Electronic Dictionaries can be a real time saver for the student of Japanese. Although none are made specifically for the native English speaker, the Jump function now found in virtually all models makes it accessible for nearly all learners of Japanese. Traditionally Canon (Wordtank) has been the favorite among English speakers. This is because in the 90’s Canon was the only one with the ‘jump’ function (?fact check?) and a full English manual. Recent models across brands all have the ‘jump’ function and many have a section of English in the Japanese manuals. Interestingly, new Canon models have not included an English manual.
Pre-Requisites: At a minimum, you must have a working knowledge of hiragana to use all dictionaries except the romaji Ectaco models (see below). I usually recommend knowing the meaning of 100-200 kanji before getting a non-romaji model. This is because it will display full Japanese with kanji. If you see a kanji or word you don’t know, you can easily select it and jump to the J-E dictionary to find the meaning and pronunciation. This is easy, but if you know less than 100 kanji, you may be jumping a lot.
Romaji: Romaji is not recommended for the serious student, but for businessmen, the casual traveler or even the very beginner ‘needing’ an electronic dictionary, it may be the only choice.
For years the reigning king of romaji dictionaries was the Seiko RM2000. Seiko stopped making this easy to use dictionary in 2004-2005 and now all new store stock appears to have dried up. Today the only choice for a romaji dictionary is made by Ectaco. The Ectaco interface is clumsy and they use their own dictionaries which are not nearly as nice as the professional dictionaries. Still, for those seeking romaji output, this is the only option I know of.
Manufacturers include: Canon, Seiko, Sharp, Casio and Sony; Ectaco is a company that makes dictionaries for all languages including Japanese.
Common Useful Functions
Jump | Word Memo | Drawing kanji on the screen | Real Time Search | Preview Function | Example Sentence Search | All in One Search | Font Sizes
Using a stylus to look up kanji (Canon V80, V90, G90 and V70)
Tip on finding ALL jukugo for a kanji (with Seiko models)
If you own a dictionary, please post your review for future students. The following is only a small sampling of what is out there.
Canon: G70 G90 V80 V90 IDF-3000 (now out of production)
Seiko: SR-E10000 SR-E9000 SR-T7100 RM2000 (now out of production)
Sharp: PW9920 PW-N8000 PW-A8400