SaaS Helpdesk Software That Supports Japanese

After the Zendesk Price Fiasco of 19 May 2010, where Zendesk are proposing to significantly raise prices for their SaaS helpdesk solution, I am confident many users are looking elsewhere. This is one of the pitfalls of a SaaS solution, wherein the provider achieves external investment, and subsequently bows to pressure from said investors to raise prices or otherwise change a model that was working. At least for we users.

In our case, the cost of Zendesk, while was higher than others, was justified because it somewhat supported the Japanese mails my firm gets. I say somewhat because certain mails would cause Zendesk to have a fit, but that is mostly calmed down now.

That being said, now that Zendesk has basically doubled their prices for us and while I have made no decisions on whether to accept their “offer” of prepaying annually to lock in the current pricing for one year, I thought I would list alternatives and whether they support Japanese.

It is important to note, that there are several aspects to “supporting Japanese” some of which include:

  • User Interface
  • Ability to Email in and out of the Helpdesk
  • Ability to search
  • Ability to store Japanese data

Many web based products, and not just Helpdesk products, face these challenges when localizing to multi-byte character sets. User Interface is straightforward, as is the ability to store the data. These are kind of “level 1” localizations. Searching is harder, because of the space-less nature of Japanese, and emailing in and out is a major pain. Often, they get the email body correct, and you can see Japanese in it, but, the subject line is munged. It is a complex undertaking, especially for non-native speakers. So, _caveat emptor. _

List of Helpdesk Software that Supports Japanese

Confirmed Positive:

Zendesk themselves. Most Japanese mail is processed correctly but there are some glitches occasionally. We have personally confirmed all the above-mentioned aspects of Zendesk.

Kayako’s Savin Behal replied to me in an email: Our software supports multiple languages. You may download the required (Japanese) language packs from the Kayako Forums at “”. These language packs have been shared by our clients. However, we regret to inform you that we do not support these packs officially.

Active Campaign supports Japanese fully, according to Jason in the comments on this post.

Web Helpdesk says they do indeed support Japanese email. From Shiraz Hemani, Business Development Manager: “Per your questions on email, yes Web Help Desk fully supports monitoring of any number of incoming mail accounts in all language character sets, including Japanese. Each incoming account can be associated with any number of outgoing mail accounts as well. We have more info available for that feature at:”

Atlassian Jira does support Japanese. We had been using it in Japan, but moved away from it due to the glacial pace of development of certain security-related enterprise features we needed.

Confirmed Negative:

Tender says they do not support Japanese. Will says: “… I’m sorry, but we don’t currently have international language support in Tender. We do hope to add the feature in the near future, but it’s not ready at this time.”


Please comment if you have more or better information.


21 May 2010 - Zendesk has since recanted, apologized, and offered real grandfathered terms for existing customers. I have to say I have a bitter taste in my mouth, but, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the difficulty of changing systems. We’ll sit a spell.


Join the discussion at my Google+ post.

—by Rick Cogley