May 8, 2017

Skills and Knowledge to Understand Komonjo

Filed under: resources — Tags: , — okinawacollection @ 2:00 PM

Skills and Knowledge of Understanding Komonjo / 古文書, Archives and Old Documents

The University of the Ryukyus Library’s Okinawa Collection [琉球大学沖縄資料室] offers a monthly column called “Kijimun’s Monologue.” Some of the column’s back number has English version in addition to the Japanese version.

Last month’s column was about the characters used in komonjo / 古文書 (ancient documents).

Image of Kijimun's Monologue, April 2017

[Source: http://www.lib.u-ryukyu.ac.jp/wordpress3/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/H2904_eng.pdf]

“Among Komonjo of Ryukyu, the most beautiful character was used in Omorosōshi (an anthology of ancient songs for religious service in Ryukyu. Completed in 1531.) This is the record of prayers which Kikoe ōkimi (the chief priestess) and Noro (priestess) gave.”

「琉球の古文書で一番文字が美しいのは、なんといっても『おもろさうし』(琉球の祭祀の言葉を記録した本。1531年に1巻が成立)です。琉球王国の神に仕える聞得大君(きこえおおきみ)や神女達が使っていた祈りの言葉を記したものです」。

[Source: http://www.lib.u-ryukyu.ac.jp/wordpress3/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/H2904_jpn.pdf]

The Japan Studies Librarian at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa organized a workshop in February 2017. Some of the presentations made during the workshop are related to the characters used in komonjo.

NIJL Workshop at UH Mānoa, February 2017http://guides.library.manoa.hawaii.edu/nijl

Introduction to kuzushiji (cursive Japanse calligraphy): As an example of “Fuji no Hitoana” owned by the Honolulu Museum of Art by Prof. Tomoko Koida of National Institute of Japanese Literature [NIJL] (恋田知子、国文学研究所教授).

UH Mānoa Library has some dictionaries and learning materials on kuzushiji [cursive Japanese].

<How to Find These Resources>
  1. Go to the UH Mānoa Library’s Online Catalog, Voyager [https://uhmanoa.lib.hawaii.edu/vwebv/searchBasic].
  2. Search the catalog with a keyword, “kuzushiji.” (no quotation marks)