A while ago I started working on an Anki plugin in an attempt to solve various annoyances I encountered when trying to read Japanese books on my computer. Yomichan is the result of my efforts and makes Japanese sentence/vocabulary mining trivial.

The software I was using for mining up to now was Rikaichan. I'm sure most people studying the Japanese language are familiar with this browser extension and probably have it installed in Firefox. Although pretty amazing, this tool is bound to Firefox. Firefox is obviously not a book reader: it doesn't behave well with large text files, doesn't remember where you last stopped reading, and most importantly there was no integration with Anki. As such, adding new vocab to my Anki deck was annoying; I wanted to be able to do this with one mouse click. After several hours of work, Yomichan could do this and much more.

Yomichan can be downloaded from the its Anki shared addon page or from the Yomichan page on GitHub. There is an automatic update checker in the plugin that (unless you disabled it) will notify you when new versions become available.

Usage Instructions

  1. Make sure you are running the latest version of Anki.
  2. Open your vocab deck and note the fields that are used in your deck.
    Card layout dialog
  3. Launch Yomichan from the tools menu inside Anki.
  4. Open the text file you want and you will see its contents in the Yomichan. Your layout and color scheme will look different because the screenshot shows my personal settings.
    Reader dialog
  5. To look up words hover your mouse over them while pressing the middle mouse button (usually this is your scroll wheel). You can also press and hold shift instead if you like (or your mouse has no center button).
  6. To set up your Anki deck for Yomichan select Preferences from the Edit menu and you should see a screen that looks like this:
    Preferences dialog
  7. Now you should add markers such as {expression}, {reading}, {reading} and {sentence} to specify how new cards should be created. Card fields will vary depending on your deck model.
  8. When you look up definitions you will have the option to create Anki cards for them with one click. You will see some icons next to each item:
    Yomichan icons
    Here is what the icons mean:
    • Kana Add term in Kana form even it can be written in Kanji (e.g. べんきょうか).
    • Expression Add term as it appears in the dictionary including Kanji (e.g. 勉強家).
    • Copy Copy the expression, reading and definition for the term to the clipboard.

Note that the add icons won't show up if Anki thinks you can't add a fact with those items. This likely means that they would either be duplicates of existing cards in the deck or that Yomichan hasn't been properly set up for your deck model.