Kanji Sieve v0.4 released


Another month another set of improvements to Kanji Sieve.
In this release I concentrated on getting data in and out of the program.


  • It is possible to import records from a previous version.
  • As I strongly believe that the data belongs to the user it can all be exported in a variety of formats to be used elsewhere.
  • You can use a built-in mini browser to search for texts at your favourite sites.
  • Plain text and audio can be imported.
  • Chuta can now be viewed online on PCs and Macs
  • There is a choice of 7 online dictionaries to search for word meanings
  • Individual dictionary lookups are automated
  • The layout is now more flexible
  • There is a full screen mode for reading
  • There is an online help system (in progress)
  • The interface colour has been toned down
  • Interface and navigation improvements

I was hesitant about using Chuta online display. It was the only way at the moment to implement it for the PC. Chuta only stores a search for a limited time and while chuta is fast it does take a while to compile the custom page. I would prefer to work with cached data. What I do in the online display is check to see if the remote cache has expired and if it has fetch it again. It’s not ideal when loading the Chuta pane in the program but it is the best for now. I also had to sacrifice some screen real estate to get feedback that the program hadn’t frozen. After the first time your own cache should speed loading. Mac users can still work with the cached data by setting a preference.


There are now several dictionary urls to chose from. I think jisho.org (denshi jisho) in a mobile phone version or risukun are the fastest and cleanest. Jim Breen’s wwwjdic is comprehensive but you need to pare down the interface via the preferences to avoid information overload and clutter. The Japanese dictionaries from Wordbank, Yahoo, Goo and ALC all have ads to a varying degree. ALC is the worst, which makes for a very cluttered window without expanding it.
As I like to automate where I can you can submit a search just by clicking a button in the wordlist. You don’t have to type or copy and paste if you don’t want to. Owing to the imprecision of looking up words automatically you have to chose the correct version from the results and paste that into your wordlist yourself.


There is a mini-browser to help with getting text into the program. I dislike jumping from program to program so I wanted something “right there”. However it’s not as capable as a proper browser like Safari or Firefox (and on the PC you’re stuck with the dreadful Internet Explorer engine). And there is no ad filtering. One way around this is to use Evernote and your usual browser to collect interesting text then access your Evernote account from with Kanji Sieve. ( note: Kanji Sieve does not store or access any passwords, history etc. This is all handled by your computers browser software and stored elsewhere on your system. (Safari on the Mac, IE on Windows) Apart from accessing the help files through a browser, the software does not in any way call home. The only data going out are submissions to chuta.jp and dictionary sites for word lookups.)

I am happier with the PC version this time around. Overall I really think this is becoming a usable and useful tool.

The online help is a work in progress. I will be writing it over the next month or so. After that it will be on to version 0.5 to release sometime in November.

The downloads are here.

––update 04Oct10––
bug release v0.4.1 released 3 Oct

19. September 2010 by ロバート
Categories: 01 news • 新聞, 02 reading • 読む事 | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 comments

Comments (7)

  1. Hello Robert,


    I´ve now checked out Kanji Sieve 0.4 on Windows XP sp3, Vista and Windows 7. All working perfectly.
    Have you had any thoughts on the possibility of changing user languages via .lng file etc.

    Great job.



  2. Hello again Robert.

    In the latest Diploma in Japanese Culture and Language course that I´m giving at one of our local universities, I´ve been trying out the old version of 2001 Kanji Odyssey (was called KanjiPower 555) for learning the first Kanji (I´ve translated most of it to Spanish html pages).
    Is there any way to include this Kanji data base in Kanji Sieve and have my students try it out as a study tool? (Additional to the jyouyou Kanji).



  3. Hi Tom,
    Thanks for the input on how Windows looks.

    Unfortunately due to the way the interface is usually hard coded in FileMaker I very much doubt I can have different versions using a .lng file anytime soon. I’d have to review everything and put in numerical codes. That may entail a complete rebuild. (It may actually be easier just to build a Spanish version.)
    It all comes down to time. This is a hobby project rather than a commercial one.
    I haven’t forgotten non-English speaking users altogether. For v0.5 I am looking at some ways to use languages other than English. I’m trying to use icons and Japanese instead of English where I can.

    If it is just a case of Spanish keywords for Kanji, I can do that. If you send me a tab separated list
    ( kanji [tab] Spanish keyword [return] ) I can either send you a custom version or include a preference to switch between English and Spanish on keywords. I need to release a bug fix this weekend / next week I could integrate it then.

    To integrate Kanji Odyssey / Kanji Power, I’m not so sure. I looked at this for a while but I went off in another direction. I think the way it works using frames and Javascript won’t work from local files in FileMaker. I had the same problem with Chuta. I’ll have another look, but I’m not hopeful. I may only be able to include a facility to use an index. I might have already indexed Kanji Odyssey.
    What specific data do you have? It’d be easier to integrate raw data rather than html files.

    v0.5 will have Kanji Notebook. I’m excited about the integration with the Statistics pane. At the very least I want the user to be able to input their own keywords if the given keyword doesn’t work for them.

    PS, do you know what version of Java is current on Windows? (I just upgraded Java on my Mac and it broke how one of the external routines works )

  4. Hi!
    I’m enjoying Kanji Sieve so far. Please keep up the good work! Thank you! :D

  5. Hello Robert.

    Thanks for the reply. Latest Java version for windows is 6.0 update 21 (I´m using 6.0u19 and it is normally updated automatically).

    Great idea to label everything in Japanese and use small help pages for translations to other languages.

    For Kanji keywords in Spanish nothing better than the Kanjidic file in Spanish. Send me an e-mail from your preferred address to my address shown above and I´ll let you have the file by return. I also have other files in Spanish that I´ll also take a look at.

    For Kanji Odyssey/KanjiPower555 I can let you have a text version of the Kanji in numbered order of appearance in the programs. The idea is to use Kanji Sieve to show learnt Kanji from the KO/KP numbered list in Spanish just as you do it in English for grade levels. Let me know if you need it.

    Thanks for the great work. Looking forward to seeing version 0.5 with Kanji Notebook incorporated.

    Hope to hear from you soon,



  6. Hi Tom,

    Spanish keywords.
    The problem with Kanjidic is often extracting the information. Fortunately I wrote an XSLT to extract the Spanish keywords already back in May, and now have 2505 kanji with keywords in FileMaker format. I may do the same with other languages but at the moment I’ll concentrate on Spanish. I have to think about how to implement it.

    I’ve also found a web dictionary that will accept url-based queries which will help as well.
    Chuta has an option for Spanish but the returns I got were exceptionally sparse, sometimes only one word.

    Kanji Odyssey
    Again I need to think about implementation. I think it would be through a custom filter pane in Statistics. A watch list of kanji, which in your students case would be KP555, for others a list from a textbook.

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