Quickstart Guide

This is a short quide to Tagaini Jisho. This document is here to give you a breif walkthrough of Tagaini’s interface, giving you a small document to help you through less intuative asspects of the program, without having to read the entire usage manual just to look up a few words.

This guide was last written for version 0.2.4 of Tagaini Jisho. Unfortunatly that means that if you have an old version, some of the information found in here will be incorrect for your version. Though you may find it similar in many ways to older versions, we still recomend getting the latest version from the Download page.

Tagaini does several things:

  • Primarily, it is a dictionary Japanese-Language dictionary program. This means that Tagaini allows you to search for Japanese terms, or for terms in the language of your program (several are offered,) and get translations for them.
  • Tagaini has vocabulary and kanji training and memoriesing facilities. Tagaini will keep a list of vocabulary you wish to study and will display flash cards for you to memorise, as well as other methods of learning. Tagaini also has other ways for you to orgainse entries, such as with tags.

Main Window Overview

The main window follows a simple design. From the top of the program there are three sections. The search bar, the results view and the detailed view.

Main Window

The Search Bar

The search bar is where you can enter terms to be searched for, in either Japanese or the language of your program. Just ener the text you wish to look up and click the search button, or press enter. While tagaini is searching for your terms the icon at the right of the window animates. Clicking it allows you to cancel the ongoing search in case it takes too much time.

You can search through Tagaini’s vocabulary database, kanji database or through both, depending on what is set in the drop down menu next to the search bar. By default you are searching through all entries, or both databases.

At the bottom of the search bar, you probably noticed these little buttons:

They are the search bar extenders, and clicking them expands an additional set of options that let you perform searches using parameters other than text searchs.

The Study Extender

This extender filters the results by their study state. One can choose to only display results that are studied, or those that are not. In addition, when studied results are displayed, one can also filter by score, date of inclusion in the study list, or the date they you last got the entry wrong.

The Tags Extender

This widget lets you filter the results by tag. Enter a list of tags (or choose them using the combo box on the right) and only entries that have these tags will be displayed.

The Notes Extender

This extender shows only entries which have a note that contains a given set of words. When you type a string into the text field then all notes will be searched for that string.

The JLPT Extender

This extender displays only entries belonging to a given JLPT level. Be aware that the JLPT lists are not official, and that words and kanji from the upper level are often randomly included during the examination. Therefore, this list does in no way claim to be totally accurate!

The Vocabulary Extender

Settings in this extender let you control filtering properties that only apply to vocabulary entries. Kanji entries are therefore filtered out when one of the settings in this extender is active. You can enter a list of kanji that the word must contains, or choose to only display words which are entirely made of kanji you are studying. It is also possible to filter words by their grammatical function, the local dialect they belong to, and other settings.

The Kanji Extender

Using this extender, you can precisely search for kanji. The following parameters are available:

  • Stroke count: show only kanjis that have a given stroke count.
  • Components: enter some kanjis in this text field, and only kanjis containing them will be shown.
  • Unicode: lookup by unicode.
  • School grade: choose the school grade from which a kanji is learnt.

The Results View

The results view is the window underneigth the search bar. When you make a search, the results are listed in this window. When you click on a result it is displayed in the detailed view.

By default, results are displayed by pages of 50 entries. There is a next and previous button to navigate between pages, or you can click show all to list every entry found.

The list of entries inside the results view is also called a set. They can be saved so that you can find them again latter. This can be done from the sets menu, where you will find all saved sets.

The Detailed View

The results view only lists a small amount of information: How it is writen; The entries reading; A few meanings. As the entry is listed with others so that you can find the right one, the detailed view is used to show you the complete entry. To open a word or kanji in the detailed view just click on it in the list.

When you do that the third window, under the results view, will show the seleceted entry with more information that is listed. Extra pieces of information include the Part of Speach, which is whether or not the word is a verb, noun or something else. They are the grey abreviations above the meanings. Holding your mouse over them will display a full discription.

In addition, you will also get interesting information about related entries. For transitive or intransitive verbs Tagaini will automatically try to fetch and display the counterpart of the verb and homophones, so the entry for 上げる references 上がる.

The detailed view also has a toolbar with left and right arrow buttons for navigateing between entries. Each reference has a magnifing glass to the right of its defintion. These icons are links that you can use to navigate to that entry. Any and all kanji in the detailed view are references to the entry for that kanji. Clicking kanji entries, by default, brings up a popup with a small amount of information about the kanji and a stroke order animation, if one is available. A magnifing glass is available from here to link you to the kanji’s entry.

