World Wide Web CJK-English Dictionary Database

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Development and Contributions Page 

Edited by Dr. Charles Muller 
Toyo Gakuen University 
Established: 97.04.25 
Updated: 97:04.25 


Introduction (if this is your first time here, please read)

Our current age offers us a dramatic new potential in terms of the exchange and development of textual research resources, as it is now possible to gather and transmit information with an ease and rapidity which was inconceivable through earlier media. And while with books and articles it will always be to sit down in a leisurely manner and peruse a hard copy, dictionaries and related reference materials, which are based upon compartmentalized data formats, are extremely well-suited for the digital domain, as they offer search and retrieval capabilities which are impossible in paper form—and yet they can also be converted to paper form in a moment. It is in recognition of this fact that I made the decision to make my CJK lexicographical compilation available in HTML format on the Internet. 

 This dictionary-database represents the results of many years of research in East Asian pre-modern texts, from Zhou dynasty materials to nineteenth-century writings in China, Korea and Japan. Being the work of only one scholar, it is necessarily incomplete. Nevertheless, besides its digital attributes, this dictionary already surpasses many of its hard-copy counterpart dictionaries in a number of ways. The number of single characters with full information contained in the database is already (to date) 8,000, more than is contained in Mathews (although Mathews still has many more compound entries). The definitions contained in this dictionary are, for the most part, far more extensive than any other current CJK-English dictionary, being derived from a wide range of authoritative Chinese, Korean and Japanese lexicons as well as through the direct reading of primary textual sources. (There are still a few exceptions to this general rule, as there are some characters which were done quite early in the project, which I have not yet gotten back to. These are being upgraded on a steady basis). 

While a number of the Japanese-oriented modern Kanji Dictionaries which have appeared during recent decades have been of high quality in terms of precision within their specific respective purviews, they are, from the perspective of the classical scholar limited in scope and orientation, and not that useful to those who are doing scholarly research/translation of pre-modern hanwen/hanmun/kanbun texts, who need to know all of the ancient semantic implementations and readings of a particular character, along with extensive pre-modern compounds. 

Therefore, the present work is intended to serve as starting point towards filling in this dearth in Western scholarship on traditional East Asian language, literature, history, philosophy and religion. Toward this aim I perceive this dictionary-database a unique focal point for a large, ongoing, collaborative project, wherein scholars from around the world may freely contribute the fruits of their own studies. Therefore, students and scholars who use this dictionary as a resource in their textual research are strongly urged to cooperate by forwarding their own contributions (especially compound words) via e-mail using the attached contribution templates. As these contributions are added to the database, credit will be duly noted, both in the individual data entry and in a separate credits sheet. 

State of the compilation

Setting up locally

I have provided a zip file (, which includes all necessary files to set up the dictionary locally. All you have to do is download the file and unpack it in a single directory, and make a link to the generalindex.htm file. University libraries and East Asian Studies programs are strongly encouraged to download the dictionary and set it up on their  local servers, so that students and faculty members may have speedy access. I would just like to ask that if you do this, to please let me know the URL, so I can place it on the mirror-sites list and allow people from various regions to have easier access. It will also enable me to notify you when there is an updated version available.