Passing the Torch to Yomitan

jmdict yomichan yomichan-import zero-epwing

Just over nine months ago, I officially announced the sunsetting of the Yomichan project. For users, this meant that the extension would not receive any new updates, and would likely stop working with the approaching Manifest V2 deprecation. Seeing as Yomichan has evolved to become a valuable tool in the Japanese learning community, I put out a request for community forks to keep this browser extension alive.

I decided against transferring extension ownership for two reasons. First, there was simply no way of knowing who would make any progress in completing the mandatory port to Manifest V3; what if they just squatted on the Yomichan name? Second, advertisers are happy to spend considerable capital (approaching five figures USD) to purchase extensions with established user bases (Yomichan has 100k+ users at time of writing this) and stuff them full of spyware. I still get weekly offers to sell out my users… I could never do this myself, but I’m sure there are developers who would not hesitate.

Shortly after my announcement, TheMoeWay, a Japanese culture and learning community, reached out and expressed interest in maintaining a Yomichan fork. They have been professional in respecting my requests (establishing a distinct project identity, etc.) as well as maintaining proper attribution (unfortunately this has not been true of all forks). From what I’ve observed lurking in TheMoeWay Discord, there is a vibrant and active development community behind this new project (which even includes some former Yomichan contributors as well). After many months of effort, they have released a stable release of Yomitan. Crossing the Manifest V3 finish line is an amazing achievement by the group, and why I now consider Yomitan to be the definitive successor to Yomichan.

Visit the Yomitan project page for official Firefox and Chrome releases. TheMoeWay has also forked other supporting tools for dictionary generation and parsing; I view them as the natural evolution of the Yomichan toolchain. Finally, I am delighted that there are several other forks of Yomichan out there as well; having options is a great strength of open source development. That being said, projects should make sure to respect the licensing agreements and make proper attribution when ingesting code from other Yomichan derivatives.

Now that a stable alternative to Yomichan has emerged, Yomichan itself will be delisted from both Firefox and Chrome stores. Users who already have extension installed should be able to continue using it until it is inevitably disabled by the browser for not supporting Manifest V3. A sincere thanks from me to all the users of Yomichan over the years!