Copyright (C) 2006 The Electronic Dictionary Research and Development Group, Monash University.




The JMdict/EDICT project has as its goal the production of a freely available Japanese/English Dictionary in machine-readable form.

The project began in 1991 with the expansion of the "EDICT" simple Japanese-English dictionary file. (See below under History)

At present the project has the following dictionary files available:

An internal database is used to hold all the data associated with the project, and the files are generated from using conversion utility software.

The files are copyright, and distributed in accordance with the Licence Statement, which can found at the WWW site of the Electronic Dictionary Research and Development Group who are the owners of the copyright.


The project's master database is continuously being updated and new versions of the file are generated daily. The date of generation is included in the header of the file.

The files are currently distributed via the Monash University ftp server, which also provides an rsync service.


The are several forums where this project is actively discussed.

The original forum was the sci.lang.japan Usenet newsgroup. More recently a mailing list specifically for project discussion has begun. (Mail to to initiate subscription.)


The basic format of the entries in the dictionary files can be seen in detail by examining the DTD (Document Type Declaration) of the XML-format JMdict file. The DTD is heavily annotated with content and structural information.

In summary, each dictionary entry is independent, although there may be cross-reference fields pointing to other entries. Each entry consists of

  1. kanji elements, i.e. headwords containing at least one kanji character, plus associated tags indicating some status or characteristic of the headword;

  2. reading elements, containing either the reading in kana of the headword, or the headword itself in the case of headwords only in kana. The elements also include tags indicating some status or characteristics;

  3. general coded information relating to the entry as a whole, such as original language, date-of-creation, etc.

  4. sense elements, containing the translational equivalents or glosses of the headword(s). As Japanese is not highly polysemous, there is often only one sense. Associated with the sense elements is other coded data indicating the part-of-speech, field of application, miscellaneous information, etc.

The format and coding of the distributed files is as follows:

  1. the JMdict file contains the complete dictionary information in XML format as per the DTD. This file is in Unicode/ISO-10646 coding using UTF-8 encapsulation.

  2. the EDICT file is in a relatively simple format based on the text data file of the SKK input-method. Each entry is in the form:

    KANJI [KANA] /(general information) gloss/gloss/.../


    KANA /(general information) gloss/gloss/.../

    Where there are multiple senses, these are indicated by (1), (2), etc. before the first gloss in each sense. As this format only allows a single kanji headword and reading, entries are generated for each possible headword/reading combination. As the format restricts Japanese characters to the kanji and kana fields, any cross-reference data and other informational fields are omitted.

    The EDICT file is distributed in JIS X 0208 coding in EUC-JP encapsulation;

  3. the EDICT2 file is in an expanded form of the original EDICT format. The main differences are the inclusion of multiple kanji headwords and readings, and the inclusion of cross-reference and other information fields, e.g.:

    KANJI-1;KANJI-2 [KANA-1;KANA-2] /(general information) (see xxxx) gloss/gloss/.../

    The EDICT2 file is also distributed in JIS X 0208 coding in EUC-JP encapsulation;

  4. the EDICT_SUB file is in the same format as the EDICT file.

None of the files have the entries in any particular order.


The project was begun in 1991 by the current editor (Jim Breen) when an early DOS-based Japanese word-processor (MOKE - Mark's Own Kanji Editor) was released, containing an initial small version of the EDICT file. This was progressively expanded and edited over the following years. In 1999 the EDICT, which by this time contained about 60,000 entries, was converted into an expanded format and the first XML-format JMdict file released. The EDICT2 format was created in 2003, primarily for use with the WWWJDIC dictionary server.

The growth in entries in the file is largely due to the efforts of Jim and the many people who contributed entries to it over the years. The increase in entry numbers has slowed as the file has achieved coverage of a large proportion of the Japanese lexicon. Much of the editorial work in recent years has concentrated on amendments and expansion to existing entries.

A more expanded explanation of the early developments in the EDICT file can be found in the original documentation.


Dictionary copyright is a difficult point, because clearly the first lexicographer who published "inu means dog" could not claim a copyright violation over all subsequent Japanese dictionaries. While it is usual to consult other dictionaries for "accurate lexicographic information", as Nelson put it, wholesale copying is, of course, not permissible, and contributors have been advised to avoid direct copying from other sources. What makes each dictionary unique (and copyright-able) is the particular selection of words, the phrasing of the meanings, the presentation of the contents (a very important point in the case of this project), and the means of publication.

The files of the project are copyright, and distributed in accordance with the Licence Statement, which can found at the WWW site of the Electronic Dictionary Research and Development Group who are the current owners of the copyright. As explained in the licence, the files are available for use for most purposes provided acknowledgement and distribution of the documentation is made.


  1. Inflections, etc.

    In general no inflections of verbs or adjectives have been included, except in idiomatic expressions. Adverbs formed from adjectives (e.g., -ku or -ni) are generally not included. Verbs are, of course, in the plain or "dictionary" form.

    Composed forms, such as adverbs taking the "to" particle, keiyoudoushi adjectives, etc. are only included in their root from, however the part-of-speech (POS) marker is used to indicate their status.

    Nouns which can form a verb withe the auxiliary verb "suru" only appear in their noun form, but have a POS marker: "vs", to indicate the existence of a verbal form. In general the gloss only relates to the noun itself, but entries are being progressively expanded to include the verbal glosses as well.

