City University of Hong Kong Dep
Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics
The Role of Kanji in the History of the Japanese Written Language
Professor Eiji Matsuoka
Professor of Japanese and Chinese Language and Culture
National Tokyo Gakugei University
Date: 22 September 2008, Monday
Time: 4:30pm - 6:00pm
Venue: P4908 (4/F, Purple Zone), Academic Building, CityU
Asking where and when kanji were introduced to Japan is the same as asking where did Japanese people come from – we know very little about it. However, the existence of ancient works such as Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters) (712) and Nihon Shoki (Chronicles of Japan)(720) indicates that kanji has played an important role in expressing the Japanese language for more than 1500 years. Its usage can be divided as follows:
1. Writing kanbun-style works (including ancient Chinese writings and classical Chinese)
2. Writing wabun-style works
In this lecture, by using Nihon shoki, Kojiki and works written in the Meiji period, I am going to introduce the role and function of kanji from the view of comparative study of Chinese and Japanese languages.
Professor Matsuoka is professor of Japanese and Chinese language and culture, National Tokyo Gakugei University, and the former Director of National Beijing Research Centre of Japanese Studies (co-established by Chinese and Japanese governments). He was the chief delegate of Japan National Body to edit ISO-IEC 10646 (Unicode) during 1990-2005. In 1999, he won Unicode Bulldog Award in US. He edited the Sanseido New Reikai Japanese Dictionary as a secretary of its editorial group from 1978 to 1984, and Sanseido Crown Chinese-Japanese Dictionary as Editor-in-Chief from 1994 to 2001. Prof. Matsuoka was born in 1951 at Hamamatsu, Japan. He graduated from Tokyo Normal University in 1975 and studied at the Graduate School of University of Tokyo from 1975 to 1979. He majored in Chinese classic literature, especially literature in Six Dynasties, and Sociolinguistics.