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Jim Breen's WWWJDIC Server

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Contents: Introduction  Operating Instructions  Translating Text  Dictionary Files  Multi-Radical  Links  Examples  Verb Conjugations  Stroke Order Diagrams  Codes  Copyright  FAQ  What's New  History  Planned Improvements  Known Bugs  Browsing in Japanese  Technical Bits  Mirrors  Backdoor Entry  Donations  Disclaimer  Acknowledgements

Last updated: 7 May 2007 (You can jump straight to the WWWJDIC server).


Welcome to WWWJDIC, the dictionary server associated with the JMdict/EDICT and KANJIDIC projects. WWWJDIC is a member of the JDIC/xjdic/MacJDic family of dictionary software products, and is based on code from the Unix/Linux xjdic program.

Please note that this server is intended for people who have studied some Japanese and who can read at least kana. Also a browser capable of displaying Japanese text will be needed.

WWWJDIC operates at several mirror sites around the globe. All sites carry identical information. Check here for the location of the nearest mirror site.


These are minimal, as the operation of WWWJDIC is intended to be as intuitive and self-explanatory as possible. There is an FAQ section at the back of this page.


Care is needed with the form of romaji used for input. WWWJDIC expects "wapuro romaji", i.e. it should be typed as though it was going into Input Method (IM or IME) of a Japanese-capable word-processor. For example:

  • long vowels in native Japanese words must be in the romaji equivalents of the kana form. Thus it is "toukyou" and "oosaka". Please note that you must have the correct Japanese vowel lengths. Many people email saying they cannot find words like "ronin", when they should have been trying "rounin".
  • long vowels in gairaigo must use a "-" to indicate the sokuon character. Thus it's "su-pa-", not "suupaa".
  • use an apostrophe (') to disambiguate things like hon'yaku and Shin'ichi. (Some IMEs use repeated n's for this.)
  • the small "tsu" (sokuon) is usually produced by repeating the consonant (e.g. socchoku). In the case of a sokuon before a "cho", a "t" can also be used (e.g. sotchoku).
  • for the voiced forms of "tsu" and "chi" use "dzu" and "dji". Thus you need to look up "tsudzuku", not "tsuzuku". Note that WWWJDIC can accept both Hepburn and kunrei/nihon shiki; both sin'iti and shin'ichi map to the same kana. Also, as in many IMEs, xa, xi, etc. can be used for the small kana vowels.

    If you are entering KUN readings when looking up kanji, note that the fixed and inflecting portions are divided by a "." (in ASCII). Normally entering a "." in romaji will result in a JIS ".", so WWWJDIC lets you specify an ASCII "." by using a comma. Thus, use "a,u" or "ka,keru". Note this only applies to the kanji database.

    For people who don't like having to click the "romanized Japanese" box on the dictionary search page, you enter romaji by prefixing the romaji with an "@" character (for hiragana), e.g. "@koujou", or a "#" character (for katakana), e.g. "#va-jon". In fact this is the only way you can input the odd katakana such as the small "ke" character or the "vu" character.

    Exact Match

    An option on the Word Search page is "Require exact word-match", for non-Japanese search keys. If you select this option, only a restricted number of entries will be displayed, as one of the senses in the dictionary entry must match the key exactly, however two exceptions are made:
    1. any characters in parentheses before the keyword are ignored;
    2. the characters "to " preceding the keyword are ignored (thus allowing matches on English verbs).

    Searching for Japanese Words

    In general Japanese (and English) words can only be searched for from the beginning of the word. The only exception is when the search key begins with a kanji. In that case the match can occur anywhere in a word, however you may restrict it to occur at the beginning of the word.

    Searching for English Words

    You need to know that the dictionary files are based on Japanese head-words, and selecting entries using English keys can result in misleading results. For example, looking for "book" in the full EDICT file will return potentially 350 entries. For searching the EDICT file, you may be able to get better results by setting the common word restriction via the checkbox on the initial menu. Also using the "Exact Match" option, may improve the results. Checking the example sentences (if available) will help verify if the word is suitable. At all times the user should exercise caution.