Kanji popup

Your Study List

The study list is a simple way of tracking entries you wish to learn and memorise. As you come accross entries that you do not know you can chose to add them to the list. To do that, you can use the blue flag on the detailed view or right click on the entry in the results view and select add to study list. If you want to add entries that you already know to the study list, then you can click the green flag, or right click on the entry and chose already known from the context menu.

The Context Menu

You have probably noticed that the background color of the entry in the results view has changed as you added it to your study list. Every entry in your list has a score ranging from 0 to 100 assigned to it, and the background colour represents it. This score illustrates your level of mastery of the entry. A score of 0 (the default when you choose “Add to study list” means you want to remember the entry, but do not yet know it. On the other hand, a score of 90 or more (the default when you choose “Already known”) indicates that you perfectly remember it. The background of a studied entry is fully red when its score is zero, but turns to yellow and then green as its score increases.

Entries in your study list appear, by default, before entries that are not inside the results view. Entries with lower scores are then listed before entries with higher scores.


Tagaini offers several ways to help you memorise kanji and vocabulary, hence the need for the study list. Inspired by spaced repetition, it features a flashcard-like practice that either displays the Japanese version or the translation of a dictionary entry and challenges you to remember the other part.

Several options can be found in the practice menu. You can either have Tagaini show you flash cards, from your whole study list or from the current set. The different options are from Japanese or the translation for vocab and from meaning or the kanji or kanji entries.

After looking at the flashcard that Tagaini has shown you and deciding if you remember it or not, you can click answer to get tagaini to show you the rest of the entry. If you have gotten it correct, then you can press the correct button. This will raise the study score of the entry. If you get it wrong, then instead click wrong which will cause the score to go down.

Kanji Flash Cards

Entries with lower scores will be displayed before entries with higher scores, which increases the likelyhood of you seeing them. By default entries can only be studied once per day, so as to avoid influencing the score with your short term memory. Therefore, if an entry has already been trained today, it will not appear again before tomorrow no matter whether you replied correctly or not.

There is also a reading practice mode that shows you a vocabulary entry and asks you to type the reading, and then tells you if you where correct or not. The reading must be typed in kana, so either in ひらがな or カタカナ. Romaji is currently not recognised by Tagaini Jisho. When you get an entry incorrect, it will show display ERROR in big red letters and show you the whole entry. If you get the entry correct then it will display the word correct in green and moves on to the next entry.

Reading Practice

Tagging and Notes

Tags, an ever more popular method of organising pictures, music and blog posts, can be used to organise entries in Tagaini Jisho. They allow you to group entries according to your logic, and not some arbitrarily-decided similarity. You can use them to to tag your studied entries by similarity of meaning, pronunciation, idea group, kanji shape, or anything else that makes sense to you. Tagging an entry is possible through the results view right-click menu and the training window.

Notes, on the other hand, let you complete an entry with your own thoughs. You might want to make notes about particular usage of the entry or special forms that are not displayed in the dictionary entry or are not obvious. Like tags, notes are available from the results view right click menu, the training window and the detailed view’s toolbar. You can have several notes associated with an entry. To add one, click new note, then select the note that has been created and type in your thoughts in the lower part of the window. Don’t forget to click Apply before closing the window, otherwise your notes won’t be saved.

Saved notes appear as a post-it like frame in the detailed view of an entry. Entries do not need to be in your study list to be tagged or annotated.

Exporting your entries for external study

Printed Material

Unfortunately, you cannot bring Tagaini everywhere with you. However, the printing option gives you a possibility to continue studying even when you do not have a computer around.

Booklet pages

The booklet from the displayed results in the File menu. It will print a foldable booklet inspired by the Pocketmod on a single standard sheet on paper. To fold it, follow the instructions of the following video:

A typical usage is to select entries which you mitaken during training using one of the options in Search -> Mistaken, to print a booklet out of them, and study them while you are commuting.

Tab-separated file

This option in Results -> Export allows you to export the current set into a format that you can easily import into another software. It was initially designed for Anki, but will work with any software that supports importing items in that format. The entries are exported in table of entries, with every field seperated by tabs. Three fields are exported;

  • Field 1 to Expression
  • Field 2 to Reading
  • Field 3 to Meaning

Finally, click import. You can now train the exported entries from Anki.


You should now know everything you need in order to start using Tagaini Jisho efficiently. Please don’t forget that this is still an early version - check the website regularly to see when updates are available. There is an rss feed you can watch to see the progress, as well as a google group for discussion. Please feel free to submit your suggestions and report bugs to the Launchpad interface. Have fun with Tagaini Jisho!