zkanji is a free and open-source program running on Windows, made for students of the Japanese language, and anyone who would like to keep their Japanese knowledge in shape.
Operating system (Only Windows): XP, Vista, 7, 8 (Also works with Wine in XP mode)
There is no support for Windows 98/ME or older. The program might not work under Windows 2000. It was never tested.
Hard disk space: 75 MB: 40 MB installed + 35 generated. zkanji also creates backups, which is by default around 60 MB. Depending on the settings the program might take up additional 30-100 MB or more.
Memory: 60 MB (and an additional ~30 MB for every user dictionary.)
Recommended: Any CPU above 500MHz, 1024 MB of RAM, and 1024 pixels wide display resolution.
An IME installation, or (when not available) at least one Japanese font intalled on the system. Refer to your favorite web search for further information about Japanese character support under Windows.
Download and start the setup program, and follow the instructions.
zkanji v0.715 and newer comes with an automatic updater that downloads and installs updates as requested.
In case you would like the program to be portable, or for some reason the setup program cannot be run,
you can also download zkanji in a ZIP file. In that case you'll have to unpack the
full archive correctly.
- Create a folder for the program.
- Unpack the ZIP file, making sure all folders inside the archive get created.
- Check whether the "data" folder has been created.
- If not, create the "data" folder in the zkanji program folder, and copy everything apart from zkanji.exe into it.
How to update zkanji manually*:
*If you would like the dictionary and the example sentences updated, use the automatic updater! It doesn't break portable installations.
If not explicitly stated, any newer version of the zkanji
executable can run with the datafile of the previous
- Download the executable only version of zkanji, and extract
it to the zkanji program directory, overwriting the executable
file (and anything else if present).
- In case there is no executable only version for a release,
the full package must be obtained for the program to run,
because this means it is not compatible with the datafile of
- Old user data formats will be automatically converted if necessary. Very old
formats must be first converted with previous versions of zkanji.
Adding example sentences:
An example sentences database is available for zkanji, but unless
you installed with the setup program, it must be download separately, as it is not included in the
main ZIP package.
- Download the ZIP file and extract it to the zkanji program folder.
- Check whether the examples.zkj file was extracted to the "data" folder.
- If not, move it there, overwriting the old file.
- Fast word look-up in the JMDict dictionary, a Japanese dictionary database that contains over 190,000 words and expressions.
- A convenient popup dictionary that can be activated with system-wide shortcuts to find translations quickly while working wih other programs, and then go back to what you were doing with very little distraction.
- Find words relevant to the Japanese-Language Profeciency Test (JLPT), including an approximation of the N3 level.
- Both kanji and kana symbols can be used in dictionary searches.
- Browse through thousands of example sentences while looking up words in the dictionary to get an idea about how the more frequent words are used.
- Type an inflected/conjugated word and see what inflections altered the word.
- The results are shown as you type, with the most common words at the top of the list.
Kanji character dictionary:
- Easy kanji look-up by readings, meanings, radical, radical at position, radical by name, JLPT level, parts, SKIP-code, Four Corner Code (with visual selection) and numerical codes in the most known dictionaries.
- Recognize 6355 kanji and all modern kana characters written with a mouse or tablet.
- Kanji stroke order animation (SOD) and numbered stroke order diagrams for all kanji in the database.
- Convenient kanji look-up window that stays on top of other programs, which is useful while reading something full-screen.
- Select which information you would like to see for kanji in a configurable kanji information window. Including meanings, readings, kanji radical, kanji parts, similar kanji and more.
Study with zkanji:
- A spaced repetition system for word study that computes the optimal interval for study items to test on each day.
- Create word and kanji groups to collect words and kanji that you would like to study in the future, or to organize your knowledge.
- Separate study groups for selected words to study with customizable study options. Set whether you'd like to select the answer in a 5 choice list, or to type in the answer without any unnecessary hints.
For non-native English speakers:
- Make your own searchable dictionary with your custom definitions and word types in your own language.
- Add custom meanings for kanji.
- Dictionary export and import with many options for building a dictionary in cooperation with someone else.
- Print vocabulary with or without kana hints (for kanji readings).
- Import vocabulary from Wakan to a custom user dictionary.