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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2003
As a Japanese language student, I found this dictionary to be a very useful tool in the beginning stages of learning Japanese. Most likely, the beginning student will learn to associate Japanese phrases with their respective Romanizations instead of thinking in Japanese script. For this reason, this dictionary is a good tool to help transition students from thinking in romanji to the respective Japanese scripts (hiragana, katakana and kanji).
I have found this dictionary quite useful when I studied the Japanese language during my first year in high school. However, after I began associating Japanese phrases and words with hiragana, I began using a dictionary that allowed me to search words in the hiragana script (a,i,u,e,o,ka,ki,ku...ra,wa,wo). It was difficult to go back to this Romanized dictionary.
As this dictionary is not exclusively Japanese to English or English to Japanese, this dictionary compromises its comprehensiveness. I have found that this dictionary doesn't include many more advanced or classical Japanese words and phrases that may be found in Japanese newspapers or official documents.
Yet, if you are a beginning Japanese student without any experience with Japanese script, this is a good start. However, if you are student who has more experience with the script, a better recommendation might be Kodansha's Furigana Japanese-English Dictionary or Kodansha's Furigana English-Japanese Dictionary.
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 1999
This dictionary is really thorough compared to Martin's Concise Japanese Dict." or "Basic Japanese-English Dict.", having 50 000 words compared to 19000 and 3000 words, respectively. There are even medical, scientific and technical words that, as a student at a technical course, I find really useful. The words are written in romaji and also normally in KANJI instead of KANA, which helps a lot. It is organized after the romaji spelling which makes it fast to find what you are looking for. Ok ... now to the less favourable sides of the book. First of all - WHY oh why are the books english and japanese parts not mirrored? I have occasionally stumbled upon words that are in the english-japanese part, but not the other way around. REALLY annoying. Secondly - why not print the verb type (I,II,III) instead of just stating "vb"? Not a lot of ink, but enormously helpful. Anyway, though it doesn't get full score, I still think it is the best dictionary of the three I have tried.
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75 of 84 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2000
I picked this book up at a local used book store to help with translating some manga (comics) for a friend. Upon bringing it home, though, I realized why the last person had gotten rid of it. While this is an EXCELLENT dictionary for translating english words to japanese (that part takes up almost 3/4 of the book), it's not worth it's weight in paper as anything else. The japanese to english section is small, incomplete, and basically pretty laughable. Many particles are completely omitted (leaving you wondering what the heck 'wa' does) as are many common nouns that you see everywhere. Also, try looking up jade (hisui) in the english - japanese section, it'll be there. But if you look up 'hisui' in the japanese - english section it wont be there. This happens to A LOT of words, very annoying... If you're only going to be using this book for english - japanese, go ahead and get it. Otherwise I recommend avoiding it unless you need a doorstop.
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42 of 48 people found the following review helpful
While there is no substitute for a good electronic dictionary, in terms of amount of vocabulary and compact convenience, this is probably the best paper Japanese/English English/Japanese dictionary available.
It is very easy to use, and contains most of the vocabulary needed for day to day interactions. It is too large to be easily portable, and so is more of a desk reference than an on-the-move book.
The only drawback is that the Japanese/English portion of the book catalogs words using romajii, instead of hiragana or katakana. The overall impact on this is laziness to those trying to learn Japanese. Gaining speed in kana is essential, and using a romanized dictionary will not help progress. The kanji is available for Japanese words, but are usually of small type.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2000
Living in Tokyo, it`s been essential for me to have an effective translation dictionary. This one has filled the bill. True, it isn`t necessarially the best choice for beginners, but as you begin to explore Japanese more, this book will keep up with you. In my Japanese language class, this dictionary has pulled through for us when other students` dictionaries could not. The best feature is the easy-to-read Romaji (English spellings) that permit you to sound out the words without having to read Japanese. However, the Japanese is included also, meaning I`ll be able to continue learning with this book for quite some time.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 30, 2007
As a student of Japanese, I've consistently found this dictionary lacking. Translating from Japanese to English, I often find that it's missing important words that I need. Translating from English to Japanese, more than once I've had my teacher tell me that the word this dictionary listed isn't the one that's usually used. Perhaps it's a difference in dialect, but considering that my teacher is from Tokyo, I have to wonder!

I'm writing this review because I've given up on this dictionary and am hunting for a better one. This book is okay for simple words, but beyond that, I've found I just can't trust it. Save your money.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 2006
I bought this book before my first trip to Japan, almost 4 years ago now. At the time I had just begun to really learn the language and took it with me for reference. Unfortunately, even at that point I found little use in it, the vocabulary in my experience tended to be lacking. The fact the Japanese section is both in romanji and in alphabetical order made it very counter-intuitive to use so it was quickly thrown to the side and forgotten.

As other reviewers have stated, nothing can beat an electronic dictionary these days, however people still looking for a print-and-bound dictionary or a cheaper alternative to purchasing a $200-300 piece of equipment would do well to look elsewhere. This one comes across as outdated and anyone who can read kana and kanji will soon find it become a hindrance. Beginners in Japanese need to learn hiragana and katakana immediately, which puts them outside the limited scope of this dictionary, and more advanced learners will find it easier to cross-reference entries written in Japanese text or consult with a more specific kanji or vocabulary reference text.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 13, 2003
Novices and more advanced students and speakers of Japanese alike will find this a very handy reference to have on hand. Broken into two halves--one an English to Japanese dictionary and the other the reverse--the book allows students to easily locate whatever word they need.
The one "fault" is that the Japanese-English portion is in Romaji, or the English-letter representation of Japanese sounds, which can make locating some words difficult for a couple of reasons--first, readers may not know the pronounciation of a given word in kanji (which other books better address anyway); and second, Romanization methods differ, yielding some confusion over the proper "spelling" of a given word. Still, a student with some knowledge of grammar should be able to look up spoken, Romanized, or kana-ized words without much difficulty.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 1999
I'm on my second copy of this book, since I wore my last one right out. My last one was the paperback, though, and this one has much better quality. Anyhow, I have no complaints. Rarely have I tried to look up a word in either language and not find a translation. It includes romanji, kana, and kanji to help all levels of Japanese students. So if you're looking for a quality, simple, and to-the-point dictionary, you can't go wrong here.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2005
This dictionary is of a respectable size, similar to collegiate dictionaries I've used. The paper has a nice quality and the text is easy to read. It's very handy translating to or from Japanese, but the word pool is not what I'd call complete. For one, I think that there should be more phrases listed as entries instead of buried within descriptions of words that make up those phrases. For another, the dictionary entries it does contain seem almost random at times and skip over a lot of commonly used words (In both languages!)

It's a good utility reference for the price, and certainly something you could shove in a backpack for class. But in a crunch, it has let me down many times and I've had to hit electronic romaji references online to complete translations that I believe common enough for any dictionary.
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