Thanks for the ideas Alberto but what I relly want is to understand how 
to use the mbstring library, not how to implement a new solution. 
mbstring is supposed to do everything I want, I guess I am just not 
quite understanding how to use it yet.

Also in regard to some things you said,

> Now, let's make sure we have a clear background:
>   1) japanese chars come in three flavours:
>       a) ISO-2022-JP (the one you are using yourself)
>       b) SHIFT-JIS
>       c) EUC-JP
>   2) your database setting requires you input in c) style while
>      you present it values in a) style.

1) is true but irrelavant. I am assuming that mbstring can automatically 
detect and convert the user's input.

> *Database configuration* if possible, turn your Postgres configuration 
> into one that will all three charsets

Impossible, though it would be nice. Postgres can only accept one 
charset for it's input not multiple.

> *charset forcing* have your input page always delivered in standard 
> format,

My page is always in the same charset, the problem is that the user 
input might not be ...


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