Reports on Educational Activities by Year

June 5-6, 2012

"Reading Early Modern Japanese Kuzushiji" (Reading Komonjo Workshop, Ruhr-Universität Bochum)

Venue: Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Organizer: National Museum of Japanese History (Kurushima, "General Coordinating Team")

Host institution: Department of East Asian Studies, Ruhr-Universität Bochum (Bochum, Germany)

Instructor: Hiroshi Kurushima (National Museum of Japanese History)

Workshop description: This workshop, titled "Reading Kuzushiji Documents in Siebold-related Document Collections (1)," provides instruction in how to read cursive forms, or kuzushiji, in correspondence from the time of Siebold's second visit to Japan, including correspondence with the Shogunate's Gaikoku Bugyo ("magistrate of foreign affairs"), as well as letters addressed to Ine.

Audience: Ruhr-Universität Bochum Deparment of Japanese graduate and undergraduate students (20 participants)


Workshop goals:

(1) The shortest path to reading komonjo is "reading and writing"!  
  1. Memorize basic cursive forms (kuzushi) as well as basic compound words and how to read them
  2. Learn stroke order and character shapes by reading aloud and tracing characters by hand

(2) Learning outcomes for this workshop
  1. To use simple dictionaries effectively
  Useful dictionaries will be introduced for recommended self-study and self-practice. Time to have some fun with dictionaries!
  2. Master necessary characters (about 300 characters): learn cursive forms (kuzushi), compound words, and conjunctives.  
  3. Getting used to various types of early modern komonjo is necessary
  → As much as possible, we will looks at texts and books to understand what can be read out of these historical materials
  4. Reading typeset editions of historical materials is also something we will do

(Text: Kurushima)