One sweet and succulent dictionary! – an interview with Gregory of the Tangorin dictionary app

tangorin Japanese dictionary app

Hope you made room for dessert because today you’re in for a treat! We’re chatting it up with Gregory Bobin, creator of Tangorin Japanese dictionary!

JapanTree: What motivated you to start your Tangorin project?

Gregory: The faculty at my university declined my offer to digitize and open source the kanji learning materials they were distributing to students in small batches on paper (this was 10 years ago). I also couldn’t afford a denshi jisho at the time and I was working part-time as a web developer as I found all these Japanese-related open source projects online that just needed to be put together with a little code. I started using my own dictionary in class and my friends liked it so I put it online.

JapanTree: What part of running the project do you like the best?

Gregory: I really enjoy normalizing all the data coming from different projects like WWWJDIC and Tatoeba. The code that parses all those input files and builds the Tangorin database is in fact bigger and more complicated than the website/dictionary itself. I also loved watching my friends at university using my dictionary over their expensive denshi jishos.

JapanTree: What makes your app unique and how can readers get the most from your site?

Gregory: I think the user interface is what makes Tangorin unique. My main goal was to make it feel like a paper dictionary where all the information is in plain sight right below the word definition and you don’t have to “click” and move around to get it.

JapanTree: I know your app pulls from some great projects like tatoeba, tanaka, wwwjdic. As a knowledgeable person on those projects, how would you say they have impacted the development Japanese language apps?

Gregory: I’m pretty sure 90% of those apps wouldn’t even be there if it wasn’t for those projects. Especially Jim Breen’s WWWJDIC.

Japantree: Well, I’m sure everyone’s thankful for all those projects, including yours, that have made learning Japanese a little easier. Any last words for us?

Gregory: Thanks for taking interest in Tangorin!

Thanks Gregory. And thank you dear reader. If you haven’t already get your hands on a juice Tangorin today.

You can download the app at the following links:

Google Play app

iTunes app

And the project’s homepage is (Tangorin project home and extensive online Japanese dictionary)


Have a great day!

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