There is clearly a configuration error, that I think comes from the input encoding (UTF-8) not being correctly understood by the tool.
Could anybody with experience on this matter please advise on how to either tell kakasi to accept Unicode input, or suggest an alternative open-source tool for conversion that works better? (Please, no Windows software.)
( 6 months ago )
Thanks to comments by @Earthliŋ and @blutorange (recognition where recognition is due), the combination of iconv with kakasi has finally worked. Initial convertion from Unicode to Shift-JIS is required, and performed using:
Conversion back in the other direction is not needed when output is roumaji, since the basic characters have low ASCII values that are identical under all encodings. If necessary, conversion from Shift-JIS back to Unicode can be performed with:
As pointed out by @oals in the comments, newer versions of kakasi have the little documented parameters -iutf8 and -outf8 to specify Unicode encoding for either input or output. The above conversion to Hiragana can then be more efficiently performed using: