The Daikanwajiten -- Great Kanji-Japanese Dictionary -- has no comparison* and is fully justified in its name, being probably the most comprehensive and authoritative reference work on the subject of Chinese characters (Jp. kanji), not merely those used in Japan, but all ever invented. Carefully listing 49,964 characters, all with definitions, variants and usage examples, the full set has 14 volumes which retail for Y12,000 a pop, summing up to a cool Y168,000 (about $1500). And note that this is not a "normal" dictionary, it's a character dictionary where the subject of individual entry is a single character: for comparison, imagine an "alphabet dictionary" which would have eg. 170 pages on the letter Q, ways of writing it, what words it is found in, etc and you'll get some idea. For more details, including the answer to "How on earth do you use something like that?", check out Using a Kanji Dictionary.

As the main editor of the Daikanwajiten is a Mr. Tetsuji Morohashi, the character index numbers used in the dictionary are often referred to as Morohashi numbers, and many other dictionaries include these numbers in case the reader wants the full scoop on a character. As archaic, obsolete and just plain obscure characters are often omitted from "mainstream" character sets like JIS and Unicode, if your hobbies happen to include translating 1500-year-old Zen poetry the Morohashi number is often the only way to refer to a character which fell out of use during the Tang Dynasty. Then again, now that Unicode 3.0 includes 27,786 characters, you have to get pretty far out there to run into problems...

* Well, actually both Hanyu Da Cidian (54,678 characters) and Zhonghua Zihai (a ludicrous 85,568) have bigger numbers, but whether this has been reflected in quality as well is debatable. Golden oldies like Kangxi Cidian (47,035 characters, published 1716) and Shouwen Jiezi (9,353 characters, written c. 100 AD) fall far short, but are of course indispensable for etymology.

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