    A search can be be made using two words as the search key, e.g. "break out". In this case you will find all entries in which both words appear. Short phrases, etc. can be searched by using an underscore character between words, e.g. "break_out". In this case only entries the words appear in succession will be displayed.

    The server has a list of variant English words and spellings, and if one of these is entered, it will suggest possible alternatives. So if you put in "favourite", it will suggest also looking at "favorite", if you put in "faucet", it will suggest "tap", etc. The suggestions are clickable links, so you can easily check out the suggestion. (The word list comes from the VarCon collection.)

    Note that words of only one or two letters cannot be used as keys. This is to stop the dictionary index being filled with references to "if", "it", "of", "or", etc.

    Taskbar Search Buttons

    Some small Javascript programs are available which enable text to be marked and then dropped straight into various lookup functions by clicking on a Taskbar button. Buttons are available for searching for Japanese or English words, and for using the Translate Words in Text function. See the button generator page for details.

    Multi-Radical Kanji Selection

    The Multi-Radical Kanji Selection feature does not use the 214 classical radicals. Instead it uses a slightly different set which included more basic shapes. Note that the identification of the kanji is based on the visual appearance of the elements; not on their classical radical.


    You have the opportunity to change some of the visual aspects of WWWJDIC's input and display. There is a "customization" page which lets you change the basic colours, lines/display, etc. It also lets you change from the default EUC input and output coding to either Shift-JIS or Unicode (UTF-8). Note that for modern browsers this option need not usually be exercised, as the browser will detect the code and display the characters correctly. The option is really only for browsers that cannot handle EUC at all (e.g. Japanese mobile phones which only support Shift_JIS), or for regular use of dictionary files such as the Buddhism and French/German files, which contain characters outside the basic Japanese set. For users with modern browsers, Unicode (UTF-8) may be worth using as it avoids the use of bit-mapped images.

    The customization can take place either by setting a cookie in your browser, or by setting some URL parameters. Note that the cookies only work for the server which set them.

    A word of warning about changing the colours. Since the in-line images of the JIS212 characters were converted from GIF to PNG format, they are now black_on_ivory, not black_on_transparent. This is because many browsers cannot handle transparent PNG files.

    A Word about IMEs.

    WWWJDIC can be used successfully with the IMEs now available for Linux, Macs and Windows (95/98, 2000 and XP).


    One of the options of WWWJDIC is to translate the words in Japanese text. Please note, the function does NOT attempt to translate Japanese text into English; it simply sets out to identify the words in the text and to display the translations of those words. The user is expected to know enough Japanese grammar to make sense of the results. The input text is displayed in sections, with the words detected/translated in red, or in blue where an inflected verb or adjective is assumed. If a user requests that a word/phrase only be translated once (see below), the text is displayed in brown for subsequent occurrences.

    You can use this option in two ways:

    1. cut-and-paste text from another application into the text box on the browser screen. (It usually seems to go automatically into the EUC required by WWWJDIC, but if you are having problems, try the option of forcing the server to convert it to EUC.) In some cases the cut-and-paste may break characters up, resulting in a load of mojibake. Sorry if this happens, but it's a browser problem and can't be fixed in the server.
    2. specify the URL of a WWW page, and the server will fetch that page and translate the words in it. Note that in doing so, it deletes everything between < and >, i.e. all HTML labels, etc. and as a default deletes all non-Japanese characters, so all you get is the raw Japanese. (You can override this and get it to leave the non-Japanese in if you wish.) Where non-Japanese has been deleted, a "|" is inserted. (In this option, you may wish to set a new timeout value if the fetch of the WWW page takes longer than the default 60 seconds allowed.) Please note that WWWJDIC makes no attempt to handle cookies. If you can't use this facility because the site you are viewing requires cookies enabled, you will have to use the cut-and-paste alternative.

      Something you need to watch out for are URLs which don't actually point at the text you are seeing. Examples of this include text in a Frame. You need to give WWWJDIC the actual address of the frame - you can usually find this out from the browser if you right-click on the Frame text.

