Learn Japanese Kanji, Katakana and Hiragana With Tagaini Jisho

Martin Brinkmann
May 6, 2012
Updated • Dec 12, 2012

When it comes to learning foreign languages, I never came upon a more learning intensive language than Japanese. This can be partially attributed to the foreign characters, and to the fact that you have to get your head around multiple alphabets and thousands of Kanji signs.

Japanese learning software can help students tremendously in the task, both when memorizing and understanding the different alphabets and signs, but also when trying to improve Kanji drawing skills.

Tagaini Jisho is another excellent free Japanese dictionary and Kanji lookup tool that is available as a Open Source application for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

It takes little time to get accustomed to the program. You can look up any Kanji right away in the interface by using the search form at the top right. The program accepts both English words, Japanese signs, and Romaji. You see both the Japanese Kanji and the English (sometimes German as well) meanings of the word.

The software ships with stroke order animations for more than 6000 Kanji, which you can play directly in the program to learn how to draw Kanji. It lacks a drawing module though, which means that you should have a sheet of paper at hand, or an image editor open to practice the drawings.

It is possible to add looked up word to a study list that the program maintains. The study list can be used in tests that the program creates for you, or as a way to learn new words or words that you have difficulties with. Personal notes and tags can be added at any point in time, which may contain custom explanations, memory hooks or related words or signs.

The program in addition can display both the Katakana and the Hiragana alphabets in the interface, again with options to add individual letters to the study list.

Print and export options are provided as well. When it comes to printing, options to print normally or in booklet format are available. The export options include HTML and TSV formats.

Closing Words

The program's strength is its search feature, which you can use during your studies. The Kanji animations are also excellent to get a better understanding of how characters and signs are drawn correctly. When it comes to tests though, it is not the most sophisticated of tools just yet. Still, if you are currently learning Japanese, or have the intention to start learning the language, then this is a tool to have in your arsenal.


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  1. Alessandro said on January 21, 2014 at 7:06 am

    Oh,there is other interesting app to learn japanese.
    Well,Im using this app since a week ago,and this is very useful
    Before that I would try this app,i was some confuse because the order of the kanji
    was some confuse,and only a few kanji I knew how to write it correctly.
    a week ago I finished the first kanji level thats some easy and i did it,I was searching some app to lear japanese when I found tagaini my life changed,now my purpose is to learn a kanji per day only the level one I gonna spent two month in this.It is great how to read Kun,On and Nanori readings and taigaini i glad to have this app ^.^ very happy.Im gonna to learn kanji from level one to level 2 with the all readings principally and after that enter to a japanese academy that is an university near my house.PD: Learning japanese since 2013 July,now i going to learn fast with this.
    Thanks for read.
    Contact me: asuc07@hotmail.es

  2. Crodol said on May 7, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    Great program thanks. I have been learning myself a bit of Japanese for my recent visit there a month ago.

    I was also using the spaced repetition software called Anki, it is very good too.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 7, 2012 at 11:26 pm

      I agree, Anki is nice as well. We have reviewed it here on Ghacks some time ago.

  3. Anonymous said on May 6, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    This program sounds excellent. I should try it asap. Thanks and bring us more similar programs for Japanese.

  4. Alfredo said on May 6, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    Wow nice! is there some similar tool to learn chinese characters? thanx

  5. jay said on May 6, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Hmm seems interesting thanks! I was searchin for days for japanese lessons since i watch alot of anime especially ones that are not eng subbed which makes me mad, hope i can broaden my understanding

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