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4.4 out of 5 stars26
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 10 March 2002
I got hold of my copy while studying in Japan. It is in my opinion the most suitable kanji dictionary available on the market for learners of Japanese. The Kanji are logically structured and easy to look up using the various indexes available at the end of the book. Personally I don't think that the SKIP system of looking up the characters work that well, but sometimes it is usefull. The example usages are the best, not only compounds starting with the actual kanji, but also displays compounds when the kanji is second etc. The only negative to say about this book would be the fact that they have chosen to use romaji instead of kana for the readings.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 13 November 2006
A wonderful reference, I use it all the time. I find the lookup system incredibly easy to use - in fact, I haven't learnt how the 'skip' system works, I just seem to be able to find any character I want by 'following my nose' so it must be pretty intuitive.

The addition of stroke orders is useful, as well as highlighting important characters, which means this can be used not only as a dictionary, but as a casual browse. Also, I'm currently studying for the Kanji Aptitude Tests and the dictionary notes which Joyo grade each character belongs to, so I can easily make a decision whether to forget a looked-up character (for now), or note that I'll need it soon, or learn it properly.

A little light on compounds maybe, so combined with Spahn and Hadamitzky's "Kanji Learner's Dictionary" you get a formidable duo (although note that Spahn/Hadamitzky do _not_ agree on stroke order/count and radicals with the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation - so use this one if you're learning Kanji for exams).
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 8 September 2003
This is one beautifully laid out book. The subtle use of colour and layout make pages easy to read (and i hope they learn form this for other dictionaries). The wide variety of indexes take up very little space, but still make it possible to find a kanji from the sound, the appearance, or the meaning. The entries are comprehensive, but don't waste lots of space with needless sample sentences. If you're learning japanese Kanji, you will find this book very, very helpful.
However, it is not a general purpose dictionary: you will need one of those as well. I only hope you find one as nice as this.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 17 January 2001
Since I could not find any kanji dictionary in Italian, I decided to buy this one on-line. I am really very happy of my choice! Kanji are arranged in a totally new system called SKIP, System of Kanji Indexing by Patterns, that enables even a complete beginner like me to look up a character in few seconds. And this is only one of the several look up methods available: you can also use the classic radical system, the reading index, etc. Moreover, every entry character is associated to one concise word, called the core meaning, which gives you an immediate idea of its sense. Stroke order diagrams, a rich list of compounds arranged by sense and frequency rankings complete the features of this wonderful dictionary. If you are and avdanced user I suggest you to use the New Japanaese-English Character Dictionary instead, the work upon which the Kanji Learner's Dictionary is based.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 9 January 2012
As a beginner in Japanese Kanji studies, I cannot rate the book content yet. I can say on a first view that the relation price and content seems generous and the book quite useful.
But what I can't understand is why (OMG!) is Romanized instead of use Kana and Hiragana for the japanese words. Can any Japanese student prefer it that way? How would someone study Kanji without mastering the basic Japanese signs?... Obviously the publisher wanted (they would know is successfully) a bigger scope of customers adding those few ones who were simply looking for a kanji dictionary alone (very few ones I suppose) spoiling what I believe is the big part of the ones who are really buying this book, Japanese language students in a intermediate level...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 July 2008
This dictionary is a really good choice for the beginner and even for the not so beginner. To begin with, the SKIP method to look up kanji is really good. Instead of relying on the user identifying which is the radical of the compound, which can be easy in certain compounds but in others it's both very difficult to guess and time consuming, it relies on the user identifying 3 patters (left-right, top-down, or enclosed, apart from others that can't be classified that are given a group apart) and then counting the number of strokes in both parts. So for example if the component to the left has 3 strokes and to the right 5, you look it up in the left-right section, 3-5.

Once you get used to this, it really makes it easy to find any kanji. Sometimes, admittedly, the choice of, for example, considering one stroke as being on top or not is at least a little arbitrary, but in general this method is much better than the traditional reliance on identifying the radical.

Nonetheless, it's also indexed by radical index, and by readings, so it's a very complete dictionary.

All main readings, both ON (Chinese origin) and KUN (Japanese origin) are included, as well as some irregular/non-standard ones when they are important, and a great deal of compounds are also included.

The layout is good, it gives information on how to write each individual character apart from a myriad of data.

The only snag is that it is limitted to the joyo list kanji + some kanji used for names. The problem is that in Japanese there are some characters that are used frequently (including one kanji to write the name of the city of Osaka) that aren't joyo kanji so you can't find them in this dictionary, which is a pity. I think that adding some non-joyo frequently-used characters would have been useful, even for the begginer, because I have a feeling that sometimes the joyo lists are a little random and some characters are left out that should be and others included that aren't that important.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 November 2008
I have quickly found this book to be an almost indispensable reference when encountering new kanji. I wasn't an initial fan of the 'SKIP' system it uses to find kanji, but I very quickly got the hang of it, and now much prefer it as a lookup system than the traditional by-radical then-stroke-count method. Just count the number of strokes on one side, then the number of strokes on the other, and look up that number - simple!

That being said, it's not a comprehensive dictionary. For more esoteric words or kanji, you'll still need to refer to something more complete such as the Nelson dictionary, but this book does succeed in doing precisely what it says: providing a quick reference tool for strange kanji. It makes it simple to find them, highlights their core meaning, and shows you the correct stroke order. It'll also show you what the radical for that kanji is, and a number of compounds containing that kanji, so you can learn it in context.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 23 June 2002
This book is excellent for what it aims to do, and that's be a compact dictionary for beginners. It's well set up, has stroke-order diagrams for most kanji, and the SKIP lookup system is fantastically easy to look up most Kanji. It's only got just over 2,000 kanji, but if you're a learner, this is completely indespensible.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 June 1999
The Kanji Learner's Dictionary is the best Kanji Dictionary I have used. It claims one can find any Kanji as fast as one can find a word in an English Dictionary, and I was amazed to find it was true, using the system in this book. It is excellent. Furthermore, it has many common and not so common Kanji compounds in a relatively small book, so I've found it to be great use. I strongly reccomend this book to anyone learing Kanji.
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on 28 October 2009
I have been learning kanji by myself for a while now and have been using the heisig method which had really helped meRemembering the Kanji: Complete Course on How Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Japanese Characters v. 1 (Manoa) and I think this is the perfect accompaniment.

It's easy to use and has more than enough kanji to satisfy most learners attempting kanji. For all those who said that the SKIP method is illogical and nonsensical, I would say that they are wrong.

Admittedly you have to read the introductory pages at the front of the book to be able to use this dictionary to it's full potential and to understand the way it's sorted but and at first you may have a few misses but you will get it after a few searches.

I would say that one of the most useful elements of this book is the stroke order guide that can be seen below the kanji.

Also, there are some guides at the back which help you identify number of strokes and common elements in kanji.

I'd definitely recommend this book for any kanji learners.
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