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Kanji Dictionary

Practice your Kanji using a dictionary.

The big benefit of kdic.el is that it uses existing dictionaries. See below.

I abandoned this package when I switched to Flashcard by Jorgen Schaefer. It was later maintained by Damien Elmes, who rewrote it using Python, and in the end it turned into Anki.

Sadly, Flashcard seems to be no longer available.

This particular package, however, is still available!

How to use it

Use kdic.el to self-administer a multiple-choice test. Emacs presents a kanji and five possible meanings. When you fail to choose the correct answer, Emacs will remember these mistakes (and save them to a file). As you continue, the kanji you missed have a high probability of popping up again.

Alternatively, Emacs presents a meaning and five possible kanji, or Emacs presents a kanji and five possible readings. The number of choices you are presented with is customizable.


  • List of missed entries is automatically maintained and trained. It is saved to a file at the end of session and reused the next time kdic is started.

  • Training is customizable: Number of answers per question, percentage for picking a question from the missed entries.

  • Three modes available: Give the correct meaning for a Kanji, give the correct pronounciation for a Kanji, give the correct Kanji for a meaning. Or switch between them at random.

  • Allows sorting and selecting of Kanjis from the dictionaries (since the dictionaries are huge). This selection can be stored in a cache for faster restart times.

Other languages, writing your own dictionary files

If you are looking for a vocabulary trainer that quizzes you on vocabulary files you write yourself, see VocabTest, or write your file in the EDICT format: Every line should match one of these:

word [] meaning
word [more info] meaning
word [more info] meaning/meaning/meaning
some words [] meaning
some words [more info] meaning
some words [more info] meaning/meaning/meaning

All these variations match the regexp "\\(.*\\) \\[\\(.*\\)\\] /\\(.*\\)/".

Getting Dictionaries

If you are looking for dictionary files, you might want to start here:


  • kanjidic (more than 6000 Kanji in the JIS X 0208 Standard)
  • kanj212 (more than 5000 Kanji in the JIS X 0212 Standard)
  • edict (more than 90000 Japanese/English entries)
  • jddict.v02 (more than 11000 Japanese/German entries)


  • JMdict (XML file incorporating all the other dictionary files)

Somebody would have to write an XML parsing wizard.


Flashmaker is Emacs Lisp code to create a flashcard file from from a number of electronically distributed dictionaries in the KANJIDIC and EDICT format (this includes JDDICT for Japanese-German, ENAMDIC for Japanese proper names, and COMPDIC for Japanese-English computing and communications vocabulary) for Flashcard. But as I said above, Flashcard is abandoned and thus Flashmaker is useless.


Practice your Kanji using a dictionary.







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