The Ideology of Kokugo: Nationalizing Language in Modern by Yeounsuk Lee, Maki Harano Hubbard

By Yeounsuk Lee, Maki Harano Hubbard

Available for the 1st time in English, The Ideology of Kokugo: Nationalizing Language in sleek Japan (1996) is Lee Yeounsuk’s award-winning examine the heritage and beliefs in the back of the development of kokugo (national language). sooner than the Meiji interval (1868–1912), the belief of a unmarried, unified jap language didn't exist. purely as Japan used to be constructing itself as a latest geographical region and an empire with increasing colonies did there come up the necessity for a countrywide language to build and maintain its nationwide identity.

Re-examining debates and controversies over genbun itchi (unification of written and spoken languages) and different language reform activities, Lee discusses the contributions of Ueda Kazutoshi (1867–1937) and Hoshina Koichi (1872–1955) within the construction of kokugo and strikes us one step towards realizing how the ideology of kokugo solid a spell over linguistic id in sleek Japan. She examines the inspiration of the unshakable homogeneity of the japanese language―a trust born of the political weather of early-twentieth-century Japan and its colonization of different East Asian countries―urging us to concentrate on the linguistic recognition that underlies "scientific" scholarship and language regulations. Her severe dialogue of the development of kokugo uncovers a pressure of cultural nationalism that has been lengthy nurtured in Japan’s schooling approach and educational traditions. The ideology of kokugo, argues Lee, has to be well-known either as a tutorial gear and a political concept.

The Ideology of Kokugo was once the 1st paintings to discover Japan’s linguistic awareness on the sunrise of its modernization. it's going to accordingly be of curiosity not to in simple terms linguists, but additionally historians, anthropologists, political scientists, and students within the fields of schooling and cultural studies.

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Extra resources for The Ideology of Kokugo: Nationalizing Language in Modern Japan

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Toyama, as a leading social evolutionist, together with Katō Hiroyuki, his colleague at Tokyo University, advocated the tenet “the stronger prey upon the weaker,” and therefore must have felt that he had to criticize the fundamental philosophy of these movements, the natural rights of man. Thus, “Shintai kanji yaburi” was an attempt to promote social evolution in script, with the hidden intention to nip in the bud an evil of social change. Though he was speaking for the Kana Association, Toyama’s article in June of the same year indicated that by that time he had already changed his vote from kana to rōmaji.

Proposals by Maejima Hisoka to Abolish Kanji The debate about national language and script in modern Japan was ignited by Maejima Hisoka, then a shogunate translator (kaiseijo hanyakukata), in his 1866 “Kanji on-haishi no gi” (Proposal for the Abolition of Chinese Charac- Perspectives on Kokuji, the National Script 25 ters)3 to Shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu (Nishio and Hisamatsu 1969, 17–20). The opening paragraph gives the tenor of the proposal: The foundation of a nation is the education of its people.

Such belief drew them to Western phonetic alphabets and even led them to advocate the adoption of a Western language to reform kokugo. â•‹Whitney, professor of linguistics at Yale University, a proposal to reconstitute the Japanese language (nihongo) by replacing kanbun, Chinese writing, with English. (Ōno 1983, 19; emphasis mine) We must notice, however, something subtle and strange in these condemnations of Mori’s proposals. Their lines of argument, which lack an accurate understanding of Mori’s true intentions, conceal a fact that explains the Japanese people’s sense of their language.

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