- 北東アジア研究 (ISSN:13463810)
- no.29, pp.169-181, 2018-03
What made Amane Nishi translate western thoughts into Japanese employing Chinese character: kanji, whereas he was considered as one of strong advocates of the abolition of kanji? The purpose of this paper is to offer an integrated view on this seemingly conflicted attitudes of him. First, the present study compares his debate on the revision of national language and character with those of his contemporaries. This comparison demonstrates his linguistic view in the age of civilization and enlightenment. Second, this paper examines Nishi's approach to academic translation and it's impact on the current translation studies and philosophy of translation. In particular, we focus on his Japanese translation of the word philosophy. Our analysis will not simply juxtapose his academic usage of and the problematization of kanji. His intention was to create the national language and character in colloquial style that reflect the nature of spoken Japanese. His proposal on the abolition of kanji was a solution for fulfilling the goal. On the other hand, in his translation of academic concepts with kanji, he made a strong effort to preserve their original meanings (gi-yaku). He was particularly careful not to employ ancient Confucian expressions. It can be argued that Nishi seeked the establishment of modern Japanese avoiding the simple transcription of western language and the misappropriation of Chinese character coupled with its thoughts. Therefore, the paper proposes that his understanding of the nature of language and his linguistic practice, whether it is the debate on the revision of national language or the translation of western concepts with kanji, are the reflection of his consistent attempt at the creation of the new unified "modern Japanese". What we should not overlook is the fact that he unfailingly recognized the uniqueness of both western and Chinese thoughts.