Nara is the capital city of Nara Prefecture located in the Kansai region of Japan. The city occupies the northern part of Nara Prefecture. Eight temples and ruins in Nara remain: Tōdai-ji, Saidai-ji, Kōfuku-ji, Kasuga Shrine, Gangō-ji, Yakushi-ji, Tōshōdai-ji, the Heijō Palace, together with Kasugayama Primeval Forest, collectively form "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara", a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During 710 CE - 784 CE, Nara was the capital of Japan, the Emperor lived there before moving the capital to Kyoto. By the Heian period, a variety of different characters had been used to represent the name Nara: 乃楽, 乃羅, 平, 平城, 名良, 奈良, 奈羅, 常, 那良, 那楽, 那羅, 楢, 諾良, 諾楽, 寧, 寧楽 and 儺羅. A number of theories for the origin of the name Nara have been proposed, some of the better-known ones are listed here; the second theory in the list, by notable folklorist Kunio Yanagita, is most accepted at present. The Nihon Shoki suggests. According to this account, in September in the tenth year of Emperor Sujin, "leading selected soldiers went forward, climbed Nara-yama and put them in order.
Now the imperial forces flattened trees and plants. Therefore the mountain is called Nara-yama." Though the narrative itself is regarded as a folk etymology and few researchers regard it as historical, this is the oldest surviving suggestion, is linguistically similar to the following theory by Yanagita. "Flat land" theory: In his 1936 study of placenames, the author Kunio Yanagita states that "the topographical feature of an area of gentle gradient on the side of a mountain, called taira in eastern Japan and hae in the south of Kyushu, is called naru in the Chūgoku region and Shikoku. This word gives rise to the verb narasu, adverb narashi, adjective narushi." This is supported by entries in a dialect dictionary for nouns referring to flat areas: naru and naro. Yanagita further comments that the way in which the fact that so many of these placenames are written using the character 平, or other characters in which it is an element, demonstrates the validity of this theory. Citing a 1795 document, Inaba-shi from the province of Inaba, the eastern part of modern Tottori, as indicating the reading naruji for the word 平地, Yanagita suggests that naruji would have been used as a common noun there until the modern period.
Of course, the fact that "Nara" was written 平 or 平城 as above is further support for this theory. The idea that Nara is derived from 楢 nara is the next most common opinion; this idea was suggested by Yoshida Togo. This noun for the plant can be seen as early as in Man ` Harima-no-kuni Fudoki; the latter book states the place name Narahara in Harima derives from this nara tree, which might support Yoshida's theory. Note that the name of the nearby city of Kashihara contains a semantically similar morpheme. Nara could be a loan word from Korean nara; this idea was put forward by a linguist Matsuoka Shizuo. Not much about the Old Korean language is known today, the first written attestation of a word ancestral to Modern Korean nara is as late as the 15th century, such as in Yongbieocheonga, Wolinseokbo, or Beophwagyeongeonhae, there is no evidence that proves the word existed as far back as the 7th century; these 15th-century books used narah, an old form of nara in Korean, its older form might be reconstructed *narak.
