One of the more intimidating things about using a Japanese-Japanese dictionary for the first time is, well, that it’s all in Japanese. What’s a Japanese-loving student to do? How do you even use the thing? Well, I’d say that learning the vocabulary you need in order to use the dictionary is part of the fun. But, it does help to have an explanation. With that in mind, here is a guide on how to use the Sanseido Web Dictionary.
If you’re just getting started using Japanese-Japanese dictionaries, I recommend this dictionary because the entries (in the free version) are short, clear and concise. When you’re just starting out, a long Japanese explanation may just scare or confuse you. With this dictionary, that shouldn’t be the case.
1. Navigate to the Sanseido website. At this writing, the page should look something like this.
2. Under 【辞書を引く】(じ・しょ を ひ・く look up in the dictionary) is a textbox. This is the searchbox. There, type in what you are wanting to search. For this example, we type in the word “ここ” as searchtext. Note: Generally, your searchtext should either be all kanji or all kana. Never mix; the dictionary will likely be unable to handle it (i.e. it won’t return you any matches).
- By default, the dictionary is set to “前方一致” (ぜん・ぽう・いっ・ち）, which means it will find all entries that start with what you search. This is good enough for most purposes.
- 完全一致(かん・ぜん・いっ・ち) will give you only exact matches.
- 後方一致（こう・ほう・いっ・ち） will find matching entries that end with what you search.
- 全文検索（ぜん・ぶん・けん・さく） won’t only match the headwords of the entries, but will also search their definition text.
- 成句検索（せい・く・けん・さく） searches example sentences within definitions (I think)
3. OK, now that you’ve entered the text you want to search (“ここ”), click on the 【検索】 (けん・さく、search) button — the searchbutton.
4. Sweet. You’ve clicked the searchbutton. Now, a new window should open; it will contain your results in a column to the left of the screen. Select the best match. The right side of the screen will have the definition and example sentences of the first or currently selected match.
5. You’ll notice that the Sanseido dictionary searches multiple dictionaries by default. It’s fine to have English down at the bottom of the screen for a while, but it is a crutch and you do want to get over it. There’s a simple way to disable English. Just follow the images below. In each case, you:
i. Click on the drop-down boxes on the second row at the top of the screen, to the right of 【辞書を選択】(じ・しょ を せん・たく, select dictionaries), and
ii. Select 【選択しない】（せん・たく しない, do not select)
Part 1: Disable English-Japanese
Part 2: Disable Japanese-English
Presto. You are now officially “sorted, mate”. English is out of your life. You’ll find there’s more space for your Japanese matches.
6. Oh, before we forget. From now on, you don’t need to go back to the main page to search. You can just use the searchbox and searchbutton on the results page.
Anyway, I hope that this has helped you and that I’m not explaining something that’s painfully obvious and didn’t require explanation. Either way, please let me know by way of comment (bottom of the screen). Thanks!