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pISSN : 1598-9585
일본언어문화 , Vol.52 (2020)
Since the Meiji Restoration, there have been various debates over the characters used to describe Japanese. In 1935, Entomologist and member of Kanamojikai, Tsunetaro Okazaki embarked on a research project related to Kanji. In a Kanji writing test conducted on 1479 elementary school students in Tokyo, the average number of correct Kanji per person was only 631. As a result of having 424 ordinary people select 1929 Kanji including regular use Kanji, the number of Kanji selected by 50 or less is 809, accounting for 42% of the total. As a result of examining the 60-day Chinese words in five newspapers, the total number of Kanji was 3542, of which 100 characters had an appearance frequency of 38.7% and 500 characters had an appearance frequency of 77.3%. Based on these results, Okazaki created a proposal to limit 500 Kanji characters. The proposed restrictions based on Okazaki’s empirical research are quite convincing. However, as can be seen from the results of the newspaper survey, it seems that the 500 character limit proposal is somewhat impossible in the situation where about 79% of the Chinese words are read aloud. Currently, the number of common use Kanji in Japan is 2136. Compared to the number of common use Kanji in the 1930s, it increased by 278 characters. Through empirical surveys, Okazaki was trying to reduce the number of Kanji that would be a substantial burden on learning. Now that we can enter a lot of Kanji using machines, we should take a serious look at Okazaki’s proposal.
Japanese character reform; restriction on the use of Kanji; Kanamozikai; regular use Kanji; lieracy;国字問題問題; 漢字制限; カナモジカイ; 常用漢字; 読み書き能力