American linguist Christopher I. Beckwith infers the Korean narak derives from the late Middle Old Chinese 壌, from early *narak, has no connection with Goguryoic and Japanese na. Kusuhara et al. points out this hypothesis cannot account for the fact there are lots of places named Nara and Naro besides this Nara. There is the idea. In some Tungusic languages such as Orok, na means land or the like; some have speculated about a connection between these Tungusic words and Old Japanese nawi, an archaic and somewhat obscure word that appears in the verb phrases nawi furu and nawi yoru. The "Flat land" theory is adopted by Nihon Kokugo Daijiten, various dictionaries for place names, history books on Nara and the like today, it is regarded as the most likely. By decree of an edict on March 11, 708 AD, Empress Genmei ordered the court to relocate to the new capital, Nara. Once known as Heijō or Heijō-kyō, the city was established as Japan’s first permanent capital in 710 CE. Heijō, as the ‘penultimate court’, was abandoned by the order of Emperor Kammu in 784 CE in favor of the temporary site of Nagaoka, Kyoto which retained the status of capital for 1,100 years, until the Meiji Emperor made the final move to Edo
Empress Kōgyoku known as Empress Saimei, was the 35th and 37th monarch of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. Kōgyoku's reign spanned the years from 642 to 645, her reign as Saimei encompassed 655 to 661. In other words, 642: She ascended the throne as Kōgyoku-tennō, she stepped down in response to the assassination of Soga no Iruka. 645: She abdicated in favor of her brother, who would become known as Emperor Kōtoku. 654: Kōtoku died and the throne was vacant. 655: She re-ascended, beginning a new reign as Saimei-tennō. 661: Saimei ruled until her death caused the throne to be vacant again. The two reigns of this one woman spanned the years from 642 through 661. In the history of Japan, Kōgyoku/Saimei was the second of eight women to take on the role of empress regnant; the sole female monarch before Kōgyoku/Saimei was Suiko-tennō. The six women sovereigns reigning after Kōgyoku/Saimei were Jitō, Genshō, Kōken/Shōtoku, Meishō, Go-Sakuramachi. Before her ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, her personal name was Takara.
As empress, her name would have been Ametoyo Takara Ikashi Hitarashi hime. Princess Takara was a great-granddaughter of Emperor Bidatsu. During her first reign the Soga clan seized power, her son Naka no Ōe planned a coup slew Soga no Iruka at the court in front of her throne. The Empress, shocked by this incident, abdicated the throne. Kōgyoku's contemporary title would not have been tennō, as most historians believe this title was not introduced until the reigns of Emperor Tenmu and Empress Jitō. Rather, it was Sumeramikoto or Amenoshita Shiroshimesu Ōkimi, meaning "the great queen who rules all under heaven". Alternatively, Kōgyoku might have been referred to as or the "Great Queen of Yamato". Empress Kōgyoku reigned for four years; the years of Kōgyoku's reign are not linked by scholars to any era or nengō. The Taika era innovation of naming time periods – nengō – was yet to be initiated during her son's too-brief reign. In this context and Ishida's translation of Gukanshō offers an explanation about the years of Empress Jitō's reign which muddies a sense of easy clarity in the pre-Taiho time-frame: "The eras that fell in this reign were: the remaining seven years of Shuchō.
In the third year of the Taka era, Empress Jitō yielded the throne to the Crown Prince."The years of Kōgyoku's reign are not more identified by more than one era name or nengō, an innovation of Kōtoku's brief reign. When Kōtoku died, his designated heir was Naka no Ōe; when Naka no Ōe's mother re-ascended, he continued in the role of her crown prince. In this role, he did remain active in the political life of Japan. In the fifth year of Saimei's reign, Paekche in Korea was destroyed in 660. Japan assisted Paekche loyals in an attempt to aid the revival of Paekche dynasty. Early in 661, Saimei responded to the situation by leaving her capital in Yamato Province, her plan was to lead a military expedition to Korea. The empress stayed in Ishiyu Temporary Palace in today Dōgo Onsen. In May she arrived at Asakura Palace in the north part of Tsukushi province in Kyūshū, today a part of Fukuoka Prefecture; the allied army of Japan and Baekje was preparing for war against Silla, but the death of the empress thwarted those plans.
In 661, Saimei died in the Asakura Palace. In October her body was brought from Kyūshū by sea to Port Naniwa-zu. Empress Saimei ruled for seven years; the years of Saimei's reign are not linked by scholars to any era or nengō. The Taika era innovation of naming time periods – nengō – languished until Mommu reasserted an imperial right by proclaiming the commencement of Taihō in 701; the actual site of Kōgyoku/Saimei's grave is known, having been identified as the Kengoshizuka tomb in the village of Asuka, Nara Prefecture. This empress is traditionally venerated at a memorial Shinto shrine at Nara; the Imperial Household Agency designates this location as Kōgyoku/Seimei's mausoleum. It is formally named Ochi-no-Okanoe no misasagi. Kugyō is a collective term for the few most powerful men attached to the court of the Emperor of Japan in pre-Meiji eras. In general, this elite group included only three to four men at a time; these were hereditary courtiers whose experience and background would have brought them to the pinnacle of a life's career.
