- 英学史研究 (ISSN:03869490)
- vol.1991, no.23, pp.41-55, 1990 (Released:2010-05-07)
Most current dictionaries say that “Kirin” is a correct Japanese translation of giraffe, which is an Arabic word meaning “fast walker.” Japanese and Chinese words usually use the same Chinese characters, but the Chinese word for giraffe is Changjinglu (長頸鹿) “long-necked deer”, whereas Kirin is a mythical animal that traditionally appeared in connection with the arrival of a saint.In the Ming dynasty, Kirin was used in the meaning of giraffe in China, some of which passages the writer found in 'The History of Ming (明史).'But as more people saw giraffes, they became more aware of the differences between Kirin and giraffe.In 1860, Gempo Mitsukuri tried translating the Latin name Camelopardalis (camel-panther) into 'Hyoda.'But in 1907 when the first giraffe was actually imported to Japan and called a Kirin by Dr. Chiyomatsu Ishikawa (first director of Ueno Zoo), “Kirin” became the official word in Japan.