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ERIC Number: ED030088
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1969-Mar
Pages: 9
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Japanese Characters in Written Japanese.
Buck, James H.
From the sixth to the eighth century A.D., Japan was the recipient of massive cultural infusions from China. This acceptance of the Chinese pattern included, and to a great extent was based on, the acceptance of the Chinese language. The Chinese writing system was applied to Japanese because there was no other model to follow and in spite of the fact that the languages are quite dissimilar. While most of the basic characters used in writing Japanese are of Chinese origin, there are also a small number of "Japanese characters" called "kokuji." These forms are conscious creations of the Japanese mind in the form of Chinese characters and in accordance with principles for writing Chinese characters. On the average, these constructed characters are of rather recent origin and tend to be complicated to write. Most of the "kokuji" are constructed of elements which suggest the meaning rather than indicating the pronunciation. For example, to denote "killer whale" the two Chinese characters for "fish" and "tiger" were combined into one. It would seem that most Japanese characters were devised to represent highly specific units of measure or objects such as types of trees, fish, articles of clothing or equipment. Only three of these characters are included in the Japanese Government's list of 1,850 basic characters but they are still used informally. (JD)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A