Kansuke: A Kanji Look-Up System Based on a Few Stroke Prototypes

  • Kumiko Tanaka-Ishii
  • Julian Godon
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4285)


We have developed a method that makes it easier for language beginners to look up Japanese kanji characters. Instead of using the arbitrary conventions of kanjis, this method is based on three simple prototypes: horizontal, vertical, and other strokes. For example, the code for the kanji \(\boxplus\) (ta, meaning rice field) is ‘3-3-0’, indicating the kanji consists of three horizontal strokes and three vertical strokes. Such codes allow a beginner to look up kanjis even with no knowledge of the ideographic conventions used by native speakers. To make the search easier, a complex kanji can be looked up via the components making up the kanji. We conducted a user evaluation of this system and found that non-native speakers could look up kanjis more quickly and reliably, and with fewer failures, with our system than with conventional methods.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kumiko Tanaka-Ishii
    • 1
  • Julian Godon
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of Information Science and TechnologyUniversity of Tokyo 

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