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I am looking for an offline iPhone app to recognize Japanese words:

  1. I take a picture of a kanji or Japanese word or short piece of Japanese text
  2. The app recognizes the kanji and converts it to text that I can copy and paste where I like (for instance in a dictionary)

Note: Several such application rely on the weocr web service. But I am looking for an offline app, that can be used without connecting to the Internet (for instance in the subway). Sharp phones are very good at OCR, and they don't need to access the internet to recognize kanjis.

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If it doesn't need to be OCR from a photo, you can turn on the Chinese handwriting (traditional) 'keyboard', and draw it with your finger. This works for characters that are the same in hanzi and kanji (which is most but not all). Then you have text you can look up in any offline dictionary, e.g., Kotoba.

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I don't think any currently exist, but developers could look into using this: NHocr

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nhocr is not very good but unfortunately yes, it seems to be the best open source Japanese OCR library so far: – Nicolas Raoul Aug 16 '10 at 6:25
I think can also support Japanese. – user588 Jan 21 '11 at 23:03

Just came across this app right now while searching for the exact same thing you are.

Haven't checked it out yet, so it might be a load of crap...

But you should check it out anyway.
Japan Goggles Translates Japanese Characters Quickly and Easily

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