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林彪

Rationale behind 國 simplification

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林彪

For a while I've been wondering why 國 became 国 in the 1956 character simplification. Anyone have any idea?

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nnt

I've checked in Kangxi Dictionary: there was a "vulgar" form of the character : 囗 + 王 inside. 囗 itself was an old form of 國. I think the simplified form ( 国) is not so new, but I'm not sure (needs some research)

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林彪

My best guess so far is that it was copied from the Japanese character simplification. That guess relies on whether the Japanese simplified the characters first, or whether the Chinese simplified them first. Does anyone know?

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Guest Yinyue Mike

This is by no means certain, but I'm pretty sure I "read somewhere" that 国 is among the simplifications adopted first by the Japanese and later used by China. I suspect though that it was present all along as an unofficial simplification, along with the same character with 王 inside instead of 玉, and the Japanese were the first to adopt it officially. This kind of "popular" simplification is actually really common, even today. Sorry it's not more authoritative! By the way, it might be obvious, but the simplified character took a meaning-meaning approach of treasure (jade) within borders instead of a phonetic-meaning approach 或 huo4 as the phonetic for guo2. Hope that helps.

Mike

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