    The default is for the original text to be displayed one line at a time, followed by a list of translated words. For the "cut-and-paste" text, there is a "hidden translation" option, in which the word translations are embedded in the text and become visible when the mouse pointer is held over the word (this option only words with browsers supporting HTML 4.)

    The server detects words in the text as follows:

    1. gairaigo in katakana are detected and looked up;
    2. jukugo beginning with kanji are detected;
    3. where a kanji is followed by two or more hiragana, an attempt is made to match the kana against known verb/adjective inflections. If this succeeds, the equivalent dictionary form of the word is sought. If this is successful, the match is displayed, and the matched text displayed in blue;
    4. single kanji which have not been detected in the above will be matched against dictionary entries (if any). (This may be turned off by the user.)
    5. sequences of four or more hiragana are matched against a small file of words and phrases typically written in kana alone. Only exact matches are reported. (This function may be expanded, but the possibility of false matches is high.)
    6. a special case is made of an o or go hiragana, or the GO kanji preceding a kanji. In this case a check is made to see if the word is present in the dictionary files with and without the prefix.
    Matches against complete dictionary entries are favoured over partial matches of longer entries, and if two equivalent matches are found, the longer is returned. Matched jukugo which are followed by what appears to be a particle (i.e. "wa", "no", "ni", "na", etc.) are trimmed back to just the jukugo to avoid misreporting matches from phrases and similar long dictionary entries.

    Users may request that translations only appear once for each Japanese word or phrase.

    The user can invoke any dictionary file for the matching, but the combination GLOSSDIC file is the default, and is strongly recommended. (Note that using the main EDICT file in this function is not recommended, as its format is no longer fully compatible with the search system employed.) One advantage of using this combined file is that it increases the chance of getting a correct match for a word, particularly if the text contains names. Also, the component sub-files in GLOSSDIC are tagged, and the match function gives preference to entries in the following order (tags shown "EP", etc.):

    The reason the EDICT subset is used is so that the appropriate match is made when there are several readings of a jukugo, for example the "adult" compound will be matched against the word "otona" instead of the less common "dainin".

    The full details of all the dictionary files are provided below.

    Further Comments on WWW Page Translation

    Please note that if you are wanting to examine Japanese text within a frame, you may have to examine the source file (e.g. View/Source) to get the address of the actual file containing the text. An alternative is to open the frame in a window of its own.

    Please appreciate that the function is somewhat crude and simplistic. It can occasionally mis-parse long strings of kanji, so users are advised to examine the results carefully, especially where the text only partially matches the dictionary entry. There is a small [Partial Match] when this occurs.

    A large amount of text will result in hundreds of dictionary searches, so the server may take a while to respond.

    There is a front page for this function which uses frames so you can have the viewed page and WWWJDIC side-by-side.


    The dictionary files used by the server are:

    Some of the dictionary files contain characters used in languages such as French, German, Sanskrit, etc., which are not available in the common JIS X 0208 character set. These characters are coded in the extension set - JIS X 0212 - however most browsers cannot display these characters correctly in the default EUC-JP coding, and they are not available at all in Shift-JIS coding. For this reason the characters are sent from the server either as HTML entities, e.g. &eacute; for é, or as a bit-mapped PNG image. Depending on the font you have chosen for your browser, these characters may appear a little strange.

    Please note that the dictionary material is for the most part copyright. Publication of material from WWWJDIC is permitted, provided appropriate acknowledgements are made. See the Copyright section below for more information on this.


    The Multi-Radical Kanji Selection enables you to search for a kanji using the component "shapes" within the kanji. Each of the 6,355 kanji in the JIS X 0208 standard has been analyzed and their components classified according to a set of 250 basic shapes. These shapes correspond approximately to the 214 "KiangXi" or classical radicals used by many kanji dictionaries, however a number of other common shapes such as and are also used.

    You may need to experiment with this function to get used to identifying the components of a kanji. Note that some components are further subdivided, e.g. the kanji is classified by the shapes: , and .

    This function uses the "radkfile" file, which contains the radical-element breakdown for the JIS X 0208 kanji. This file was originally prepared by Michael Raine and revised and extended by Jim Breen. The file is used to drive the multi-radical kanji-selection feature. (If you want a copy of the file, the current version is here.) The file is an inversion of a kanji-radical source file.


