Electronic Japanese Dictionaries

Review of the Nintendo Gameboy DS Lite +

漢字そのまま DS楽引辞典 (Kanji Sonomama Rakubiki Jiten) Dictionary Cartridge

Gameboy EJD Cartridge    The Nintendo Gameboy DS Lite with touchscreen is a revolutionary device that has expanded well beyond the realm of video games.
    One of the cartridges that is available for the DS is the 漢字そのまま DS楽引辞典 (Kanji Sonomama Rakubiki Jiten) Dictionary Cartridge, hereafter refered to as the KSRJ.
    In the past, very few electronic japanese dictionaries (EJDs) had pen or handwriting input, and the handful that were out were unique, sold-in-Japan only devices such as the Sharp MI Zaurus PDA series, a few PocketPC PDAs, and a small number of EJDs from the major EJD makers such as Seiko.
    This was due to the then costly requirement for a computer processor that could handle the complexities of pen and handwriting input, as well as the associated memory and other hardware necessary.
    However, today, the Gameboy DS easily packs more processing power than computers from a decade ago, and can easily match the processing power of PDAs.

    So today, we have one of the few devices available to the majority of foreigners learning Japanese that is competitively priced ($130 for the DS Lite, $50 for the KSRJ cartridge), widely available, and has handwritten input that works well.

    The offical website for the KSRJ has complete specifications and an overview of its capabilities.

    The cartridge goes into the DS Lite like any other DS cartridge, and appears in the startup menu as a selectable DS game you can launch.  Once you've launched the KSRJ dictionary, the first thing you will see is a checkbox in the upper corner that will let you into the full program.  Simply click on it and you're ready to lookup entries.

     The KSRJ dictionary has three dictionaries, the commonly used Genius Japanese to English (JE) with 82,000 entries and English to Japanese (EJ) volumes with 95,00 entries that many other EJDs will have, and the Meikyo Japanese to Japanese (JJ) dictionary that some prefer due to its more modern entry definitions.

     This matches the basic set of dictionaries you'll find in many other EJDs from Casio, Canon, Seiko, etc. so you'll be able to lookup most common words in use in either language.

      In addition, the KSRJ cartridge also comes with two TOEIC flashcard lists of words to help Japanese speakers in achieving the 470 and 600 level of competency in this test of English.