The first thing you need to do to start using Kantango is register. On
the Kantango home page, click on the link "register." This will take
you to a page where you will be required to set a user name a password,
email address, and some other basic information.
Your user name must be a unique string of alphanumeric characters with
Choose a password carefully. It should be a word that you can remember
but that other people can't guess. It is not a good idea to use a pet's
name, for example. We also do not recommend recycling important passwords.
Keep in mind that you can change your password later by going to the "options"
This site will not spam you or give your information out to anybody
below for more information.
Once you have submitted your user information, you will be taken to your new
personal wordlist folder "My Wordlists". From here you can create a new personal
wordlist. Alternatively, you can browse other public wordlists by clicking on
the "home" link at the top or the folder "Other User's Public".
Currently, this process is not automated. It hopefully will be in the future.
Send an email to the "Contact" link at the bottom of the home page.
(Keep in mind that the actual address might change from time to time.)
The email message must be sent from the email account that you
registered Kantango with. Please also state in the email the
login name you are using.
You will receive an alternate password that you can use to log in to your
account with. Once you do this, you should go to "options" and change your
password to something you can remember.
Since this is currently a manual process, it might take some time.
I will do the best I can.
If you plan to never use your account again, please send me an
to the "Contact" link at the bottom of the Kantango home page.
The email message must be sent from the email account that you registered
Kantango with. Please also state in the email the login name
you are using.
I will send you back a message confirming your account termination
request. For security reasons, you must reply to this email to have
your account terminated.
After you login, you can move around in Kantango by clicking on one of
the navigation links at the top of each page. If you ever get lost, you
can use these links to get back on track. The links include:
Search the dictionary.
Note: you cannot add words to a wordlist from here, only search.
Change personal preferences, password, etc.
This help screen.
Get out of the system. You should also close the browser window after you log out.
Each wordlist is linked. To go into that wordlist, simply click on the link. Folder links usually have
the a folder icon next to them.
click on the link to go into that folder and see a list of the wordlists in it.
If a folder link is currently active it is shown with the open folder icon
After you login, you can look at other user's public word lists
by clicking on the "home" link at the top of the page. Alternatively,
you can click on the folder link "Other User's Folders" in your folder list.
This will bring up a list of users, the name of the public folder and
the name of each public wordlist. Click on the folder name to go to that
folder of wordlists. Click on the wordlist name to go into that wordlist.
If you do not own the wordlist or folder, you will not be able to make changes
to it such as adding and removing words or wordlists. You can, however,
copy a wordlist to your own folder and then make changes to it freely.
Even if you do not own a wordlist, you can use flashcards, and mark words
with word tags from it.
When you enter a wordlist, there is a line of checkboxes at the top of the screen
that let you control how the wordlist will be displayed. Check or uncheck
as you like. The checkboxes include:
When this box is checked each word in the wordlist is displayed
in romaji rather than hiragana or katakana characters. Hiragana
is represented by all lowercase romaji while katakana is represented
by all UPPERCASE romaji.
When this box is checked the kanji for each word is shown. Otherwise
it remains hidden from view.
When this box is checked, grammatical notes (such as part-of-speech)
are shown for each word in red italics. If a word is considered
"common" (in the top 20,000), the phrase "common word" appears in
green italics in the meaning field. If the grammar checkbox is not
checked, these indications are not displayed.
When this checkbox is unchecked, each of the alternate meanings
of a word appear on a separate line. When this box is checked,
each of the alternate meanings are separated by a the / symbol.
When controls is checked, a checkbox appears next to each word in
the wordlist. Also, a tag column appears for kana and kanji (if
kanji is being shown). The controls let you do things like remove
words from a wordlist (if you own it) or mark words or kanji with
tags for later review.
When links is checked, new column titled links appears. Next
to each word there will be the link [G] that will do a google search
for that word and the link [S] that will look up that word in the
There is a light purple box indicating at the top of each wordlist
indicating when it was created, modified, the word count and any
any user notes or links. Checking or unchecking memo will show and
hide this information.
You can also view the words in a wordlist in different orders.
If you click on the # heading, it will sort the words by entry order.
If you click on it again, it will sort the words in reverse order.
If you click on the "kana" or "romaji" heading it will sort the words
in "a-ka-sa-ta-na-ha-..." order (the Japanese equivalent of ABCs)
or reverse order if you click it again.
If you click on the "tag" header it will sort by the marked tag. This
is useful looking at groups of words you need to study.
