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Kodansha's Furigana Japanese Dictionary: Japanese-English English-Japanese 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 106 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-4770024800
ISBN-10: 4770024800
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Kodansha International is a Kodansha International author.
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Product Details

  • Series: Japanese for Busy People
  • Hardcover: 1285 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha USA; 1 edition (October 31, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4770024800
  • ISBN-13: 978-4770024800
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 2 x 5.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #879,562 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on May 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Kodansha's Furigana dictionary is simply one of the best Japanese<->English dictionaries I have seen on the market, especially for students of Japanese. The English-Japanese volume of this wonderful dictionary is simply indispensable to beginners of the language once they have mastered the two kana scripts, viz, hiragana and katakana, as would be expected of any serious student, since the dictionary does not contain any Romanised entries.
One great feature about this dictionary particularly valuable to beginners who may not know many kanji is that all the kanjis, be they in the entries or the examples, have small kanas printed over them indicating their pronunciation, i.e., furigana. The definitions themselves are up-to-date, clear, being written for English speakers, and most entries contain illustrative example sentences indicating of usage.
The English-Japanese section lists some 14,000 entries of commonly used English words. This section is rather limited in scope, for the native English speaker is likely to find that the word he wishes to translate into Japanese is not listed, and an alternative need be found.
In the Japanese-English section, the entries are listed in kana, in the kana order, which is much better than other Romanised dictionaries which list Japanese words in English alphabetical order. If kanji exists for that entry, then it immediately follows the headword, after which comes the definition. Synonyms are also indicated in the entries, and ample example sentences are given. Three appendices are included, listing verb conjugations, numerical counters and place names.
The book itself is physically well produced, with a hardcover. The paper is of good quality, and the print is clear although none too large.
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Format: Hardcover
Paying the extra dollar for this dictionary will make all the difference in the world. Here is a summary of its good points:
1) All words come with extremely useful example sentences. This feature along is valuable beyond comparison. I can't tell you how many practical expressions I gleaned from this book.
2) All Kanji are spelled out in Furigana (Hiragana), so you will never get lost. This is such an important feature, as looking up Kanji seperately is a difficult, time-consuming task that will drive you crazy.
3) It's extremely compact and durable, so you can take with you anywhere without fear of damaging it. The lather binding makes it practically indestructable. After using mine everyday for over three years now, it is still good as new.
4) Although compact, the selection is superb, and the translations are very clear and modern (perhaps the best feature of this dictionary). Although Japanese is full of difficult idioms and metaphors, this dictionary is both clear and accessible.
For those you who are not yet compitent with Hiragana and Katagana, Kodansha also makes a "Roma-ji" version (aka, an English version) which I highly recommend. This version is also useful for those who are already compitent in the Kana, because entries are listed in alphabetically order, as opposed to Kana order (a, i, u, e, o, etc); and the example sentences are written in both Roma-ji and Japanese, with their corresponding English translations.
Whether you buy the Furigana or Romaji edition, you will not be disappointed. Kodansha is the best out there, hands down.
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Format: Hardcover
This dictionary is one of the best that I've used for 3 reasons. First, it gives very useful, clear example sentences with most words that leaves no doubt as to how to use the word in a sentence. A must for any dictionary used to help with conversation. Second, it is a furigana dictionary to help us foreigners through those annoying, yet important, characters known as kanji. Third, it has a very useful appendix section which, among other things, includes a listing of most (all?) counter words (dai, to, mai, etc.) and when to use each.
The biggest shortcoming of this dictionary is its word coverage. All too often I have needed a word for a conversation only to find that it's not in the dictionary. Don't get me wrong, the coverage is decent, just not superb.
All in all, though, on its own, this is a good dictionary to use for most conversations. But for more advanced ones, using it in conjunction with another, more comprehensive dictionary may be necessary.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Unless you're reading material targeted for Japanese children, you will always need to face kanji in printed Japanese. If you want to read anywhere away from you computer (where you can easily use an electronic dic), you need a printed kanji dic, either one with kana readings (Kodansha's essential kanji dic) or one with romanji readings (Kodansha's Kanji learner's dic)

Kanji dictionaries contain only words written in kanji, so, anyway, you'll also need a dic that covers kana-only words and that is ordered by kana alphabetic order, and this dictionary here is a good one. By the way, this one is kana/kanji only. First learn the kana. If you don't feel that you need the kana because you're only going to stay in Japan for a short time and want to concentrate in the spoken language, look for a romanized dic, instead.

So, you will always need at least:

-two dictionaries for reading or

-one for listening comprehension.

If you're serious about learning Japanese (not just a short time tourist) and want to develop writing abilities, avoid romanji (Japanese written in English letters) at all costs. Learn the kana.

This dictionary is not complete. Then, if you can't afford (or find... in fact, I couldn't find any) a more complete dictionary, get yourself a free electronic one to complement this one. Jim Breen's EDICT database together with a dictionary search program like Kanjibrowze will be just fine. This combination is a powerful one: When you're reading on the Net, you can use the electronic dic only. However, it does not provide any hint in word usage, so use Kodansha's furigana dic when writing in Japanese or for further understanding.
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