The Hanmun and Kanbun Workshops at UBC

In June 2012 and May 2013, the Department of Asian Studies hosted two reading workshops on hanmun/kanbun materials.

IMG_0878_2In 2012, we were joined by Professor Kim Dongwook (Sangmyung University) and Professor Fukuda Takeshi (Musashi University and elsewhere). The hanmunworkshop, convened by Professor Ross King, considered “The problem of ‘vernacular’ in Yadam: Readings from parallel hanmun and vernacular versions ofCh’ŏnggu yadam and Planning for hanmunteaching materials based on works translated by J. S. Gale.” Over the course of five days, participants read, parsed, interpreted and translated into English a series of yadam narratives. They thus gained practice in working with hanmun and vernacular materials and were able to produce a set of translations.

The kanbun reading workshop, convened by Professor Christina Laffin, focused on “Approaches to kanbun/hanmun education across linguistic barriers.” The sessions offered an introduction to kanbun resources by focusing on the primers used in premodern Japan and their influence on later works. Participants examined the history ofkanbun kundoku and kanbun studies, gained practice in using the major kanbundictionaries, waded through commentaries on primers, and learned more about the contexts for kanbun reading and writing practices.

In 2013, our instructors were Professor Sim Kyungho (Korea University) and Professor Fukuda Takeshi.


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The hanmun reading workshop focused on selected readings from a range of different genres by Yi Kyubo (1168-1241), read in conjunction with the English translations of Canadian missionary to Korea, James Scarth Gale (1863-1937).

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The kanbun reading workshop focused on premodern dictionaries and commentaries. Students gained practice in using a range of Japanese and Chinese dictionaries and in tracing the sources used by scholars and authors from the Heian period to the present.

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The reading workshops were supported by a five-year grant from the Academy of Korean Studies and made possible through the organizational work of postdoctoral fellow Sinae Park. Participants included graduate students, visiting scholars, visiting graduate students, and faculty members. We look forward to hosting annual workshops over the remaining three years.