Chinese in character

By Wang Kaihao ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-10-11 08:39:36

Chinese in character

Staff members from Art Exhibition China pack the treasures in Beijing for the upcoming show Chinese Characters: A Legacy and Marvel Perfected Over Three Millennia in Japan. The exhibits include Terracotta Warriors carved with words and a 7th-century gold slip with 63 characters.[Photo by Jiang Dong/ China Daily]

Why kick off the display in Japan? Hu Sishe, deputy director of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, a co-organizer of the event, points out that Chinese characters are witness to the cross-border communication between China and Japan throughout history.

"The Chinese character is a common cultural foundation for East Asian countries," Hu says. "Chinese and Japanese are the only two languages that still use the writing system. Consequently, developing studies of Chinese characters is a way to improve bilateral cultural exchanges."

For Japanese Sinologist Tetsuji Atsuji, a professor at Kyoto University, the exhibition has significance in his country.

"There are many cultural relic exhibitions in Japan showing the essence of Chinese culture," he says. "But none has ever particularly focused on Chinese characters, which give great impetus to the development of literature, science and the fine arts in Japan."

"After World War II, there was a wave among many Asian countries to abandon Chinese characters-which were considered to be impediments to circulating information in a computer era," the professor continues.

He says the status of Chinese characters in Japan will continue to be endangered if people cannot recognize them with a historical point of view. "Development of our future needs to rely on inheritance of traditions."

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