Solving CJK Font Rendering Issue in Chrome on Ubuntu 16.04

Update: The fix for this bug has been released to xenial-updates.


There is a bug in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS’s default fallback CJK font package fonts-noto-cjk that makes Chrome/Chromium render “thin” weight of the font for Chinese/Japanese/Korean characters, whenever the page’s language is not explicitly set to cn/jp/ko. This makes the characters unreadable. For example, in a Google search page which contains both English and CJK texts, the CJK text will be rendered thin. Example Picture

(Example image taken from AskUbuntu)

I’ve reported this bug. It seems the issue is caused by the fact that fonts-noto-cjk uses an all-in-one file which contains all the weights of the font. The problem probably lies with fontconfig or Chrome/Chromium’s font fallback mechanism.

In the meantime, the temporary fix is to remove the package, download the font Noto Sans CJK from Google with each weight contained in an individual file, and manually install the fonts. Then Chrome/Chromium should use the correct weight of the font to render CJK characters.

A member of the Ubuntu Development Team, Gunnar Hjalmarsson, has made a personal PPA containing the font files individually. You may also consider directly using that PPA.