    The WWWJDIC server includes a large file of Japanese/English sentences which have been linked to the EDICT dictionary file so that sentences can be displayed by clicking on the "Ex" tag after the entry. In addition, the sentence file can be searched, and there is a mechanism for submitting corrections online.

    The examples are mostly drawn from the Tanaka Corpus, a collection of Japanese/English sentences compiled by Professor Yasuhito Tanaka at Hyogo University and his students. The sentences appear to be mostly from educational material, text books, etc. The collection is in the Public Domain.

    The collection is large (approximately 160,000 pairs) and is being edited as there are a number of errors and duplications in both the Japanese and English texts. A small number of additional sentences have been added to provide examples of word usage.

    Any suggested corrections or sentences to add to the collection are welcome, and should be submitted using the Suggestion/Comment option on the page displaying the sentences. If you are sending suggested sentences, please make sure both the Japanese and English are correct. Also, if the sentences are drawn from an existing publication, please provide the details of that publication. Submissions are preferred if they contain words which are either not covered by existing example sentences, or only poorly covered. Please indicate if any new words are included in your example(s).

    If you would like to download a complete copy of the current file of example sentences, including the index words, it is available via http or ftp. (Date of the most recent version.) A subset file which is only about 30% the size of the full file is also available.


    Most of the verbs in the main EDICT file allow an optional display of a table of verb conjugations. Where this is available, a [V] tag appears to the right of the verb display.

    The table of conjugations is generated automatically according to the part-of-speech tag in the entry. It should not be assumed that for every verb, any single conjugation is as frequently used or as natural as any other.

    Associated with the table of conjugations is a page of supplementary comments which attempts to expand some of the more obscure points.


    Associated with the most common 2,200 kanji (i.e. the Jouyou and Jinmeiyou kanji) are animated Stroke Order Diagrams (SODs). Where these are available, a "SOD" link will appear at the end of the information display for a kanji (example of a kanji with a SOD)

    The images used in this animation are the art-work from the New Japanese-English Character Dictionary (see http://www.kanji.org/), and are used with the kind permission of Mr Jack Halpern. They were scanned and cleaned up by Jeffrey Friedl to go into Jack's Kanji Learner's Dictionary.

    The Stroke Order Diagram animation was carried out as follows:

    1. the source of the diagrams is the digitized multi-panel form from the printed kanji dictionaries, in which the kanji is built up stroke by stroke. Jack Halpern provided these as BMP files.
    2. each panel of the diagram was extracted into a separate file using a combination of a special utility program and the bmptopnm and ppmtogif utilities.
    3. for each kanji, the gifsicle utility was used to make an animated GIF of the whole kanji. Some twitch a bit due the occasional alignment inaccuracies.
    All this took a bit of debugging, but once it was working, it only took a few minutes to generate the diagrams for the whole 2200 kanji. All this was done on a Sun system running Solaris, so the GIF files are quite legal under the Unisys patent.


    An interesting feature of WWWJDIC is the system of links to other servers and files. These are:

    1. to other WWW kanji/hanzi/hanja character dictionaries. These links go from the kanji information page, and enable direct access to the information about that kanji held on other databases. The databases currently linked are:
      • Charles Muller's World Wide Web CJK-English Dictionary Database.
        This database contains a wealth of information, with a particularly classical emphasis. A feature is an index into his dictionary of Buddhist terms.
      • Rick Harbaugh's Zhongwen Zipu (Etymological Chinese-English Dictionary).
        This is a fascinating dictionary (available as a CD-ROM too), with a wealth of etymological information about the characters, including a genealogical chart. It has a specifically Chinese orientation.
      • Timothy Huang's Big5 Database. This is a file of codes and related information in the Big5 set of hanzi compiled by Professor Timothy Huang, co-author of the book "An Introduction to Chinese, Japanese & Korean Computing". For further information, contact Tim on timd_huang@formac.com.tw.

      The "unifying" code we use to implement these links is the Unicode (UCS2) code-point. We intend to have all the systems cross-linked. You can index from Chuck's and Rick's systems back to WWWJDIC.