During Kōgyoku's reign, this apex of the Daijō-kan included: Sadaijin UdaijinThe kugyō during Saimei's reign included: Sadaijin, Kose no Tokoda, 649–658 Udaijin Naidaijin, Nakatomi no Kamako, 645–669 First Husband: Prince Takamuku, Prince Tame’s son First Son: Prince Kara Second Husband: Prince Tamura Emperor Jomei, Prince Oshisaka-no-hikohito-no-Ōe‘s son Second Son: Prince Naka no Ōe Emperor Tenji) First Daughter: Princess Hashihito, married Emperor Kōtoku Third Son: Prince Ōama Emperor Tenmu Portrayed by Kim Min-kyung in the 2012–2013 KBS1 TV series The King's Dream. Japanese empresses Emperor of Japan List of Emperors of Japan Imperial cult Aston, William George.. Nihongi: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to A. D. 697. London: Kegan Paul, Trubner. OCLC 448337491 Brown, Delmer M. and Ichirō Ishida, eds.. Gukanshō: The Future and the Past. Berkeley: University of California Press
Kada no Azumamaro
Kada no Azumamaro was a poet and philologist of the early Edo period. His ideas had a germinal impact on the nativist school of National Learning in Japan. Azumamaro was born, the second son of Hakura Nobuaki, into a scholarly family that for generations had supplied Shinto priests to the Inari shrine in Fushimi. From an early age he studied traditional Japanese poetry and Shinto thought and belief, his precocity was such that he was soon employed, in 1697, as poetry tutor to one of the sons of Emperor Reigen. Fushimi at the time had been described by Ihara Saikaku as an economically depressed town that had fallen down in its fortunes; this marked it off from the flourishing cultural developments of the Genroku period. He set up an academy for teaching his nativist ideas in the Inari shrine. In 1700 he settled in Edo, where his students came from the Shinto clergy whom he instructed in norito prayers and the Shinto liturgy, though the curriculum encompassed such ancient texts as the Man'yōshū and the Nihon Shoki.
His studies in the former classic profited from the Buddhist priest Keichū, together these two figures may be considered as founding fathers of the movement of nativist thought known as kokugaku. Azumamaro remained in Edo until 1713. After a short time, he returned to Edo for a year on a stipend, but retired to pursue his work in his native Fushima, where he was consulted by members of the Bakufu regarding antiquarian matters regarding ancient court ceremonies and customs, he died by his own hand, after enduring many years of illness, in 1736. He developed an approach which drew a clear distinction between what was considered the native tradition of Japan from the prevalent socio-political orthodoxy of his day, but sought to disentangle Japanese religion from the other major form of foreign thought, Buddhism, he thought in adversarial terms. Kamo no Mabuchi the son of a Shinto priest and, like Azumamaro not of samurai origins, to become a major scholar of ancient literature, first met Azumamaro in 1722, subsequently enrolled to study under him in 1728, moving to Kyoto in 1733 to be taught by Azumamaro on a more permanent basis.
Within a century of his passing, Hirata Atsutane described Kada no Azumamaro as the first of Kokugaku's'great men'. Kokugaku, together with the kogaku school founded by Kamo no Mabuchi laid the foundations for both the renaissance of interest in Japanese classical poetry and culture, for the nativist critique of Confucian ideology, to prove of great ideological importance during and after the transformation of Tokugawa Japan into the modernizing nation of that country under Emperor Meiji. Japanese nationalism Kokugaku Motoori Norinaga Hirata Atsutane
In written language, a logogram or logograph is a written character that represents a word or phrase. Chinese characters are logograms; the use of logograms in writing is called logography, a writing system, based on logograms is called a logographic system. In alphabets and syllabaries, individual written characters represent sounds only, rather than entire concepts; these characters are called phonograms in linguistics. Unlike logograms, phonograms do not have word or phrase meanings singularly until the phonograms are combined with additional phonograms thus creating words and phrases that have meaning. Writing language in this way, is called phonetic writing as well as orthographical writing. Logographic systems include the earliest writing systems. A purely logographic script would be impractical for most languages, none is known, apart from one devised for the artificial language Toki Pona, a purposely limited language with only 120 morphemes. All logographic scripts used for natural languages rely on the rebus principle to extend a limited set of logograms: A subset of characters is used for their phonetic values, either consonantal or syllabic.
