O Wakan is a set of integrated programs with the objective of facilitating the ideographic language learning. More specifically, it helps Chinese and Japanese learners with a dictionary, text editor, translation assistant and many other features.
Wakan's Key Features
Japanese and Chinese Dictionary
Wakan has a Japanese-English and English-Japanese dictionary, with the most complete information about the kanji you are looking for. Among the many information, you will find the Joyou Kanji grid, English translation, stroke order of symbols, radicals and reading in hiragana and katakana.
Text editor for Japanese and Chinese
It also has a small and simple text editor capable of accepting asian characters input independent of windows support. This means that you will be able to type Japanese text even if you do not have Windows Japanese support installed on your computer.
Text translation assistant
The text editor has a function called auto-fill translator. This feature inserts furigana (small hiragana symbols on top of kanji) to make Japanese text easier to read. In addition to furigana, the text editor also places hints with the translation of Japanese words below each symbol and highlights possible text particles.
Learning Progress Manager
With Wakan you can also create your own vocabulary, separating the kanji and words you learn to manage your learning progress. In the DataBase/Statistics menu you can see a lot of information about your learning progress, such as the kanji learned, the hardest words to learn, words you know how to write and a lot of other statistics.
Automatic generation of Flash Cards
Another very interesting feature of Wakan is the creation of Flash Cards automatically. Just select the kanji and click the print cards button to print cards for later study without the computer.
Ease of customizing almost everything
With Wakan we can change the Japanese fonts used by the system by changing them to more interesting ones, change accent colors to more pleasant ones, add example phrases or words and many other features.
Free system to use and distribute
One of the strengths I love about programs like this is that it's free. That is, we can download, use and distribute at will.
I didn't particularly find many weaknesses, but there are a few factors that everyone needs to be aware of before using it. To use this program, it is necessary to have the Japanese fonts installed on the computer.
It is also necessary to know some English, as there is no translation from Wakan to Portuguese and no compatible Japanese-Portuguese dictionary.
Another thing I didn't really like about this program is that the printed Flash Cards don't show the order of the kanji strokes. In this way, we can study the meaning and the examples, but it is difficult to learn writing without using the computer.
For those who know a little English, Wakan is an amazing tool to learn japanese, facilitating several learning points. But for those who don't know anything about the American language, it can be a little complicated to use.
If there was a Portuguese version of it, Wakan would be a great tool for Brazilian students.
Do you use or have you used Wakan to study Japanese? If you use or have used, share your experiences (positive or negative) with us and comment. We will be very grateful for that.