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The Localization Strategies of Kanji (Chinese characters) and Kanbun (Chinese writing) in Pre-modern Japan


Prof. NG Wai-ming, Benjamin



The Japanese use Chinese characters and write Chinese in their own unique way. The Chinese language was appropriated to express Japanese expressions and feelings. Based on primary Japanese sources, this talk will discuss how the Chinese language was indigenized and hybridized to become a part of the Japanese language and culture from the Nara-Heian period to the Tokugawa period. Strictly speaking, this is not a study of Japanese linguistics. The localization of the Chinese characters and writing is examined through the lens of Sino-Japanese cultural exchange.