Vol. 17 (2010)

A note on Sino-Japanese: a question of terminology

Published November 11, 2010


This article explores the concepts of "sino-japanese" and "kanbun" from a number of perspectives. These include the analogy with Latin, the dissemination of texts throughout East Asia, the broad range of styles and registers and the important distinction between script and reading practices. The author argues that to label all kanbun texts produced in Japan "sino-japanese texts" is to overlook the fact that some of them were or could have been read in other parts of East Asia with no difficulty.