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The Kodansha Kanji Learner's Dictionary Paperback – February 1, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-4770028556 ISBN-10: 4770028555

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1008 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha USA (February 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4770028555
  • ISBN-13: 978-4770028556
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #229,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Helpern is a Kodansha International author.

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Customer Reviews

Easy to use, very good reference book.
Rafael Caixeta
A stroke order diagram is also listed with each Kanji characters, enabling users to learn the correct order of writing the character.
G. Lo
If you know(or have read) anything about Jack Halpern it is obvious why this book now exists.
Scott E Mantooth

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

76 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Charles E. Stevens VINE VOICE on November 15, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I'm not sure why I took so long to write a review for this dictionary ... I've been using the Kanji Learner's Dictionary for almost three years now and have nothing but good things to say about it. The best thing about this dictionary is its size. All of the commonly used kanji and kanji compounds are included in a compact volume. When you're reading a newspaper article and come across an unfamiliar kanji/compound, or when you're writing a letter (or homework, etc.) and you can visualize a character but can't quite remember how it's written, who wants to lug out some 100 pound (slight exaggeration) kanji dictionary when you can quickly leaf through this one?
Granted, once you get out of the beginning stages, you will need a more thorough dictionary. But I have found myself going back to this one every single time, unless there's a character or compound that doesn't appear in it (but honestly, I would say that happens only 1-5% of the time). It's that convenient.
If you are looking for your first kanji dictionary, definitely buy this one- you'll find yourself going back to it again and again. If you only have a huge kanji dictionary, buy this one too- you'll love the size, and be surprised by the fact that this dictionary actually has the vast majority of kanji/compounds that you're looking for ...
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90 of 92 people found the following review helpful By "john901" on May 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I cannot recommend this dictionary highly enough. There is simply no better dictionary for beginning and intermediate students, and it can be used even into advanced studies. I will be taking the Japanese Proficiency test for 2 kyu soon, which requires reading over 1,200 kanji, and I still use this dictionary. If it had been published when I first began my Japanese study, I might be making plans to take the 1 kyu test instead of 2 kyu. It's that good.
When I came to Japan, I inherited three kanji dictionaries from various sources, and they were all basically useless, even though I had already studied Japanese off and on for a total of about a year's worth of university-level coursework. I went shopping for a new dictionary a few months after getting here, and thankfully I found the Kodansha Kanji Learner's Dictionary, which had just been published a short time before.
The SKIP lookup system makes so much sense that I wonder why no one had ever thought of it before. While it does take a small amount of practice to become completely proficient in using SKIP, the traditional indexing by radical is so cumbersome that you often have to fall back on the possible readings (on-yomi or kun-yomi) for a character to find the right entry. If you are trying to find a totally unfamiliar kanji, whose reading you don't know, this is completely hopeless.
The Kanji Learner's dictionary also includes a radical index for those who learned the traditional system, or for the very few cases where looking things up by radical is faster or easier. In other dictionaries, main indexing is _only_ by radical. This is a problem since many modern kanji have been simplified so much that the original radical it is traditionally indexed under has been simplified out of existence.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Larry West on February 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is so well-designed, it is a joy to use.
(I'm in my second year of learning Japanese [Japanese for Busy People series], first term of real attention to Kanji.)
The SKIP system is just one of five ways of looking up kanji; I've used them all now (even the frequency-ranking one). It's nice but just one facet of the dictionary.
"Little things" like the layout, the indices, the introductory explanations, the paper, the font, the size are all so good that one doesn't even really notice them, they just seem natural, like a good tool should be. Now other dictionaries (like the complete Nelson which I have and respect and still use when necessary) seem awkward, if not ugly.
The keywords in red and the organization of the definitions really do help give (to this novice anyway) a feel for the core meanings.
Plus, for computer use, the Unicode numbers are given which is a big time-saver (for me anyway).
It's hard to imagine a more perfectly balanced kanji dictionary for the beginner.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Carlos Rodriguez on June 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book is nearly perfect. It's very complete and comes in a very handy presentation. You can quickly find the 2000 most used kanjis and learn how to write them correctly. Besides a kanji's core meaning, you learn frequent combinations with other kanjis, which helps a lot for context interpretation. The layout invites you to read on, even after you found what you wanted, it's beautiful! My fear to kanjis is gone. I learnt to break them down in pieces and now I remember them easier. I just wish that this dictionary had kana instead of romaji in the meanings part. There's also a lot of "wrongly-counted" kanjis (for those of us who still don't master the SKIP system) that somehow ruin the layout, although is very considerate and helpful from the editor to give us a shorcut instead of going like "you have to learn how to count strokes first before using this dictionary"! For those of you who find this book incomplete, I tell you, you can always go to its daddy, Kenkyusha's New Japanese-English Character Dictionary. Let's learn kanji!
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