First edition : 1960
Latest edition : 2021 (8th edition)
Publisher : 三省堂
Number of words : 84.000 words
Nickname : 三国
The Sanseido is one of many dictionaries published by Sanseido, a leading dictionary manufacturer. It is currently up to it’s eight edition, only being released in December of 2021. The strength of this dictionary lies in it’s inclusion of new words. They also basically don’t include any proper nouns or difficult technical terms, so most entries found are words one could encounter in everyday language. It is a thoroughly modernist dictionary, with it’s goal being to faithfully copy the Japanese language as it is being used currently. It is well known for it’s policy of quite quickly eliminating words that aren’t judged to be “modern words”. This means that when reading a text from even a decade ago, it is possible that some words won’t even be found in there anymore.
Besides just new headwords, new meanings of existing words and overlooked meanings and usages are also covered very quickly.
It is also available on the Monokakido “Dictionaries” app, here is an example looking at the headword 『肉』
A comparison between the 7th and 8th edition
One thing that I enjoy doing is having multiple dictionaries and / or editions of dictionaries open one besides another. It’s often a case of spot the differences, as entries can be pretty much or entirely the same. However I just wanted to give a couple of comparisons because it showcases (in my opinion) why getting the latest edition of a dictionary is quite often the better deal, as words are either explained clearer or offer more context than they did before.
Let’s just start by looking at the entry for 肉 as we showed it here before, and comparing that to the same entry in the 7th edition :
Instantly, some quite notable differences show up. While the first definition is exactly the same, word for word, we already find a lot of differences in the second definition :
7th edition : “②鳥・けものの からだのうちで、食べられる やわらかな ところ。”
8th edition : “②けものや鳥の からだのうちで、食べられる やわらかなところ。〔多く、東日本では豚肉ぶたにく、西日本では牛肉を言う〕
While the main explanation doesn’t have any difference (except for switching to や for listing birds and animals), we do get a ton more context as well as an example sentence in the 8th edition. They’ve also included the third definition in the second instead of it being separate entries.
Another quick benefit can be shown by looking for example at the entry for 漢字 :
As you can see here, the entry itself is word for word the same, but while the 7th edition notes at the end that Kanji is related to kana, the 8th edition gives a nice link for the entry on 国事 which helps provide some more context and help place it correctly.
Just one last example to showcase some useful differences, when we’re looking at 政府 :
besides some differences in definitions we also see one of the other useful differences. You can see two stars above the word in the 8th edition, this is to notify us that this is (according to the editors) one of the “most useful words”, so if we see this we know to pay special attention to it to remember it well