In lieu of an essay, today I’ve made several long-overdue updates to my comparative “character etymology” tool, Kanjigen. Changes include:
Can now (hopefully) convert to and from simplified Japanese characters (shinjitai 新字体), simplified Chinese (jiǎntǐzì 简体字), and traditional characters (kyûjitai 旧字体 aka fántǐzì 繁體字). I’m using the latest Unihan data for conversions. I still abstain from difficult cases—I do nothing if the character has multiple alternative conversions, and I’m not converting “extended shinjitai”, itaiji, ryakuji &c. &c.
Playing with the conversion buttons can make irrecoverable changes; therefore, an undo button was added.
There’s now an option to auto-convert the search query to the form most likely to be present in each dictionary that Kanjigen supports.
When linking to ja.wiktionary, it now points directly to the character origin section.
Added indexes to Karlgren’s analytical dictionary (though the Unihan data seems quite sparse, but it’s better than nothing).
Convenience links to Unihan and jisho.org. (Should I add anything else?)
Better support for URIs. The search text is now saved to the URI’s hash-parameter. You can save or build these links and share a link directly to a specific query, like this (the user still must click the search button to get the popup windows to external dictionaries). I’ve tried to make a regular form with a submit button, but this angered popup blockers.
Hide indexes and links when nothing’s loaded yet (needs HTML5).
Fixed bug when there’s no Morohashi index available. Better choice of kanji forms for Morohashi search (first try as-is, then try traditional).
A help page was added.
The old post on kanji resources had grown a lot of aggregated discussion, so I decided to split it. The post at the old URL was trimmed to focus on a list of resources, as it did originally. The parts about my current understanding of “character etymology” have been moved to a new post, currently in draft (sorry, ran out of MP). I hope that these three pieces (Kanjigen with the help page, the list of resources, and the post on character structure) complement each other.
Many internal changes that will make it easier for me to add more functions in the future.
Scare quotes in “etymology” because Victor Mair said he’d point students here.
May 19: Datafiles are now JSON, and sent compressed if the browser supports it; added KangXi support; other minor, cosmetic enhancements. TODO file.
If you like Kanjigen, link to it and make me famous! (Kidding—this is a simple hack, all credit should go to the people who worked hard to build the databases and dictionaries in the first place.) If you know of any more publicly queryable databases of factual character analysis, tell me and I’ll add them to the list.