  2. Part of Speech Marking

    The following POS markings are currently used:

    adj	adjective (keiyoushi)
    adj-na	adjectival nouns or quasi-adjectives (keiyodoshi)
    adj-no	nouns which may take the genitive case particle `no'
    adj-pn	pre-noun adjectival (rentaishi)
    adj-t	`taru' adjective
    adv	adverb (fukushi)
    adv-n	adverbial noun
    adv-to	adverb taking the `to' particle
    aux	auxiliary
    aux-v	auxiliary verb
    aux-adj	auxiliary adjective
    conj	conjunction
    exp	Expressions (phrases, clauses, etc.)
    id	idiomatic expression
    int	interjection (kandoushi)
    iv	irregular verb
    n	noun (common) (futsuumeishi)
    n-adv	adverbial noun (fukushitekimeishi)
    n-pref	noun, used as a prefix
    n-suf	noun, used as a suffix
    n-t	noun (temporal) (jisoumeishi)
    neg	negative (in a negative sentence, or with negative verb)
    neg-v	negative verb (when used with)
    num	numeric
    pref	prefix
    prt	particle
    suf	suffix
    v1	Ichidan verb
    v5	Godan verb (not completely classified)
    v5aru	Godan verb - -aru special class
    v5b	Godan verb with `bu' ending
    v5g	Godan verb with `gu' ending
    v5k	Godan verb with `ku' ending
    v5k-s	Godan verb - iku/yuku special class
    v5m	Godan verb with `mu' ending
    v5n	Godan verb with `nu' ending
    v5r	Godan verb with `ru' ending
    v5r-i	Godan verb with `ru' ending (irregular verb)
    v5s	Godan verb with `su' ending
    v5t	Godan verb with `tsu' ending
    v5u	Godan verb with `u' ending
    v5u-s	Godan verb with `u' ending (special class)
    v5uru	Godan verb - uru old class verb (old form of Eru)
    vi	intransitive verb
    vk	kuru verb - special class
    vs	noun or participle which takes the aux. verb suru
    vs-i	suru verb - irregular
    vs-s	suru verb - special class
    vt	transitive verb
    vz	zuru verb - (alternative form of -jiru verbs)

  3. Field of Application

    A number of entries are marked with a specific field of application. Current fields and tags are:

    Buddh	Buddhist term
    MA	martial arts term
    comp	computer terminology
    food	food term
    geom	geometry term
    gram	grammatical term
    ling	linguistics terminology
    math	mathematics
    mil	military
    physics	physics terminology

  4. Miscellaneous Markings

    X	rude or X-rated term
    abbr	abbreviation
    arch	archaism
    ateji	ateji (phonetic) reading
    chn	children's language
    col	colloquialism
    derog	derogatory
    ek	exclusively kanji
    fam	familiar language
    fem	female term or language
    gikun	gikun (meaning) reading
    hon	honorific or respectful (sonkeigo) language
    hum	humble (kenjougo) language
    id	idiomatic expression
    m-sl	manga slang
    male	male term or language
    male-sl	male slang
    ng	neuter gender
    obs	obsolete term
    obsc	obscure term
    pol	polite (teineigo) language
    rare	rare
    uK	word usually written using kanji alone
    uk	word usually written using kana alone
    vulg	vulgar expression or word

  5. Okurigana Variants

    Okurigana variants in headwords are handled by including each variant form as a headword. This is to enable software to match with variant forms.

  6. Spellings

    As far as possible variants of English translation and spelling are included. Where appropriate different translations are included for national variants (e.g. autumn/fall, tap/faucet, etc.). Common spelling variations such as -our/-or and -ize/-ise are handled either by repeating the gloss in both spellings or appending spelling variants in parentheses. No attempt is made to tag English spellings according to country of usage.

  7. Gairaigo and Regional Words

    For gairaigo which have not been derived from English words, the source language and the word in that language are included. Languages have been coded in the two-letter codes from the ISO 639:1988 "Code for the representation of names of languages" standard, e.g. "(fr: avec)". In the case of gairaigo which have a meaning which is not apparent from the original (usually English) words, the words in the source language are included as: (trans: original words).

    In addition to the language codes described in Appendix C, a number of tags are used to indicate that a word or phrase is associated with a particular regional language variant within Japan. The tags are:

    kyb	Kyoto-ben
    osb	Osaka-ben
    ksb	Kansai-ben
    ktb	Kantou-ben
    tsb	Tosa-ben


Contribution of new entries and amendments to existing entries is most welcome. A special WWW page is available for this purpose.


A number of other Japanese dictionary projects are closely related to this one. Among them are:

  1. the ENAMDICT/JMnedict Japanese Proper Names Dictionary project, which currently has nearly 600,000 named entities. The files are available in EDICT or XML formats.

  2. the KANJIDIC and KANJIDIC2 project, which maintains and distributes databases of information about kanji.

  3. the COMPDIC file in EDICT format of computing and telecomms terminology.


Since 1991 a large number of people have contributed to this project; far too many to list here. All their contributions have been most welcome, indeed without the assistance of speakers and students of Japanese this project would not have achieved as much.


Some publications by Jim Breen about the EDICT/JMdict project:


The following language codes have been used with non-English derived gairaigo. They have been derived from the ISO 639:1988 "Code for the representation of names of languages" standard.

ar 	Arabic
zh 	Chinese (Zhongwen)
de 	German (Deutsch)
en 	English
fr 	French
el 	Greek (Ellinika)
iw 	Hebrew (Iwrith)
ja 	Japanese
ko 	Korean
nl 	Dutch (Nederlands)
no 	Norwegian
pl 	Polish
ru 	Russian
sv 	Swedish
bo 	Tibetan (Bodskad)
eo 	Esperanto
es 	Spanish
in 	Indonesian
it 	Italian
lt 	Latin
pt 	Portugese
hi 	Hindi
ur 	Urdu
mn 	Mongolian
kl 	Inuit (formerly Eskimo)

And the following, which are not in the Standard, are used:

ai 	Ainu