The term logosyllabary is used to emphasize the phonetic nature of these scripts when the phonetic domain is the syllable. In both Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs and in Chinese, there has been the additional development of fusing such phonetic elements with determinatives. Logographic writing systems include: Logoconsonantal scripts These are scripts in which the graphemes may be extended phonetically according to the consonants of the words they represent, ignoring the vowels. For example, Egyptian was used to write both sȝ'duck' and sȝ'son', though it is that these words were not pronounced the same apart from their consonants; the primary examples of logoconsonantal scripts are:Hieroglyphs and demotic: Ancient Egyptian Logosyllabic scripts These are scripts in which the graphemes represent morphemes polysyllabic morphemes, but when extended phonetically represent single syllables. They include:Anatolian hieroglyphs: Luwian Cuneiform: Sumerian, other Semitic languages, Hittite, Luwian and Urartian Maya glyphs: Chorti and other Classic Maya languages Han characters: Chinese, Japanese, Zhuang Derivatives of Han characters: Chữ nôm: Vietnam Dongba script written with Geba script: Naxi language Jurchen script: Jurchen Khitan large script: Khitan Sawndip: Zhuang languages Shui script: Shui language Tangut script: Tangut language Yi: various Yi languagesNone of these systems is purely logographic.
This can be illustrated with Chinese. Not all Chinese characters represent morphemes: some morphemes are composed of more than one character. For example, the Chinese word for spider, 蜘蛛 zhīzhū, was created by fusing the rebus 知朱 zhīzhū with the "bug" determinative 虫. Neither *蜘 zhī nor *蛛 zhū can be used separately; this is incorrect. In Archaic Chinese, one can find the reverse: a single character representing more than one morpheme. An example is Archaic Chinese 王 hjwangs, a combination of a morpheme hjwang meaning king and a suffix pronounced /s/. In modern Mandarin, bimorphemic syllables are always written with two characters, for example 花儿 huār'flower'. A peculiar system of logograms developed within the Pahlavi scripts used to write Middle Persian during much of the Sassanid period; these logograms, called hozwārishn, were dispensed with altogether after the Arab conquest of Persia and the adoption of a variant of the Arabic alphabet. Logograms are used in modern shorthand to represent common words.
In addition, the numerals and mathematical symbols are logograms – 1'one', 2'two', +'plus', ='equals', so on. In English, the ampersand & is used for'and' and for Latin et, % for'percent', # for'number', § for'section', $ for'dollar', € for'euro', £ for'pound', ° for'degree', @ for'at', so on. All historical logographic systems include a phonetic dimension, as it is impractical to have a separate basic character for every word or morpheme in a language. In some cases, such as cuneiform as it was used for Akkadian, the vast majority of glyphs are used for their sound values rather than logographically. Many logographic systems have a semantic/ideographic component, called "determinatives" in the case of Egyptian and "radicals" in the case of Chinese. Typical Egyptian usage was to augment a logogram, which may represent several words with different pronunciations, with a determinate to narrow down the meaning, a phonetic component to specify the pronunciation. In the case of Chinese, the vast majority of characters are a fixed combination of a radical that indicates its nominal category, plus a phonetic to give an idea of the pronunciation.
