I just received my copy of the New Nelson Kanji Dictionary and I was quite surprised not to find a single kana in the whole book (I knew it used romaji, but I had not imagined it would avoid kana altogether). I really can't understand why the editors of such an authoritative dictionary (more than 7000 kanji!) think romaji is a good choice. Anyway, I ended up buying it after comparing all the possible choices (most of them were either using romaji or included too few kanjis).
Since there are many very knowledgeable people on this forum I thought I would ask if you know of a comprehensive kanji dictionary that I might missed that avoids romaji altogether.
But most of all, I set my eyes on the outrageously expensive Kenkyusha New Japanese English Dictionary. Before I sell a kidney to buy it I wanted to ask people who actually own it and have used it for some time if it is worth it (i.e. if it has lots of explanatory examples, it is comprehensive, conceived for English-speaking users...).
Also, are there any alternatives at that level? (I have the Kodansha Communicative English-Japanese and the Kodansha Furigana dictionaries, which are good for lower intermediate learners (not that I am at a much higher level, but I am looking ahead somehow), but neither very good at explaining nuances nor comprehensive with the possible meanings of the words; the frustrating example that comes to mind was when I was trying to understand such a simple word as きっと, whose meaning is somehow related to a promise or wish, according to a Japanese friend)
ps I do own an ex-word, but I really really like browsing paper dictionaries
From: New York, NY Registered: 2009-10-02 Posts: 458 Website
As far as I know there aren't any kanji dictionaries in kana for English-speaking users. Your best bet is a kanji dictionary for Japanese children, or a kanwa jiten for Japanese adults. Children's kanji dictionaries basically just cover the joyo kanji; kanwa jiten cover 6000-10,000 or more kanji and you'll get a lot of use out of one if you're reading historical or literary stuff.
I don't have the Kenkyusha New Japanese-English Dictionary, but I have the Kenkyusha New College Japanese-English Dictionary, which is a cheaper and abridged but still extremely comprehensive version of the same dictionary (It has 70,000 entries). I love the dictionary, it's the dictionary I used most before I moved over to mostly computer-based dictionary usage, and it's comprehensive enough for anything you want to do until you get advanced enough that you need a kokugo dictionary anyway.
It is a dictionary for Japanese-speaking users, and it doesn't have any furigana. There are plenty of collocations and a few example sentences, not for the majority of words. Here's the entries for きっと：
きっと（１） (間違いなく) surely; certainly; undoubtedly; without fail; must (be, have done). 文例 きっとそうか Are you sure? あの男はきっとあのパチンコ屋にいるよ。 I'll bet he's [I'm sure you will find him] in that pachinko parlor. きっと電池がきれてるんだろう。 The battery must be dead.
I don't think there's really a dictionary out there that's good at explaining the nuances of words for non-native speakers. Maybe a usage guide like 日本語文型辞典 or どんなときどう使う日本語表現文型辞典 would be helpful, and maybe the Dictionary of Basic/Intermediate/Advanced Japanese Grammar. The Kenkyusha is great but it may not be what you're looking for.
Many thanks for your very nice answer I did not know about the college kenkyusha, but it sounds interesting indeed. I just find it strange that no high level Japanese-English dictionary for English speakers exists.
Your mentioning a kokugo dictionary made me think that that would indeed be a good choice once I have enough knowledge of the language to appreciate it. I am already dreaming of one with lots of examples (do you know any good ones by any chance?) Until then I guess I will just have to be patient and extract as much as I can from the books I have (which includes the excellent ones you listed, apart from the 文型 book, that I don't know).
For a kanji dictionary it really doesn't make that much difference whether it's in romaji or kana. It's not like seeing romaji in a dictionary is going to infest your brain and knock the kanji and kana out of it.
I bought 漢字源 a few months back and I really like it. It has around 17000 characters in it, although many of them are variants. However if you don't know a fair share of Japanese you wouldn't be able to understand much more than the readings.