Andrew V Parker's life one post at a time

Reading Kanji on the Web

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Tinyapps has a post (complete with some nice screenshots) discussing the use of jBrowse, which augments a web page with “furigana” (Kanji with the hiragana reading above it). While it’s a great idea, it’s a plugin that is only available for Internet Explorer (firefox and safari are both superior).

rikai.com is a great alternative that uses javascript to augment a site, displaying the readings and meanings of Kanji (including compounds, and some katakana words) when you mouse over the page. Just enter the URL into the box near the top of the page, and hit Go.

For example, given the following text:

2年前から日本語をべんきょうしています。 私の日本語はまだ下手ですががんばています! (For the last 2 years I’ve been studying Japanese. My Japanese is still poor, but I’m sticking with it!)

The augmented version of this page will look like

example of rikai.com augmentation


  • You can also enter Japanese text directly into the box for a translation.
  • If you enter a URL, make sure it is the only thing in the box, otherwise it will be interpreted as text (see above point). This includes empty lines (i.e. don’t put in the link and press <Enter>)
  • The augmented page has some advertising at the top
  • It doesn’t seem to work when the URL contains japanese. For example, my blog entry こんにちは! doesn’t work.