Bureaucrats in mid-seventh century Japan were faced with not only having to learn to write the Chinese script, but also to read Classical Chinese and to familiarize themselves with the Chinese classics, while also devising methods for transcribing the vernacular Japanese language using that same script. This talk explores the process of literacy acquisition in early Japan through the corpus of excavated wooden slips known as mokkan. Dr. Burge will consider the ways in which scribes in seventh and eighth-century Japan approached honing calligraphic, interpretative, and compositional skills in a variety of written registers.
Dr. Marjorie Burge is an Assistant Professor of Japanese at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research focuses on the early written cultures of the southern Korean peninsula and the Japanese archipelago. She is currently working on her first book manuscript, titled Unearthing the Written Cultures of Early Korea and Japan.
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