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Lost in Japan

By LucSens Oy

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Take a photo of a Japanese character and get instant translation in English. No internet connection required!
The World's first real Japanese - English dictionary!

* As featured on Japan Times: "Living in Japan: There's an app for that"

Can be used as an input method or to make flash cards using Notes.
It recognizes over 3000 (most frequent 95%) Japanese characters.


After tapping the "take photo to translate" button you have to pinch to zoom and frame the character. Pieces of other characters must not be in the frame. As a rule of thumb, Japanese characters have their height equal to their width.

Even if the character has not been recognized properly, use the arrow buttons to scroll through the next 9 best candidates. Most likely the character you're looking for will be there.


* Works best with clear images and good contrast, black text on white background and regular printed characters.

* requires an iPhone with autofocus camera (3GS or newer)


This package contains data from the KANJIDIC ( dictionary file which is the property of the Electronic Dictionary Research and Development Group, and is used in conformance with the Group's license.

What's New in Version 1.5

Works perfectly in low memory situations.
Improved user experience.

iPhone Screenshots

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Customer Reviews

Works for me!!

lol a couple of weeks ago I literally spent two hours looking for one kanji symbol until (I was at the library) the library closed and I had to go home and realized I had to do my homework D: and so for the next few weeks I kept searching for the appearingly non-existent symbol, then I found this app. I must admit, it took me a couple of tries; I tried taking a picture of it directly from the computer screen (it was in a video, so I couldn't copy and paste), then I wrote it in red pen, which didn't work, then I tried black pen and it worked perfectly on the first try :D !!! This app is much easier than scrolling through thousands of kanji! I just wish there was a way of archiving what you've done, but eh, I could always just take another picture :)

Wanted it to work

The main problem with this app seems to be: the size of real text in real life versus the size the app requires a single kanji to be for OCR recognition. My iPhone will not allow me to zoom in to the extent that is required to fill the screen with a single kanji. On the one occasion I was able to find kanji big enough (a title, made up of two kanji), I purposefully put the first kanji to the side of the screen so the second kanji's strokes would not interfere with the OCR. On this occasion, the OCR worked and it read the kanji properly. However, to be fair, it was a fairly common kanji. Then I repeated the process for the second kanji in the title and it did not work. Attempts to process non-isolated kanji did not result in anything resembling the correct kanji.

Too bad. I wanted it to work.

Virtually unusable

This app would be wonderful with improvements, but as is, it can only read black text, and the kanji that you take a picture of can only be read if it is of a certain size.

Lost in Japan
View in iTunes
  • Free
  • Category: Education
  • Updated:
  • Version: 1.5
  • Size: 3.5 MB
  • Language: English
  • Seller:

Compatibility: Requires iOS 4.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad 2 Wi-Fi, iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G, iPad Wi-Fi (3rd generation), iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular (3rd generation), iPad Wi-Fi (4th generation), iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular (4th generation), iPad mini Wi-Fi, iPad mini Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad Air, iPad Air Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 2 Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad Air 2, iPad Air 2 Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 3 Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad mini 4, iPad mini 4 Wi-Fi + Cellular, 12.9-inch iPad Pro, 12.9-inch iPad Pro Wi-Fi + Cellular, 9.7-inch iPad Pro, 9.7-inch iPad Pro Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation), and iPod touch (6th generation).

Customer Ratings

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  1. Full version$0.99