denshijishoThere are numerous online resources for students of Japanese out there who need to find a word or kanji on the fly, many of which we covered in Leah’s article on Making the Most of Japanese Dictionaries. Still, new ones pop up all the time or we realize we overlooked something good, so I wanted to be sure we included Denshi Jisho ( among them.

In a recent kuzushiji workshop, I threw my hands up to the sky and cursed the world when my electronic dictionary’s batteries died, and I had to pull out the ole laptop to find something easy and fast for looking up radicals. Our workshop instructor introduced us to Denshi Jisho, and I immediately wondered where it had been all my life. Although we’ve covered kanji radical searches briefly on Tangorin, I feel that is in some ways more accessible in terms of search options and format.

Powered by the data of everyone’s favorite WWWJDIC Jim Breen project, Denshi Jisho lets you do basic searches in Japanese or English in the typical J / E and E / J fashion, including searches for example sentences. One of the features that I like about the basic searches here is that even if you don’t have Japanese language keyboard abilities, when you’re searching starting from Japanese, the English text will automatically convert to hiragana. I find this really useful when I’m on a library computer that for the love of everything holy just can’t get the language bar functional for Japanese, despite claiming it has the capability.



denshijisho4When you search for kanji, you have the drop-down option of inputting Japanese, Chinese, or Korean, or by searching via more complex options like stroke count, radical numbers, or the indices of various dictionaries. So if you really know your stuff for kanji, you can get pretty complex in how you try to find what you’re looking for. This is especially helpful for those of us who work with premodern texts, since the old forms of kanji can be rather difficult to look up in online dictionaries at times.

But most useful for many of us is the kanji by radical option, which, much like Tangorin, is done by clicking on radicals. Once you’ve clicked one, those which do not appear together with your selection in any kanji will fade into the background, and you’ll automatically get a list of kanji below, with the non jōyō kanji faded a little to distinguish regular use kanji from less common ones. You can select multiple radicals to narrow your search, and once you’ve found what you want, you can click on it to get the information.


While Tangorin includes helpful lists of compounds that include the kanji, Denshi Jisho includes the indexed information for looking the kanji up in larger dictionary sets. Notably, Denshi Jisho appears to include more radicals in their search options than Tangorin (which is helpful for my premodern stuff!), but each site has its own benefits depending on what the user wants to look up.

Any other sites we don’t have on here that you guys love to use? Let us know via email or in the comments!

About Paula

Paula lives in the vortex of academic life. She studies medieval Japanese history.
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2 Responses to Resource:

  1. toranosuke says: is definitely one of my chief go-to dictionary sites.

  2. I would recommend an alternative
    This site has some addtional features such as audible pronuncation, Japanese analyzer & translator, etc.

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