The Mayan system used logograms
Taoism, or Daoism, is a religious or philosophical tradition of Chinese origin which emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao. The Tao is a fundamental idea in most Chinese philosophical schools. Taoism differs from Confucianism by not emphasizing rigid rituals and social order, but is similar in the sense that it is a teaching about the various disciplines for achieving "perfection" by becoming one with the unplanned rhythms of the universe called "the way" or "dao". Taoist ethics vary depending on the particular school, but in general tend to emphasize wu wei, "naturalness", simplicity and the Three Treasures: 慈 "compassion", 儉 "frugality", 不敢為天下先 "humility"; the roots of Taoism go back at least to the 4th century BCE. Early Taoism drew its cosmological notions from the School of Yinyang, was influenced by one of the oldest texts of Chinese culture, the I Ching, which expounds a philosophical system about how to keep human behavior in accordance with the alternating cycles of nature; the "Legalist" Shen Buhai may have been a major influence, expounding a realpolitik of wu wei.
The Tao Te Ching, a compact book containing teachings attributed to Laozi, is considered the keystone work of the Taoist tradition, together with the writings of Zhuangzi. By the Han dynasty, the various sources of Taoism had coalesced into a coherent tradition of religious organizations and orders of ritualists in the state of Shu. In earlier ancient China, Taoists were thought of as hermits or recluses who did not participate in political life. Zhuangzi was the best known of these, it is significant that he lived in the south, where he was part of local Chinese shamanic traditions. Female shamans played an important role in this tradition, strong in the southern state of Chu. Early Taoist movements developed their own institution in contrast to shamanism, but absorbed basic shamanic elements. Shamans revealed basic texts of Taoism from early times down to at least the 20th century. Institutional orders of Taoism evolved in various strains that in more recent times are conventionally grouped into two main branches: Quanzhen Taoism and Zhengyi Taoism.
After Laozi and Zhuangzi, the literature of Taoism grew and was compiled in form of a canon—the Daozang—which was published at the behest of the emperor. Throughout Chinese history, Taoism was nominated several times as a state religion. After the 17th century, however, it fell from favor. Taoism has had a profound influence on Chinese culture in the course of the centuries, Taoists, a title traditionally attributed only to the clergy and not to their lay followers take care to note distinction between their ritual tradition and the practices of Chinese folk religion and non-Taoist vernacular ritual orders, which are mistakenly identified as pertaining to Taoism. Chinese alchemy, Chinese astrology, Chan Buddhism, several martial arts, traditional Chinese medicine, feng shui, many styles of qigong have been intertwined with Taoism throughout history. Beyond China, Taoism had influence on surrounding societies in Asia. Today, the Taoist tradition is one of the five religious doctrines recognized in the People's Republic of China as well as the Republic of China, although it does not travel from its East Asian roots, it claims adherents in a number of societies, in particular in Hong Kong, in Southeast Asia.
Since the introduction of the Pinyin system for romanizing Mandarin Chinese, there have been those who have felt that "Taoism" would be more appropriately spelled as "Daoism". The Mandarin Chinese pronunciation for the word 道 is spelled as tao4 in the older Wade–Giles romanization system while it is spelled as dào in the newer Pinyin romanization system. Both the Wade–Giles tao4 and the Pinyin dào are intended to be pronounced identically in Mandarin Chinese, but despite this fact, "Taoism" and "Daoism" can be pronounced differently in English vernacular; the word "Taoism" is used to translate different Chinese terms which refer to different aspects of the same tradition and semantic field: "Taoist religion", or the "liturgical" aspect – A family of organized religious movements sharing concepts or terminology from "Taoist philosophy". "Taoist philosophy" or "Taology", or the "mystical" aspect – The philosophical doctrines based on the texts of the I Ching, the Tao Te Ching and the Zhuangzi.