You must be in a folder that you own in order to create a new wordlist.
If you are in someone else's public folder the "New List" button will not
appear. First move to your own folder by clicking one of your folders
such as "My Folder".
Generally it is a good idea to create a new wordlist in a private
folder and then move it to a public folder when it is stable. Otherwise
other users will see the wordlist change live as you edit it. This is
usually not desirable. See the help section of "folders" for more
You can change the name of a wordlist that you own after you have
created it the "Edit" button.
First get into the wordlist by clicking on its link.
There will be a text entry. Type in a Japanese word in
romaji, kana, or kanji and click "Add Word."
(If you are not the owner of the wordlist the Add Word button will not appear. In this case you must make your own copy first and then add.)
In the above example, clicking on add word will bring up two
choices from the dictionary. The first is 学校 (school) and the
second is 月光 (a surname). Click on the "add" link next to word to
add it to your list. Click cancel to return to your list without
adding either word.
Using the ChaSen tool, you can add a many words in a single operation. The
first step is to click on the button "Add From Text" in the wordlist. (Note:
if you are not the owner of the wordlist this button will not appear.)
After you click on this button, a page will appear that will let you
enter a block of text. Once you have entered the text, press the
"Extract Words" button. You may not use romaji here.
In the example above the following 3 words will be extracted: 彼 (he)、無人島 (deserted island)、生きる (lived)
Select which of these words you want to add using the checkboxes
and then click on the "Add Word(s)" button. Click cancel to return to
your wordlist without adding any new words.
Note that it was not able to extract the words: 十 (ten) 年間 (years).
You will need to add these words manually using the process described above.
If you would like more contextual information about a word a good way to
find out more about it is to do a Google or Sanseido search on it.
Open the wordlist of interest.
Check the "links" checkbox at the top of the page.
Scroll down to the word of interest and notice the links [G] and [S] on
Clicking on either of these links will open another browser window with
doing a google or Sanseido dictionary (goo) search.
Google and Sanseido search is also available as buttons on the flashcard
If you minimize the links window or put the window behind other
windows it will not automatically pop to the front when you do another
Google or Sanseido search. You may need to readjust the window
yourself to view the search results.
Click on the "wordlists" link at the top of the page.
Go to the folder of the wordlist that you wish to remove.
Check the wordlist you wish to remove.
Click the "Delete" button.
At this point your wordlist has been moved to the trash but is not deleted.
You can recover the wordlist by going to the trash folder and moving it back out
or permanently delete the wordlist by emptying the trash.
To Empty the trash.
Click on the Trash folder.
Click on the button "Empty Trash."
Confirm by clicking the "ERASE" button.
To Rescue an item from the trash.
Click on the Trash folder.
Check the wordlist you wish to rescue.
Pull down the "Move to ..." folder and move the wordlist back to a safe folder.
Folders are a nice way of organizing your wordlists. You might
split your wordlists up by textbook, type of words, etc. How you
organize is totally up to you.
There are two kinds of folder: public and private. Private folders
are only seen by you where public folders can be seen by everyone on
the site. Any wordlist inside a public folder is potentially seen by
anyone on the site.
There are of course many good ways to study. Here is but one.
Go through a new wordlist and mark all of the words you don't know
with a "Needs Review" tag.
Select only words that "Need Review" with the flashcards and mark
them "Just Learned" and "Mastered" as you go through them. As you reshuffle your deck, it will get smaller and smaller until it is empty. (Repeat this process as needed.)
Come back a day or so later and look at the words marked "mastered" again and see if it is true. If it is, change them to fully mastered.
If you are practicing kanji, nothing beats trying to write it down.
If you can write it you know you *really* have it memorized. Use the
flashcards and write out your answer on a piece of scratch paper
before flipping the card.
8.1 What should I do if something is not working right?
Unfortunately in the software world things sometimes go wrong.
If you are having a problem, don't hesitate to send email describing it.
There are a lot of different versions of browsers and OSes out there.
Please indicate in your mail the OS and version of browser you are using.
The more detailed the information the better. The better information you
can provide, the more likely it is we will be able to solve the problem.
Older versions of IE5 have been reported to have trouble rendering
Flashcards correctly. Extra nonsense characters appear. This problem
has been corrected in the latest version. (IE 5.1.6 for MacOS9.x as
of this writing.) Thanks to Yoshiko Uchida from the University of
Chicago for finding this problem and discovering the workaround.