    2. the jeKai Project. This project is developing a WWW-based dictionary of extended information about words & phrases in Japanese. WWWJDIC examines the jeKai index and when it displays a Japanese word which is in the jeKai files, it creates a link.
    3. the online Sanseido dictionary at Goo. The link goes from the normal word display, and triggers the JE server at that site. You can use the other dictionaries at that site, including the big Daijirin.
    4. the Google search engine, which is called with the displayed Japanese word(s) as a search key. The "images" option can also be used.
    5. the Eijiro dictionary at the ALC server in Japan.
    6. the Japanese Wikipedia. WWWJDIC maintains a list of all article headings in the Japanese Wikipedia, and where an article is available for a displayed dictionary entry, a link is provided.


    The dictionary entries contain a number of abbreviations and codes, mainly to reduce storage usage and display space.

    abbr abbreviation adj adjective (keiyoushi) adv adverb (fukushi) adj-na adjectival nouns or quasi-adjectives (keiyodoshi)
    adj-no nouns which may take the genitive case particle "no" adj-pn pre-noun adjectival (rentaishi) adj-s special adjective (e.g. ookii) adj-t "taru" adjective
    arch archaism aux auxiliary aux-v auxiliary verb conj conjunction
    ctr counter col colloquialism exp Expressions (phrases, clauses, etc.) fam familiar language
    fem female term or language gikun gikun (meaning) reading gram grammatical term hon honorific or respectful (sonkeigo) language
    hum humble (kenjougo) language id idiomatic expression int interjection (kandoushi) iK word containing irregular kanji usage
    ik word containing irregular kana usage io irregular okurigana usage MA martial arts term male male term or language
    m-sl manga slang n noun (common) (futsuumeishi) n-adv adverbial noun (fukushitekimeishi) n-t noun (temporal) (jisoumeishi)
    neg negative (in a negative sentence, or with negative verb) neg-v negative verb (when used with) obs obsolete term obsc obscure term
    oK word containing out-dated kanji ok out-dated or obsolete kana usage pol polite (teineigo) language prt particle
    pref prefix qv quod vide (see another entry) sl slang sens term with some sensitivity about its usage
    suf suffix uK word usually written using kanji alone uk word usually written using kana alone v1 Ichidan verb
    v5 Godan verb (not completely classified) v5u, v5k, etc. Godan verb with `u', `ku', etc. endings v5k-s Godan verb - Iku/Yuku special class v5z Godan verb - -zuru special class (alternative form of -jiru verbs)
    v5aru Godan verb - -aru special class v5uru Godan verb - Uru old class verb (old form of Eru) vi intransitive verb vs noun or participle which takes the aux. verb suru
    vs-s suru verb - special class vk Kuru verb - special class vt transitive verb vulg vulgar expression or word
    P "Priority" entry, i.e. among approx. 20,000 words deemed to be common in Japanese X rude or X-rated term (not displayed in educational software) - - - -
    For more information about the P (Priority) markers, see the Word Priority Marking section in the JMdict/EDICT documentation.

    The following abbreviations are used in the Names dictionary file.

    s surname p place-name u person name, as-yet unclassified g given name, as-yet not classified by sex
    f female given name m male given name h a full (family plus given) name of a historical person - -

    The THE_LOT and GLOSSDIC files have the following codes attached to each entry to show the dictionary file from which it has been selected.

    AV aviation BU buddhdic CA cardic CC concrete
    CO compdic ED edict (the rest) EP edict (priority subset) ES engscidic
    EV envgloss FM finmktdic FO forsdic_e GA small gairaigo dictionary
    GE geodic KD small hiragana dictionary for glossing LG lingdic LS lifscidic
    LW1/2 lawdic1/2 MA manufdic NA enamdict PL j_places (entries not already in enamdict)
    PP pandpdic RH revhenkan (kanji/kana with no English translation yet) RW riverwater SP special words & phrases
    ST stardict - - - - - -

    In addition to the codes above, for gairaigo which have not been derived from English words, the source language has been indicated using the two-letter codes from the ISO 639:1988 "Code for the representation of names of languages" standard, e.g. ``(fr: avec)". Also there are tags which indicate that a word or phrase is associated with a particular regional language variant within Japan: kyb (Kyoto-ben), osb (Osaka-ben), ksb (Kansai-ben), ktb (Kantou-ben), tsb (Tosa-ben).

