The New Nelson Japanese-English Character Dictionary Revised, Revised,Hardcover with Jacket Edition

34 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0804820363
ISBN-10: 0804820368
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Editorial Reviews


oThis reigning authority on Japanese character definitions is based on missionary-scholar Nelson's first 1962 edition of The Modern Reader's Japanese-English Character Dictionary. Essential for all Japanese and East Asian studies collections.o —Library Journal

"One of the best and most concise Kanji dictionaries." —Goodreads

Language Notes

Text: English, Japanese

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1616 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing; Revised, Revised,Hardcover with Jacket edition (September 15, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804820368
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804820363
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 2.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #424,368 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 15, 1997
Format: Hardcover
(The following contains a few Japanese characters. If possible, set your browser to read Shift-JIS encoding.)

- The book is now 1600 pages (the previous was about 1100). The paper seems
to be a slightly whiter, heavier, and more opaque grade. The binding is
dark blue and sort of plasticky (not sure exactly what it is), as opposed
to the maroon cloth weave of the old one.

- The pages have an airier appearance than before, but are the same size.
The gutter between columns is distinctly wider, there seems to be more
whitespace in general, and the type is bigger. The typography is still high
quality, as before. Entries now include JIS numbers when available.

- The useful appendices in back are pretty much as before, perhaps expanded
a bit. Pinyin is now given along with Wade-Giles for place names.

- The cover claims to have 1200 new characters. I'm not sure about this,
but the new characters that I noticed look like PRC-style simplified

- There is now a "Universal Radical Index" (URI) that allows you to look up
a character by any of its component radicals, and even includes a few of
what they call "nonce radicals", that is, frequently-recurring shapes that
aren't radicals, like the three dots on top of "íP".

- Sadly, nothing resembling Spahn & Hadamitzky's lookup by any character.

- There does seem to be more vocabulary. As a rough-and-ready measure of
new vocabulary, I looked under "ìd" and found a number of new words, like
ìdéqâªé'èë (denshi-ka jisho).
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83 of 91 people found the following review helpful By "radagasty" on May 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The New Nelson Japanese-English Character Dictionary is based on the classic Nelson edition, but has undergone significant thorough revision, although whether the changes be improvements or otherwise is debateable, insofar that this new edition little resembles its older counterpart save in content. In any case, neither editions of this dictionary are suitable for beginners in the language, offering scant help in point of usage and composition.
This edition of the dictionary has a totally new system of arranging characters, discarding the strange algorithmic system in favour of the much better traditional arrangement based on the arrangement by semantic components, known as radicals, used in Chinese dictionaries following the famous and authoritative 42-volume Kangxi Character Dictionary of the Chinese Ch'ing dynasty which sets out over 40,000 characters classified under 214 radicals. This is an improvement only insofar that the idiosyncratic algorithmic system of Nelson was replace by the traditional system. However, this transition was not completed, and, instead of the full traditional system being implement, only the veneer of using the traditional arrangement is present. Upon closer examination, one finds that certain characters have been classified under different radicals than that under the traditional system fixed by the Kangxi dictionary. Granted that the Kangxi dictionary is a Chinese work that would not contain kokuji, characters invented in Japan, but these characters are very few in number compared to those borrowed from China, and, in any case, were made up according to the principles of Chinese characters, thereby having a natural place in the Kangxi classification anyway.
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56 of 62 people found the following review helpful By "randd2003" on April 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I purchased the original Nelson in Japan in 1962, the year it was first published. Over the last 41 years, I have worn out at least 2 copies, and presently own three.
The original Nelson was a masterpiece and for many years has been considered 'the kanji bible' for those interested in mastering Japanese characters. Unfortunately, the new version (The New Nelson, as it is inappropriately called) is a disaster... for several reasons:
1. Nelson's original 12 Step system, though still shown inside the front cover, is now unusable. For example, if a beginner wants to look up the character 'wa' (meaning peace or harmony) which is comprised of 'nogi hen' (Radical 115) plus 'kuchi' (3 additional strokes), following Nelson's 12-Step system will lead to failure--the character is not listed under Radical 115. WHY? (See reason number 2)
2. The New Nelson lists the characters under the old traditional Chinese system based on the K'ang-Hsi Dictionary of 1716. Under that archaic system, the character in question 'wa' was listed under Radical 30 ('kuchi-hen') for some reason even the Chinese could not explain. Guess what?!? This is PRECISELY what Mr. Andrew Nathaniel Nelson, PhD, most wanted to avoid in his original dictionary because in the old traditional Chinese system there was too much that was illogical and unfathomable about the ordering of the characters. So the New Nelson dictionary destroys one of the main advantages of the original Nelson dictionary.
3. The New Nelson adds a bulky, cumbersome 230-page Universal Radical Index. Every character is listed under every possible incorrect radical that any one could possible think of, any more. The end result is a total dumbing-down of the process of learning the radical-stroke character look-up system.
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