Spirit of kanji is alive in Korea

Regarding the use of Chinese characters in Vietnam and Korea, Dipak Basu [in his Oct. 13 letter] is simply wrong.

The Vietnamese (largely) abandoned the traditional writing systems only through coercion from their French rulers.

In South Korea, hanja are still taught and used, and even in North Korea there is still instruction in Sino-Korean, including character use.

As a fellow academic, I would urge Basu to get off his high horse on this, as he is clearly no expert.

from the japan times online

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

  • Starviking

    What rubbish! Not only did the Vietnamese nationalists embrace the Latinization of their language, but they have had over 50 years to return to Kanji, if that is what they so wished.

    They have not.

    • Joachim

      You quite miss the point. The original claim was that the Vietnamese first abandoned the use of Chinese characters quite on their own. And what does “over 50 years” mean? Your history is clearly quite wobbly…Once a writing system has been replaced, it is generally unfeasible to restore it, cf. the traditional Mongolian script, but that wasn’t the issue anyway…Vietnamese was never “latinized”; now there is real “rubbish”!

      • Starviking

        The modern Vietnamese alphadet uses the Latin script, so no – not rubbish.

        As for over 50 years – I’m referring to the final breaking of French influence over both Vietnams in 1955.

        As for Vietnamese abandoning the use of Chinese characters independently – nothing occurs in a vacuum. Still,
        did the French coerce the Nationalists of the Tonkin Free School into making Latin script a cornerstone of their education? I doubt it.

  • DBose2

    I suspect this Joachim is one of the 50,000 strong Chinese internet army. Otherwise one cannot write so much rubbish.

    North Korea had abolished Kanji in 1949; South Korea abolished it in 1970s. There is no Kanji in Koreas today, only Hangul is the officially recognized script for the Koran language.

    Vietnam is totally against anything Chinese, Kanji included.

    Thus, whoever had banished Kanji, whether it was France or U.S.A or the Vietnamese they did a great job.

    Given the hostility of China towards Japan, Kanji should be abolished from Japan too.

    Kanji is an outdated system of language. 5000 years ago people in the Indus Valley, Sumer, Babylon, Egypt used to use picture as scripts. After the invention of Alphabets, there is no need for this backward system of language.