I'm looking for a cheap secondhand character dictionary in Japan but:

I don't know if there is one or more kind of these, and I don't know what they are called.

Two I saw had these on their spines, but I don't know if they are titles or types of dictionary:

  • 漢辞海
  • 漢字典

Tsuyoshi Ito suggests this term in a comment:

  • 漢和辞典

Is there more than one kind of character dictionary? What are the various kinds called? (Please supply romaji or at least kana too)

I do not need to know about general Japanese or translating dictionaries, just the ones that focus on kanji.

  • 3
    Are you looking for a dictionary which explains kanji in Japanese? In that case, a dictionary like that is called 漢和辞典 (かんわじてん). If you are looking for a dictionary which explains kanji in English, I do not know the name for that (probably there is no specific name). Commented Jun 14, 2011 at 1:57
  • @Tsuyoshi Ito: Yes I'll be a character dictionary only in Japanese knowing that it will be of limited used to me but that's OK. Some of the books I saw had the character "字" in them - are those the wrong kind? Commented Jun 14, 2011 at 2:01
  • 漢和辞典 just means a dictionary of this kind. Many 漢和辞典s have the letter 字 in their titles because 字 means “letter.” (For example, “kanji” is written as 漢字 in kanji. :) ) Both 全訳漢辞海 (ぜんやく かんじかい) published by Sanseidō and 旺文社漢字典 (おうぶんしゃ かんじてん) published by Ōbunsha are 漢和辞典. I do not know either of them, so I cannot make a recommendation. Commented Jun 14, 2011 at 2:28
  • 2
    I dont know if this would belong in the answers but I have an elementary school kanji dictionary published by Sanseido called 漢字辞典. I like this because it explains it in a simple and concise manner for less experienced language learners (thus very helpful for us). Commented Jul 3, 2011 at 1:53

1 Answer 1


漢和辞典 is what you want:

Shinchosha have just released a Kanji-only dictionary called: Shin'Nihongo Kanji Jiten: http://www.shinchosha.co.jp/jiten/kanjijiten/index.html that includes not only words with origins in China, but also native Japanese words that happen to be scripted in Kanji.

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