps API just for China. The information you see for China in the standard API is not nearly as complete as it's only English characters. So, even though you don't see this issue with China, there is a much large issue with the lack of English data, thus the Chinese API.
    Sunday, January 15, 2012 9:34 AM
  • Hello,

    I find myself in the same position as JasonWGreen on this and have been looking for new information on the topic for some time. Our company has an Enterprise license and Bing maps are used by our (mainly) English-speaking clients. It is therefore frustrating to see Japan stand out as an anomaly in the Bing Maps API (it also has different tile imagery design).

    It would appear that Bing has decided to go with 'high-quality' data for Japan, rather than a much lower quality of data in English (as they have done for China) - the flipside of this being, of course, that the 'high quality' data is of very limited use for anyone who doesn't read Japanese...

    When our company made the decision to use Bing Maps, my contact at Microsoft said that addressing the issue with the Japanese data would be a priority - but that was over a year ago. At, if you switch to Aerial mode and view Japan, I have noticed that the map now has some English labels, so clearly some development has been done on this functionality, but why is not in the Ajax Map Control V7?

    Could you please give any idea of a timescale for which even a limited English-language data set for Japan could be available as an option - this would surely be preferable for many customers over a high-quality but unusable data set for non-Japanese speakers?




    Thursday, February 2, 2012 4:39 PM
  • Today Bing Maps released new Road imagery with good number of changes along with Bing/Nokia unified map design. More of it at

    Better late than never,  Japan tiles are in English titles now for en-us market. The new tiles are also available in V7 mapcontrol 

    Thanks for using Bing Maps & sending feedbacks. we always value them.

    Hemant Goyal

    Tuesday, February 28, 2012 6:57 PM