|Languages||Japanese and Okinawan|
|ca 650 CE to ?|
Man'yōgana (万葉仮名) is an ancient writing system that employs Chinese characters to represent the Japanese language. The date of the earliest usage of this type of kana is not clear, but it was in use since at least the mid seventh century. The name "man'yōgana" is from the Man'yōshū, a Japanese poetry anthology from the Nara period written in man'yōgana.
- Origin 1
- Principles 2
- Types 3
- Development 4
- See also 5
- Notes 6
- Works cited 7.1
- External links 8
A possible oldest example of Man'yōgana is the iron
- An extensive list of man’yōgana arranged according to the characters, and not their readings
- Tomasz Majtczak: How are we supposed to write with something like that? Early employment of the Chinese script to write Japanese as exemplified by the Man’yōshū.
- Joshi, R. Malatesha; Aaron, P. G. (2006). Handbook Of Orthography And Literacy.
- Seeley, Christopher. A History of Writing in Japan. University of Hawaii: 2000. 19-23.
- X線がいざなう古代の世界 －埼玉県・熊本県出土金銀象嵌銘刀剣が伝えた時代－
- Sacred texts and buried treasures: issues in the historical archaeology of ancient Japan by William Wayne Farris P102  "The writing style of several other inscriptions also betrays Korean influence... Researchers discovered the longest inscription to date, the 115-character engraving on the Inariyama sword, in Saitama in the Kanto, seemingly far away from any Korean emigrés. The style that the author chose for the inscription, however, was highly popular in Paekche."
- Joshi & Aaron 2006, p. 483.
- 借音 shakuon; "borrowed sound"
- 借訓 shakkun; "borrowed meaning"
- Idu script, Korean analog
Man'yōgana continues to appear in some regional names of present-day Japan, especially in Kyūshū. A phenomenon similar to man'yōgana, called ateji (当て字), still occurs, where words (including loanwords) are spelled out using kanji for their phonetic value: for example, 倶楽部 (kurabu, club), or 珈琲 (kōhii, coffee).
The use of multiple kanji for a single syllable also led to hentaigana (変体仮名), alternate letterforms for hiragana. Hentaigana were officially discouraged in 1900.
Kanji that were used as man'yōgana eventually gave rise to hiragana and katakana. Hiragana developed from man'yōgana written in the highly cursive sōsho style; katakana is based upon man'yōgana, and was developed by Buddhist monks as a form of shorthand. In some cases, one man'yōgana character for a given syllable gave rise to the current hiragana equivalent, and a different one gave rise to the current katakana equivalent. For example, the hiragana る (ru) is derived from the man'yōgana 留, the katakana ル (ru) is derived from the man'yōgana 流.
|Morae||1 character, complete||1 character, partial||2 characters||3 characters|
|1||女 (め), 毛 (け), 蚊 (か)||石 (し), 跡 (と), 市 (ち)||嗚呼 (あ), 五十 (い), 可愛 (え), 二二 (し), 蜂音 (ぶ)|
|2||蟻 (あり), 巻 (まく), 鴨 (かも)||八十一 (くく), 神楽声 (ささ)|
|3||慍 (いかり), 下 (おろし), 炊 (かしき)|
|Morae||1 character, complete||1 character, partial|
|1||以 (い), 呂 (ろ), 波 (は)||安 (あ), 楽 (ら), 天 (て)|
|2||信 (しな), 覧 (らむ), 相 (さが)|
In man'yōgana, kanji are mapped to sounds in a number of different ways, some of which were straightforward and others which are less so.
In some cases, specific syllables in particular words are consistently represented by specific characters. This usage is known as Jōdai Tokushu Kanazukai. It has led historical linguists to conclude that certain sounds in Old Japanese, represented by differing sets of man'yōgana characters, may have merged since then.
The sounds mo (母, 毛) and shi (之, 思) are written with multiple characters. While all particles and most words are represented phonetically (多太 tada, 安佐 asa), the words umi (海) and funekaji (船梶) are rendered semantically.
|Romanized||Shioji kara||tadakoe kureba||Hakuhi no umi||asanagi shitari||funekaji mogamo|
Man'yōgana uses kanji characters for their phonetic rather than semantic qualities—in other words, they are used for their sounds and not their meanings. There was no standard system for choice of kanji; different kanji could represent a similar sound, the choice made on the whims of the writer. By the end of the 8th century, 970 kanji were in use to represent the 90 morae of Japanese. For example, the Man'yōshū poem 17/4025 was written as follows:
.Baekje There is a possibility that the inscription of Inariyama sword may be written in a version of the Chinese language used in the Korean-peninsula kingdom of