English speakers who study or use Japanese acutely aware of the lack of good, comprehensive Japanese-English dictionaries. The best paper dictionaries either are intended for native speakers of Japanese or list only words written in kanji. Free online dictionaries such as EDICT and Eijiro offer a good alternative, but because they provide only word equivalents, not explanations, their usefulness is limited.
In May 2000, a group of volunteers throughout the world began creating an open, free, online Japanese-English dictionary. The form and content of the dictionary are decided by the participants in the project. Among its features are the following:
– Definitions that explain the meaning of words as completely as possible
– As many examples as possible of each word in real contexts
– Photographs and other illustrations, especially for entries about uniquely Japanese things
– No restrictions on the type or range of vocabulary
– No restrictions on the length of entries
The dictionary has been named jeKai (je海), pronounced “jay-kai” or ジェーカイ.