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The Ideology of Kokugo – Nationalizing Language in Modern Japan - Hawaii Scholarship Online
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The Ideology of Kokugo: Nationalizing Language in Modern Japan

Yeounsuk Lee


Available for the first time in English, this award-winning book looks at the history and ideology behind the construction of kokugo (national language). Prior to the Meiji Period (1868–1912), the idea of a single, unified Japanese language did not exist. Only as Japan was establishing itself as a modern nation-state and an empire with expanding colonies did there arise the need for a national language to construct and sustain its national identity. Re-examining debates and controversies over genbun itchi (unification of written and spoken languages) and other language reform movements, the bo ... More

Keywords: kokugo, national language, unified Japanese language, genbun itchi, Ueda Kazutoshi, Hoshina Kōichi, linguistic identity, modern Japan, cultural nationalism

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2009 Print ISBN-13: 9780824833053
Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016 DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824833053.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Yeounsuk Lee, author
Hitotsubashi University