    In entries which are Japanese idiomatic expressions, aphorisms, etc. the literal translation of the Japanese is sometimes shown in paretheses, preceded by "lit:". Also where the Japanese word has been constructed by transliteration of two or more foreign words or word fragments (e.g., a waseieigo - Japanese-made English), the source words are shown in parentheses, preceded by "trans:".


    The material being displayed in WWWJDIC's pages is copyright. Much of it is drawn from dictionary files the copyright of most of which is held by the Electronic Dictionary Research and Development Group (EDRDG) at Monash University. Other material is associated with the WWWJDIC server and software. It is being made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike Licence. What does this mean in practical terms? Well:
    1. you can use WWWJDIC in the same way as you use a published dictionary to assist you with translating text and words. The results of your translation may be published, sold, etc. If you make heavy use of WWWJDIC it would be nice to acknowledge that, but there is no requirement to do more;
    2. you can link to WWWJDIC, e.g. using the backdoor entry, from other servers, provided you acknowledge that use on your server, and provide links to WWWJDIC and its documentation.
    3. if you wish to publish significant extracts of the output from WWWJDIC, for example if you use the Translate Words in Text function to generate a vocabulary list for a textbook of reading passages, then this comes under the scope of the licence for the dictionary files, which permits publication of subsets of the files. You must acknowledge the source of this information. Other information produced by the server, e.g. the verb conjugation tables, may be published but the source must be acknowledged.
    4. the Stroke Order Diagrams are under Jack Halpern's copyright. You may link to the pages displaying those images, but you must not download and store the images without Jack's permission.
    5. the example sentences are from the Tanaka Corpus and are in the Public Domain;
    For more details, see the licence statement covering the dictionary files.

    FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

    Input Display Keitai/Cellphones/Mobile phones Translate Words in Text Running WWWJDIC locally Miscellaneous


    (By Jim Breen)

    No sooner had the WWW come into being that servers accessing my dictionary files began to appear. The first, which operated briefly in 1994, was a slight rework of my xjdic program by Otfried Schwarzkopf. It overtaxed his 386, and was closed down fairly quickly, however by that stage Jeffrey Friedl's famous Dictionary engine was running. There was also Rafael Santos' system, the EVA/POETS engine at Notre Dame in Tokyo, PSP's ALISE-based system, etc. etc., as well as Lambert Schomaker's WWW edition of the KANJIDIC file. Most of these have faded away now.

    I had intended to have a WWW version of xjdic right from the moment I knew about the WWW, and in 1994 collected some information on writing CGI programs ready for the assault. It always seemed too big a task, and anyway Jeffrey's server was doing a good job. Eventually in mid-1997 it got too much for me, as I wanted to experiment with some features not handled by Jeffrey's server, and I also wanted to see my name in the WWW lights too, so I filleted out the search-engine parts of xjdic and dashed off a new CGI-oriented front-end. It only took a week or two of spare time and was up and running. I could easily have done it years before.

    WWWJDIC has proved popular, and has probably overtaken the early lead Jeffrey's server established. It has been relatively easy to modify, so I have tinkered with it quite a bit (see below.) In fact, it is now probably the major vehicle for me trying out things to do with Japanese dictionaries.

    Starting in late in 1998 I have installed a number of mirrors. The first two were quite a bit of work as I had effectively written a lot of hard-coded stuff pointing at the Monash site. The code is now fairly portable (for a Unix/Linux box running Apache.) Having a lot of mirrors brought in the problem of keeping them up-to-date. To handle this, in 2000 I set up an "rsync server" at Monash and have set "cron" scripts running at the mirror sites which periodically interrogate the Monash site and collect and install any updated files.





    ( This information is now rather historical, as most browsers and operating systems support the display of Japanese text.)

