The Kodansha Kanji Dictionary
The Kodansha Kanji Dictionary—a revised, expanded edition of Jack Halpern’s groundbreaking New Japanese-English Character Dictionary—is the most in-depth, linguistically accurate, and up-to-date dictionary of its kind. The culmination of more than twenty years of work, this authoritative and easy-to-use reference retains all the features that have distinguished it over the years as the number-one source for detailed information on the meanings and usages of modern-day kanji.
One of the features that sets this dictionary apart from others—and makes it more than just a word-lookup tool—is the core meaning, a concise keyword that defines the most dominant sense of each character. Along with character meanings, or specific senses the kanji can have when used in the living language, this feature helps learners understand the logic behind compound formation, and in turn identify the meanings of words in context without having to memorize them as unrelated units.
Another unique feature is the System of Kanji Indexing by Patterns (SKIP), a revolutionary indexing system that has gained widespread popularity because it enables the user to locate characters as quickly and as accurately as in alphabetical dictionaries. With SKIP, all one needs to do to find a kanji is identify the geometrical pattern to which it belongs, then count the strokes in each part of that pattern—a much speedier process than searching by traditional methods such as by radical or stroke count.
Updates include the integration of more than 5,300 entry characters (including about 950 cross-reference entries)—almost 20% more than in the previous edition. This includes all the new Joyo and Jinmei Kanji, or the sets of characters prescribed by the Japanese government for use in writing and in personal names. In addition, 5,684 synonym articles and as many as 700 usage notes (a significant increase over the original edition as well) explain the similarities and differences between closely related kanji—a feature found nowhere else. Also added, and unique to this volume, are compound formation articles, which contribute to the understanding of kanji by showing how a word is formed from its constituent parts or by explaining its etymology.
Last but not least, a stunning new design makes The Kodansha Kanji Dictionary the most attractive and easy-to-navigate dictionary of its class. This time, instead of romanized Japanese, kana, or native-Japanese script, is used throughout to show character and compound readings.
With its wealth of detailed information on kanji meanings and usages, six lookup methods (including SKIP), almost 900 additional entry characters, and brand-new page design, The Kodansha Kanji Dictionary is certain to satisfy students, teachers, scholars, translators, and anyone dedicated to learning the Japanese language.
About the Author
Jack Halpern is the CEO of the CJK Dictionary Institute in Japan, which specializes in the compilation of CJK (Chinese, Japanese, and Korean) and Arabic lexical databases and is one of the world’s prime sources of CJK dictionaries. A lexicographer by profession, Halpern spent sixteen years compiling the New Japanese-English Character Dictionary published in the U.S. by NTC/McGraw-Hill in 1994.
As a research fellow at Showa Women’s University in Tokyo, he was the editor-in-chief of several kanji dictionaries for learners, which have become standard reference works. Halpern has published over twenty books, including The Kodansha Kanji Learner’s Dictionary: Revised and Expanded available in early 2013, as well as numerous articles. He has given over 600 public lectures on Japanese language and culture, and presented several dozen papers at international conferences. Jack Halpern has lived in Japan for over 30 years. He was born in Germany and lived in six countries including France, Brazil, and the U.S. An avid polyglot, he has studied fifteen languages (fluent in ten).