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MaoTsetung

Shinjitai, A Precursor To Jiantizi?

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MaoTsetung

Hi everyone!

I am new here, so I don't really know where I should post my question. I hope I am not mistaken, if so, please move my question to the proper forum!

I have long been interested in the history of the simplification of the Chinese characters and I found out, on Wikipedia and other websites where lists of Shinjitai (Japanese Simplified Characters) are published, that a lot of the shinjitai's are the same as the jiantizi's. The shinjitai were promulgated in 1949, while the jiantizi became official a few years later, in two batches, namely in 1956 and 1964.

So I am wondering whether the linguists who were in charge of simplifying the Chinese characters actually took some of the characters from the Japanese list.

Some of the characters that are shared between the two systems are: 国、济、学、写、与、体.

Thank you!

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Hofmann

Maybe, but you'd have to check whether or not they were used before the Japanese simplification.

Edit: And used in that particular sense; substitutions don't count.

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Jose

I think many of those characters were also in the list of simplified characters promulgated by the Kuomintang government in China in 1935 (第一批簡體字表). You can find some images online (Google Images search). At that time, the idea that Chinese characters and Japanese kanji were too complicated and needed some sort of reform (from moderate simplification to radical phonetisation) was very common among reformist intellectuals in both China and Japan, and it is not surprising that the lists of simplified characters of the time should be very similar.

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trien27

Some of the simplifications were borrowed from China into Japan[Jiantizi] or from Japan to China [shinjitai]. The time frame on which its borrowed varies. Unofficially, there has always been simplifications in the Chinese language through various calligraphic "font styles" throughout it's history. Da zhuan got simplified and became Xiao zhuan, etc... Kaishu got simplified via Caoshu & Xingshu, to what's now called Traditional Chinese to Simplified Chinese, etc... There are other unofficial simplifications which were virtually unknown if you weren't used to seeing handwritten forms, etc....

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Glenn

Some of the characters that are shared between the two systems are: 国、济、学、写、与、体.

Nitpicking alert: leaving aside the difference between jiantizi and Japanese's 写 and 与 (the line protrudes in Japanese, not in jiantizi), 济 is different. In Japanese there are two horizontal lines inside the "fence posts": 済. There are a few that are really similar but different, like that one (and all characters containing the right side) and 対 (Japanese) and 对 (jiantizi).

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MaoTsetung

I am not litterate in Japanese, so please excuse my bad choice of characters!

I found out the strange similarity between both simplified systems by glancing through some Japanese texts where Chinese characters stand out in the sea of hiragana, katakana and the occasional romanji. Because the shinjitai were put in official use before the jiantizi (1949 vs 1956), I thought we were dealing here with an early case of "copyright infringement"!

But I forgot the first 1936 list of simplified characters proposed by the Kuomintang, and the fact that a lot of the jiantizi are derived from the cursive forms of characters (草书楷化) a process that the Japanese probably also used for their shinjitai.

I wonder if in these times of war between the two countries, they would actually consult each other as to the best way to simplify their characters. I think not. So I at first concluded that the Communist Party had copied some of the Japanese shinjitai.

Does anyone know of any study that was made on the subject or of any books that dealt with both simplification processes?

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Hofmann

Another difference is that the fourth stroke of 济 is a dot in Simplified Chinese, and a vertical stroke in Shinjitai 済.

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