To quote the MetaFilter post where I found it, “Nihongodict is an AJAXy online Japanese-English dictionary. The list of matches auto-updates as you type. You can enter (or paste in) romaji, Kanji or kana, and use character maps for hiragana and katakana. Results can be bookmarked. It’s huge fun to play with, and a nice front end to EDICT, a freely usable dictionary … with about 120,000 entries, largely maintained by one person (Jim Breen, Monash University).” The comment thread contains many other useful resources for Japanese as well as informed discussion of the “SKIP method,” notably by Matt of No-sword. I fear I’m never going to get around to relearning the Japanese I lost after the age of four, but I present this as a public service to those who can use it.


  1. Christophe Strobbe says:

    I fear I’m never going to get around to relearning the Japanese…

    Not even to find out what “language hat” is in Japanese? ;-)

  2. I know nothing about Japanese, but this page is at least amusingly written.

  3. It sure is:
    Whichever seafaring trader decided to import kanji to Japan obviously couldn’t speak Chinese! Duh – Chinese has tones, and Japanese doesn’t. The Japanese trader was like, “It all sounds the same – KOU, SHOU, wing, wong, whatever. So let’s import something we don’t understand!” And the Japanese land-lubbers for some reason were heard to reply, “Here is a whole new vocabulary that adds nothing to our existing language, and which can’t be understood by Chinese either! OK, we’ll learn it, but only if we can keep our existing language, so now we have to learn twice as many words for shit we already knew how to say!” And the seafaring traders were like, “OK deal.” “Hey! Someone’s trying to be Catholic over there!” “That’s over the line – let’s massacre the whole village!” That is how Japanese multiculturalism went, back in the day.
    Makes me want to learn the language just so I can enjoy his lively writing!

  4. Jim Breen deserves a medal for all of his contributions to making Japanese services available on line over the years!

  5. No medal needed or sought. I’m just glad that what I’ve been doing turns out to be useful. My big wish is that more people would pitch in and contribute by adding entries and improving the ones that are there.

  6. KOU, SHOU
    then gyo, then jyo, then jo, then ko, ku, kuu, kyu
    i recalled all the nightmare of learning Japanese, i hated to learn all kanji no on youmi
    sooo hard to memorize, kun yomi was kinda easier to catch
    great links, thanks

  7. -u

  8. That page ben links to is pretty entertaining. I am with him, too: the fact that most people still “learn” kanji as illogically-ordered units, memorizing their readings in isolation, makes me want to cry.
    Also: Oh shit, it’s JIM FUCKING BREEN! I should have defended EDICT much more vigorously in that thread…

  9. David Marjanović says:

    I fear I’m never going to get around to relearning the Japanese I lost after the age of four

    I was going to say “And this from someone who speaks Georgian?!?” – but then I remembered how Georgian is written and how Japanese is written…

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