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Considering purchasing Japanese elementary kanji and kokugo dictionaries


Feb 4, 2006
こばんは I'm considering a purchase of two Japanese-Japanese dictionaries - a kanji jiten and a kokugo jiten, aimed at elementary school students (furigana! and cute characters assisting on my quest. :). )

The particular dictionaries I'm looking at these two at Amazon Japan:
チャレンジ 小学国語辞典 第六版 コンパクト版 Challenge Elementary School Japanese Dictionary (Compact)
チャレンジ 小学漢字辞典 第六版 コンパクト版 . Challenge Elementary School Kanji Dictionary (Compact).

I am trying to find out, with my limited Japanese, how these dictionaries are bound. Hardcover, plastic, paperback? I don't want to purchase dictionaries that are paperbacks - that seems like they would fall apart easily, or become shabby. ( One of the reviews mentioned (I think) something about one of the dictionaries falling apart and needing tape, but I wonder if they purchased it used? I don't know enough to know for sure, but it raised my concern about the physical quality of the binding.)

If anyone has experience with these dictionaries, or similar, please let me know. If someone who is more skilled could take a look at the links, I would be very grateful! :)

Here is a link to the publisher's site and information about these dictionaries:
Kokuko jiten
Kanji jiten .

There's also a larger size, but it doesn't seem all that much larger than the compact size, about an inch taller and an inch wider. It appears (please correct me if I am wrong) that the contents are the same. I'm curious if the binding is different or something.

Thanks in advance!!

Mike Cash

Mar 15, 2002
These are nice big thick dictionaries that come in their own outer cardboard boxes.

If in over ten years of studying you haven't gotten to the point of being able to read those pages or of being beyond the relative handful of kanji taught in elementary school, the likelihood of your accessing them to the point of your wearing out the bindings any time soon is low and should not be a cause for concern. How much you will be able to benefit from a monolingual dictionary would be a greater concern. I would suggest foregoing the kanji dictionary for kids. There aren't a burdensome number of kanji in the 教育漢字 set and with practically any decent reference intended for an adult foreign learner of kanji you should be able to put those behind you in a few weeks of dedicated effort. You should have had those knocked out years ago. They're nothing to dawdle on the point that a children's kanji dictionary should be of sufficient lasting benefit to justify the purchase.

Be sure to check out the used offerings. Very often you can buy books that are virtually indistinguishable from new ones at quite a savings. The used book sellers on Amazon Japan very strongly tend to lowball their condition ratings.

There are also several quality dictionaries out there which are available in electronic versions. In addition to the benefits of being more portable and quicker to use, different dictionaries from the same publisher often have a feature by which you can effortlessly cross-reference from one to another. That's handy if you want to work with both a kanji dictionary and a regular dictionary.