Japanese Dictionaries

This is an extremely work-in-progress document trying to make sense of the extremely vast and confusing landscape of digital Japanese dictionaries, such as JMdict. Eventually, I’d like to expand this page to document all kinds of digital dictionary formats (not just Japanese ones), as well as related ones such as frequency databases.


To get an overview of the available dictionaries, the following sources are currently being used:


Combining the dictionaries utilized by the above sources results in the following list:


To download most of the dictionaries above, one could, for example, use the following text file with aria2:

# JMdict/EDICT
ftp://ftp.edrdg.org/pub/Nihongo/JMdict         http://ftp.edrdg.org/pub/Nihongo/JMdict
ftp://ftp.edrdg.org/pub/Nihongo/JMdict_e       http://ftp.edrdg.org/pub/Nihongo/JMdict_e
ftp://ftp.edrdg.org/pub/Nihongo/JMdict_e_examp http://ftp.edrdg.org/pub/Nihongo/JMdict_e_examp
ftp://ftp.edrdg.org/pub/Nihongo/edict          http://ftp.edrdg.org/pub/Nihongo/edict
ftp://ftp.edrdg.org/pub/Nihongo/edict2         http://ftp.edrdg.org/pub/Nihongo/edict2

ftp://ftp.edrdg.org/pub/Nihongo/enamdict       http://ftp.edrdg.org/pub/Nihongo/enamdict
ftp://ftp.edrdg.org/pub/Nihongo/JMnedict.xml   http://ftp.edrdg.org/pub/Nihongo/JMnedict.xml

ftp://ftp.edrdg.org/pub/Nihongo/kanjidic2.xml  http://ftp.edrdg.org/pub/Nihongo/kanjidic2.xml
ftp://ftp.edrdg.org/pub/Nihongo/kanjidic       http://ftp.edrdg.org/pub/Nihongo/kanjidic
ftp://ftp.edrdg.org/pub/Nihongo/kanjd212       http://ftp.edrdg.org/pub/Nihongo/kanjd212

# Kanjium

# Rikaichan

This will just grab the “most important” files, i. e. the ones listed as download links on the respective pages. More files from the EDRDG are listed here.


JMdict is available in three formats. More information can be found here, but in short:

JMnedict uses a similar format to JMdict, with details available under the “Format” section here.

The format used by KANJIDIC is documented on its page as well.

RikaiCake serves its entire database via two HTML tables here, though DataTables is used to make it more accessible. To download it, grabbing the source code of that page is recommended – there doesn’t seem to be any other method at the moment.

Yomichan also provides downloads of a lot of the aforementioned dictionaries, preprocessed into a simple JSON format, though these may be out of date due to being unofficial.

Due to EPWING being a proprietary format, not much is known about it. However, its Wikipedia page provides a few details about the various specifications (EPWING V1 through V6, as well as EPWING ST). It should be noted that EPWING dictionaries are not stored in a single file, but rather a directory tree.

Wadoku makes its database available as an XML dump, which includes an XML schema (.XSD), as well as an EDICT2 file. A (presumably third-party) EPWING-compatible dump can be found at OSDN.


If you have found your way here, you may also be interested in PyGlossary, which is a tool for reading, writing and converting various dictionary formats, including JMdict/EDICT. I am not affiliated with any of its authors, but legitimately think it is a great utility, especially since it supports a lot of other, lesser known formats as well.


Huge thanks to everyone involved with the above dictionaries and sources, especially the Electronic Dictionary Research and Development Group.