SmartHanzi for Kanjis is a free yet professional tool for reading and memorizing Japanese Kanjis.
It includes Japanese dictionaries for English, French and German as well as DDB (Digital Dictionary of Buddhism, short definitions only) and CJKV-E (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese - English Dictionary of Confucian, Daoist and Intellectual Historical Terms, short definitions).
A full text can be copied with immediate access to unknown words. Meeting words and characters in context, together with related ones, strongly helps memorizing.
SmartHanzi for Kanjis recognize equivalent character variants. For instance, searching/parsing 真 will show both 真 and 眞, according to what is present in selected dictionaries. Or it will recognize equally well 為/爲 or 眾/衆.
- The Etymological Dictionary of Han/Chinese Characters by Lawrence J. Howell and Hikaru Morimoto.
- Dr. Wieger's CHINESE CHARACTERS: based on the Chinese Shuowen jiezi, with etymological lessons and phonetic series. The application includes the full text (French) of the first lessons and will be completed progressively.
Here, etymology has a very practical purpose: save time by showing usual components still more or less visible. At first sight, Chinese/Japanese characters look awfully strange and out of reach. Looking back towards the origins through well thought-out lessons, uncovers a lost path and offers a sometimes playful way out. The point is not to learn, but to get progressively acquainted with a different writing and culture.
The English text of etymological lessons can be found in a commercially available book (link in the app). The application provides any necessary references to the English translation.