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Japanese-English dictionary lookup tool for EDICT2 and KANJIDIC
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Wish is a Perl tool for looking up words and kanjis from a Japanese word and kanji database. The current supported formats are KANJIDIC and EDICT2.

The command-line tool wdic is provided as a front end.

A web interface in also provided as a FastCGI program, called wish.fcgi.


Lots of dictionary tools exist, but have several issues, including being online only, sorting results in an awkward way, or being too strict.

Wish search have the following features:

  • Indifferent kana nature. Writing in hiragana or katakana is the same.
  • Homophone lookup.
  • Alternative kanjis or readings are grouped.
  • Similar words also displayed. For example, 離す and 離れる.

Results are storted in a fashion meant for relevant words to appear first, but it's not perfect.


To use the command-line tool, all you need is a standard Perl install.

To generated the man pages, pod2man from the Perl distribution is required. Otherwise, the documentation is written at the top of the executables; don't be shy.

If you want to use the web interface, you'll need Perl's CGI and CGI::Fast modules. These are usually included in the standard distribution, but otherwise they should be in your distributions repositories under the names perl-cgi and perl-cgi-fast. Then a FastCGI spawner is required in order to start the application. A popular choice is spawn-fcgi.


Unixy install

For the unfamiliar with Perl, the standard autotools procedure is recommended:

./configure --prefix=...
make install

Perly install

A Build.PL file is also supplied for a standard CPAN install using Module::Build:

perl Build.PL --prefix=...
./Build test
./Build install



Before Wish can be used, the word database needs to be built using KANJIDIC and EDICT2 files.

You can download and load them like this:

gunzip kanjidic.gz
gunzip edict2.gz

# Build the database, takes a little while
wdic --load --kanjidic kanjidic --edict edict2


Lookup can be performed from the command-line, supplying lookup terms as arguments, or in interactive mode if wdic is called without arguments.

Check the man page wdic(1) for more information.

Web interface

wish.fcgi is just your standard FastCGI application.

In order to be pretty, the webserver's /static path should be redirected to, usually /usr/share/wish/static.

Please refer to the man page wish.fcgi(8) for details.

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