Kōjien (Japanese: 広辞苑, lit. “Wide garden of words”) is a single-volume Japanese dictionary first published by Iwanami Shoten in 1955. It is widely regarded as the most authoritative dictionary of Japanese, and newspaper editorials frequently cite its definitions. As of 2007, it had sold 11 million copies.
Kōjien was the magnum opus of Shinmura Izuru, 1876–1967, a professor of linguistics and Japanese at Kyoto University. He was born in Yamaguchi Prefecture and graduated from the prestigious Tokyo University, where he was a student of Kazutoshi Ueda (上田万年, Ueda Kazutoshi, 1867–1937). After studying in Germany, Ueda taught comparative linguistics and edited foreign-language dictionaries in the latter part of the Meiji era. Through his tutelage, Shinmura became involved in Japanese language lexicography. Even Kōjien editions published after his death credit Shinmura as the chief editor.
The predecessor of Kōjien originated during the Great Depression in East Asia. In 1930, the publisher Shigeo Oka (岡茂雄, Oka Shigeo, 1894–1989) wanted to create a Japanese dictionary for high school students. He asked his friend Shinmura to be chief editor, and they chose the title Jien (辞苑 “Garden of words”) in a classical allusion to the Ziyuan (字苑, “Garden of characters”) Chinese dictionary. Shinmura appointed his son Takeshi Shinmura (新村猛, Shinmura Takeshi, 1905–1992) as an editor, and in 1935, Hakubunkan (博文館) published the Jien dictionary. It contained some 160,000 headword entries of old and new Japanese vocabulary, as well as encyclopedic content, and quickly became a bestseller.
The 5th edition (1998) includes over 230,000 headwords, and its 2996 pages contain an estimated total of 14 million characters. Iwanami Shoten currently publishes Kōjien in several printed and digital formats, and also sells dictionary subscription services for cell phone and Internet access. Various manufacturers of Japanese electronic dictionaries have licensed the digital Kōjien, and it is the core dictionary in many models.
Shinmura’s preface to the 1st edition stated his hope that the Kōjien would become regarded as the standard by which other dictionaries would be measured. This has largely been fulfilled; many people regard the Kōjien as the most authoritative Japanese language dictionary on the market. It remains a bestseller in Japan. According to Iwanami, the 1st edition Kōjien sold over one million copies, and the 5th edition brought cumulative total sales to over eleven million in 2000.
Koujien have printed version and digital version which came in EPWING format also can be found in digital dictionaries like denshi jisho. If you buy denshi jisho mostly they all included the Koujien dictionary. But if you do not have digital dictionary like denshi jisho, now you can have Koujien dictionary right in your PC or laptop, using a EPWING viewer software to view Koujien in EPWING format. Here are some screenshots.
This is the main menu of digital Koujien, you can click on the menu. Besides using graphical menu, you can also search entry by using keyword on the search bar.
This is a picture dictionary inside digital Koujien.
Picture above is a sample of animal picture dictionary. The animal is brown bear in Japanese is akaguma (Ursus arctos lasiotus).
The Digital Koujien is not only contain picture dictionary, it has many features, the most feature i like is music encyclopedia, it contains all classical music from Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, etc. The categories in this dictionary are biology, chemistry, physic, music, economic, astronomy, math, picture, history, technology and many others. Because so many entries, this dictionary is like offline version of largest online encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
You can download Koujien 5th Edition in EPWING format from link below
And to open it, you need an EPWING viewer software, to see how to install and add dictionary in EPWING viewer, see this post EBWin4 – EPWING Viewer for Windows