    As WWWJDIC provides no support for the display of Japanese words in a romanized form (Romaji), you will require some capability for displaying Japanese kana and kanji. The best way to do this is to install the appropriate Japanese fonts and set your browser to use them. Most modern browsers support that facility. If you do not wish to do that, you may access WWWJDIC via a special server that will send out bit-mapped versions of Japanese characters (see below.)

    If you are a Unix/Linux person using Mozilla, Netscape, Galeon, etc. all you have to do is make sure that a Japanese font file has been installed in the correct directory (e.g. /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/misc). Recent releases of Linux come with this included. You may have to make sure mkfontdir has been run too. You will then have to make sure that the browser knows to use this font when it encounters Japanese text. This is done (e.g. in Netscape) via the Edit/Preferences/Appearance/Fonts menu. If the WWW page is correctly marked as using Japanese, any Japanese text should appear immediately. Many WWW pages are not marked correctly, so you may have to to turn on Japanese viewing via the View/Character Set/Japanese (autodetect) menu. (Note that some Unix/Linux browsers do not allow input of Japanese via input methods such as kinput2. I use Mozilla, which does support kinput2.

    For Windows users, probably the best method is to make sure a Japanese True-Type Font (ttf) has been installed on your system, and set your browser to use it. For WindowsXP, etc. this should happen when you enable Japanese support. The Monash ftp archive has two Microsoft Japanese fonts available: Gothic and Mincho. These are both self-installing executable files. Once a font has been installed, you need to tell your browser to use that font for Japanese text. In Netscape this would be done via the Edit/Preferences/Appearance/Fonts menu. As ever, you will probably need to restart Windows to make it work.

    Windows users also have a more complete solution which is to install the language support Windows Update from Microsoft. It has become hard to find from that page, but fortunately it appears also to be available here. This brings in the Japanese Language Support and Japanese Input Method Editor which allow users to view and input Japanese with reasonable ease. The IME works with MS-IE and from V4.72 also works with Netscape.(Note that even if you have no intention of using IE, you may need to have it installed in order to be able to install the IME.) Later versions of Windows based on NT (2000, XP) come with fonts and an IME already.

    Macintosh users have various ways of browsing in Japanese. For an excellent description, see Christopher Bolton's Japanese for Your Mac page.

    If you do not want, or cannot operate a full Japanese environment for your browser, you can access WWWJDIC via another server which will insert bit-mapped graphic characters as required. One such server is available on the Monash site here.



    WWWJDIC is a single C program which takes its parameters from the URL (QUERY_STRING) and from the various buttons (POST method). It carries as much as it can of the user's state by loading the values of the various radio/checkboxes. View the source of some of the screens if you want to see how the CGI stuff is working.

    No database system is used. Each dictionary file is a single text file with a dictionary entry per line. Associated with each text file is an index file containing pointers to each element in an entry (see the xjdic documentation and source for more details on this.) The dictionary lookup is extremely fast and efficient.

    The program runs under the Apache server and on a number of different Unix-like operating systems, including Solaris, AIX, FreeBSD and several Linux distributions. No attempt has been made to run it under Windows.

    I originally planned to have a permanent dictionary search engine, with CGI programs calling it, as happens with Jeffrey's dictionary server. In the end I did not go ahead with this, as memory-mapped handling of the read-only dictionary files, and the significant caching carried out by the file system, achieves the same efficiency goal anyway.

    Japanese Character Codes

    WWWJDIC uses the EUC-JP coding for all its files and all internal processing. EUC-JP is also the default coding for the HTML it generates.

    The characters encoded in the files are from the JIS X 0208 character set which contains the Japanese kana and most common 6,355 kanji along with the Russian and Greek sets, plus the JIS X 0212 character set which includes a further 5,801 kanji plus some Latin characters with diacritics (acute, grave, umlaut, etc.)

    When pages are displayed using the EUC-JP or Shift_JIS encodings, characters from JIS X 0212 are displayed either as HTML entities or as 16x16 bit-mapped images. If the optional UTF-8 coding is used, all characters are displayed in that coding.


