What is RomajiDesu?
RomajiDesu mean 'This is Roman Character', it's a pun name because Romaji is way of Romanization of Japanese writing. It's arguable about the usefulness of Romaji, but it sure is less scary to Japanese beginners.
RomajiDesu is a free website which features several tools to assist Japanese learners. Currently, RomajiDesu supports:
- Japanese/English dictionary: Romajidesu Dictionary is a easy to use Japanese/Romaji/English dictionary where you type in the word in Japanese, Hiragana, Romaji or even English to look up the meaning and the related sentences containing the searched word.
- Kanji/English dictionary: RomajiDesu Kanji dictionary have an advanced but simple Kanji look up where you can search Kanji by Kanji, English meaning, pronunciation (On and Kun reading), or search for Kanji used in a specific highschool's grade, stroke orders, skip code, or JLPT level. You can also use a powerful multi-radical Kanji look up method. The kanji information are included with some related words and nicely drawn stroke order diagrams.
- Romaji to Hiragana converter: Basically, you can type or copy Romaji (e.g. a Japanese song) to be converted to Hiragana script. You can also translate it into English (I use Google Translate's engine). The translation of course is far from perfect, but sometimes it's useful to get the general idea of the original text.
- Romaji to Katakana converter: Convert Romaji to Katakana. Basically, it is used to get the foreign words or names (Eg: hotel->hoteru->ホテル, Smith->Sumisu->スミス).
- Japanese to Romaji converter:
You can copy a Japanese text (which can be a combination of Hiragana/Katakana/Kanji)
and paste it here to convert it to Romaji.
Note: This section is no longer supported from version 2.0 because I want to improve it to higher accuracy.
There are a lot of advice against the use of Romaji in practising Japanese. In my opinion, Romaji is still very useful for Japanese beginning learners as it's less scary and the complicated Japanese writing system. The advantage of Romaji compares to Hiragana/Katakana is that it has words space that serve as visual cue for identifying the words. But when you are really into Japanese, you cannot avoid Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji eventually. The reason is that you need to practise a lot to master a Japanese and you need to be able to read those characters in media, internet, etc.
The first inspiration for me to create RomajiDesu came from Japanese songs, especially beautiful songs like "Yuki no Hana" (雪の華, Snow flower), "Ue o Muite Arukō" (上を向いて歩こう, aka. Sukiyaki), etc. that made me sing along. Then I knew by heart the lyrics (romaji) of some of those songs and started to wonder about the meaning of their lyrics.
What are Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji, Rōmaji?
If you stumble on this question, that means you have no idea whatsoever about Japanese, a language spoken by over one hundreds millions people. "It's not an answer," you said. Well, Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji are three syllabaries used in Japanese writing system. Hiragana and Katakana are used for native Japanese words and foreign words accordingly, while Kanji characters are basically old Chinese characters. Rōmaji is the Romanization of Japanese by using Latin script to write the Japanese language.
I have some suggestions/I want to add some words to the database?
If you have any suggestion or Japanese related information you want to share, please send an email to me at haibuihoang [at] gmail.com.
Data sources and copyright information
A major part of the database (Japanese to Romaji) was taken from Electronic Dictionary Research and Development Group, Faculty of Information Technology, Monash University. The detail data copyright information are list as follows:
- Professor Jim Breen's JMDic database for English-Japanese dictionary
- Professor Jim Breen's KANJIDIC database for Kanji dictionary.
- The example sentences database is taken from the Tanaka Corpus.
- RomajiDesu Multi-radical Kanki lookup uses the (modified) decomposition of the 6,355 kanji KRADFILE, although the AJAX code are written by myself.
- Kanji Strokes orders diragrams are geneneted using the data from Ulrich Apel's KanjiVG project.