Originally posted by Markus
Thank you very much for this pointer (and the one to Peter Megann). The dictionary I own is by Hadamitzky, but it is an introductionary one. (Nelson numbers are stated as a reference. ) I like this one, as it also provides writing guidelines (eg which strokes first and in what direction), but added the one you mentioned to my wishlist. .
There are several publications by Spahn & Hadamitzky and I list them here so that you are aware of what I am using.
1. The Kanji Dictionary, with yellow dust jacket in a slip case 1,750 pages. This is the one to use to find compounds and the beauty is that you can find the word via any of the compounds. However, there are some gaps.
2. A early paperback version of this, now superseded.
3. The Learner's Kanji Dictionary. Hard covers with 907 pages. I really wonder why they wrote this dictionary. It is not big enough to use as a dictionary and its sole value is that the strokes are numbered. However, you can learn this fairly quickly once you have mastered the principles. When I look at a character, I know immediately how to write it. I do not want to appear arrogant, but learning the 214 radicals and the stroke order of a character is so important. For me, when I learned the number of stroke, I also learned the correct way to write the character. Is this not normal? Jun?
4. Kanji & Kana. A black paperback with stroke counts for all the joyo-kanji. The revised paperback edition is much better than the hardback original.
5. A Guide to Writing Kanji & Kana. This is a workbook in two volumes for No.4.
All these books are published by Charles Tuttle, who is also the publisherof the New Nelson. Harcovers blue dustjacket. This has a new index called the Universal Radical Index, and you can look up a character from any of the radicals. There are some gaps even with this dictionary, which is why I use both.
You asked why there were two characters for the same word. Actually, this is not uncommon and I can think of several cases where there are two or three characters for a word, all having a cognate meaning. Think of the word 'wakaru' (understand), for example.
Finally, Jun, which Japanese dictionary do you use? I use the Kojien (Iwanami Shoten) and Sanseido's Daijirin. The above Japanese-English dictionaries are usually insufficient.
The New Nelson