    Mirror sites stay up-to-date by connecting to the master site at Monash once each day, retrieving a manifest file, then retrieving any updated source or data files. The file retrieval is done using the rsync system, which is excellent for retrieving small portions of large files. (There is an anonymous rsync server running at Monash for this purpose.) According to the settings in the manifest file, modified source files are compiled, index files are generated, etc. as part of this daily update.

    I get a number of enquiries from people offering to host mirrors. I am not actively seeking many more mirrors, however I like to have a reasonable geographic spread. The basic requirements for a mirror site are:

    1. I must have an account on the system. Installation is complicated and not well documented.
    2. it must be a permanent arrangement, or at least one capable of being used for several years. I don't want to go to trouble setting it up only to have it withdrawn.
    3. it must be a Unix-like operating system (Solaris, Linux, AIX, etc.) It would take a major rewrite to get it to work in Microsoft's ASP, and I have no motivation to do that.
    4. it must have an Apache server running, plus a full suite of utility software, including gcc, wget, lynx, rsync, etc.
    5. it must be very well connected to the Internet. Having a poorly connected mirror is a waste of time.
    Also, I don't provide mirrors for individuals. Setting up a mirror takes a lot of my time.

    Personal Mirrors

    I get a lot of requests from people wanting to have a mirror on their own machine for local off-line use. At present I have to say "no". The code and data files are reasonably complex and quite undocumented. I simply do not have the time or energy to write installation and maintenance documentation, or to answer the inevitable questions that would arise.

    Also there is the issue of quality control. I make several changes to either the code or data every week. I can't guarantee personal mirrors would stay in step with all this, and I hate getting emails about things I have already fixed.


    If you want interface to WWWJDIC from another page or a CGI program, there is a "backdoor" entry which enables simple searches to be initiated via the URL QUERY_STRING. To use this, you must use the URL associated with the WWWJDIC cgi program, with the "backdoor" code set. The format is: where: Note that Japanese text has to be in the URL-escape coding with each byte as %xx.)


    1MKU4ed8 - look up the kanji with the Unicode codepoint "4ed8"

    1MMJ%E4%BB%98 - look up the kanji with the UTF8 code of "E4BB98".

    4MDJkoujou - look up the Japanese word "koujou" (romanized) in dictionary 4.

    1MDJ%C0%E8%C0%B8 - look up the Japanese word "sensei" (in kanji) using EUC-JP coding.

    1MSJ%90%E6%90%B6 - as above, but in Shift_JIS.

    1MUJ%E5%85%88%E7%94%9F - as above, but in UTF-8

    1MDErabbit - look up the word "rabbit" in EDICT

    9MGG%xx%xx%xx%xx%xx%xx%xx - gloss the (EUC) text

    Also, if you want to change the colour, numbers of line per page, etc. you can also add the URL customization parameters at the end of the URL string, e.g.:

    1MDEhorse_2_25_5_pink - look up "horse" and return the results on a pink page in Shift_JIS with 25 lines/page.

    Note that if you want to use this method with other sites, you will need to modify the URL accordingly.


    Several kind people have asked how if they can make donations to the WWWJDIC project, including the EDICT, ENAMDICT, etc. dictionary files. Well yes, they can. The project is part of the Electronic Dictionary Research and Development Group at Monash University, and donations help fund the ongoing development of the dictionaries and software. Also plans are under way to move the home site of WWWJDIC, EDICT, etc. away from Monash onto a commercial site (Jim has now retired from Monash), and it would be great to have it self-funding and not have to rely on things like advertising.

    If you are inclined to make a donation it would be most welcome. There are several ways of donating:


    The WWWJDIC server uses dictionary files from a wide variety of sources. Some of these files have been compiled and edited by Jim Breen and others associated with the JMdict/EDICT project, and while every effort has been made to ensure their accuracy, there are sure to be some errors. Other files have come from external sources and are of varying qualities.

    Monash University and other providers of the WWWJDIC server make NO WARRANTY as to the accuracy of the information provided by the servers and advise users that any use of the servers is ENTIRELY at their own risk.


    I want to record my thanks to a few of the key people who have helped with the server. E&OE.
    Go to Jim Breen's Japanese Page.