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New Japanese-English Character Dictionary
Author Jack Halpern
Publisher Kenkyusha
CategoryKanji to English
ISBNs0844284343 [COPAC, Webcatplus, Wikipedia]
4767490405 [COPAC, Webcatplus, Wikipedia]

Review of New Japanese-English Character Dictionary by Mark Pearce

Things I Like:

1. Key Words. They way Halpern attempts to capture the meanings of a kanji in one or two key words is a great benefit to memorization.

2. Lots of Useful Information. Each character appears with information about its place in the Jouyou Kanji List, frequency of use, various script forms, radical information, Chinese equivalent, synonyms, homonyms, etc.

3. Useful Appendices. The various kanji lists, proper nouns, key word index, frequency index, astrological signs, etc, make this one of the most attractive parts of this volume.

Things I Don't Like:

1. SKIP. This revolutionary look-up method is easy to learn and quick to use for about 75% of all characters I've encountered. As for those characters that cannot easily be placed in the first three SKIP categories, it takes me much longer to locate them than it would in a conventional dictionary. Even for the majority, however, once you get to the pages containing those characters with the same SKIP number, you still have to shuffle through several pages until you find the one you're looking for. I found it in most cases to be no better or faster than the traditional radical method.

2. Few Compounds. Rather than attempting to show an exaustive list of compounds for each character, Halpern seems to settle for a representative sample. This, I believe lessens its usefulness as a dictionary.

☆ See all reviews by Mark Pearce.

For questions, comments, or if you would like to add your review to the above list, please email Ben Bullock <> or use the discussion group for this web site.