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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.

System requirements

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.

Installation instructions

Normal installation:

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.

Manual installation:

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.

  1. Create a folder for the program.
  2. Unpack the ZIP file, making sure all folders inside the archive get created.
  3. Check whether the "data" folder has been created.
  4. 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 version.

  1. Download the executable only version of zkanji, and extract it to the zkanji program directory, overwriting the executable file (and anything else if present).
  2. 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 previous versions.
  3. 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.

  1. Download the ZIP file and extract it to the zkanji program folder.
  2. Check whether the examples.zkj file was extracted to the "data" folder.
  3. If not, move it there, overwriting the old file.

Program features

Word dictionary:

Kanji character dictionary:

Study with zkanji:

For non-native English speakers: