Leave it up to a crafty highschool student, @shugonta, to fill a gaping hole in Windows Phone 7: lack of Japanese language support.

JPinput is a free app available in the Marketplace to all and will allow our Nipponese friends to finally text, email and search in their native Kana/Kanji. From the app description:

The input system is "Kana-mekuri", used by many cell-phones in Japan. This app provide two ways to convert "Kana" into "Kanji". One of them is "Predict conversion". The app predict what you want to type automatically,when you type a letter. The other is "Kana-kanji conversion". After you write up the sentence, you can transfer it to "Web search","e-mail", and "SMS" with using the icons of the application bar.

And considering the NoDo update is right around the corner, this app will be even more useful what with that whole copy/paste feature, allowing the Kana/Kanji to be used in nearly every app.

Nice work done here by the dev community. The developer's team "PAKEN" won the ImagineCup 2010 Japan last year and he just received an Optimus 7. He's obviously put it to good use, making life easier for a whole demographic. Grab the app here in the Marketplace. See the developer's blog here.

via: Nanapho.jp; Thanks, tezawaly, for the heads up