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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: September 2019

16 - Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese from c. 1800

from Part III - The Modern World: Continuing Traditions


The story of Japanese and Korean lexicography from the beginnings to the eighteenth century was told in Chapter 10 above as part of the story of the lexicography of the Chinese periphery, and the story of the earliest lexicography of Vietnamese, which was undertaken by European missionaries, is told in Chapter 29 below. The story which this chapter will tell is a complex one, tracing the continuing development of the traditions of Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese lexicography, in contact with each other and with Western and Chinese traditions.

Since the start of the nineteenth century, Japanese lexicography has been transformed by interlocking social, linguistic, and technological changes. During the Tokugawa period (seventeenth to mid nineteenth centuries), a feedback loop between expanding literacy and woodblock printing led to a boom in commercial publishing, including many dictionaries and encyclopedias.