These texts were linked together as "Taoist philosophy" during the early Han Dynasty, but notably not before. It is unlikely that Zhuangzi was familiar with the text of the Daodejing, Zhuangzi would not have identified himself as a Taoist as this classification did not arise until well after his death. However, the discussed distinction is rejected by the majority of Japanese scholars, it is contested by hermeneutic difficulties in the categorization of the different Taoist schools and movements. Taoism does not f
Kojiki sometimes read as Furukotofumi, is the oldest extant chronicle in Japan, dating from the early 8th century and composed by Ō no Yasumaro at the request of Empress Genmei. The Kojiki is a collection of myths, early legends, genealogies, oral traditions and semi-historical accounts down to 641 concerning the origin of the Japanese archipelago, the Kami; the myths contained in the Kojiki as well as the Nihon Shoki are part of the inspiration behind many practices. The myths were re-appropriated for Shinto practices such as the misogi purification ritual. Emperor Tenmu ordered Hieda no Are to memorize stories and texts from history, many of which appear to have been, until the creation of the Kojiki known oral traditions. Beyond this memorization, nothing occurred until after Empress Jitō and Emperor Monmu had both passed and Empress Genmei came to reign. According to the Kojiki, Empress Genmei on the 18th of the 9th month of 711 ordered the courtier Ō no Yasumaro to record what had been learned by Hieda no Are.
He finished and presented his work to Empress Genmei on the 28th of the 1st month of 712. The Kojiki could be made to further the Imperial right to rule; this historical narrative is broken into the Age of Gods and the Age of Humans, wherein the mythology of the gods which gave birth to the land is told and transitioned in a chronological fashion to the reign of the Emperors. This narrative sets forth the divine mandate by which the Yamato line has right to rule, through the rhetoric used in the Age of Humans, the historical and military qualifications were established. Several of the narratives which give support to the imperial line, such as the subjugation of certain Korean kingdoms, have been confirmed as false and were included to erase failures and bolster reputations of Emperors past. Vast amounts of the Age of Humans is spent recounting genealogies, which served not only to give age to the imperial family, much newer than the Kojiki claims as little evidence has been found to support the existence of early Emperors, but served to tie, whether true or not, many existing clan's genealogies to their own.
Regardless of the original intent of the Kojiki, it finalized and even formulated the framework by which Japanese history was examined in terms of the reign of Emperors. The Kojiki contains various poems. While the historical records and myths are written in a form of Chinese with a heavy mixture of Japanese elements, the songs are written with Chinese characters, though only used phonetically; this special use of Chinese characters is called Man'yōgana, a knowledge of, critical to understanding these songs, which are written in Old Japanese. The Kojiki is divided into three parts: the Nakatsumaki and the Shimotsumaki; the Kamitsumaki known as the Kamiyo no Maki, includes the preface of the Kojiki, is focused on the deities of creation and the births of various deities of the kamiyo period, or Age of the Gods. The Kamitsumaki outlines the myths concerning the foundation of Japan, it describes how Ninigi-no-Mikoto, grandson of Amaterasu and great-grandfather of Emperor Jimmu, descended from heaven to Takachihonomine in Kyūshū and became the progenitor of the Japanese Imperial line.
The Nakatsumaki begins with the story of Emperor Jimmu, the first Emperor, his conquest of Japan, ends with the 15th Emperor, Emperor Ōjin. The second through ninth Emperors' reigns are recorded in a minimum of detail, with only their names, the names of their various descendants, the place-names of their palaces and tombs listed, no mention of their achievements. Many of the stories in this volume are mythological, the historical information in them is suspect; the Shimotsumaki covers the 16th to 33rd Emperors and, unlike previous volumes, has limited references to the interactions with deities. These interactions are prominent in the first and second volumes. Information about the 24th to the 33rd Emperors is missing, as well. What follows is a condensed summary of the contents of the text, including many of the names of gods and locations as well as events which took place in association to them; the original Japanese is included in parentheses where appropriate. The handing down of old folklore and its significance Emperor Tenmu and setting out the Kojiki Ō no Yasumaro compiling the Kojiki In the Edo period, Motoori Norinaga studied the Kojiki intensively.
He produced. Chamberlain, Basil Hall. 1882. A translation of the "Ko-ji-ki" or Records of ancient matters. Yokohama, Japan: R. Meiklejohn and Co. Printers. Philippi, Donald L. 1968/1969. Kojiki. Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press and Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press. Heldt, Gustav. 2014. The Kojiki: An Account of Ancient Matters. New York: Columbia University Press. There are two major branches of Kojiki manuscripts: Urabe; the extant Urabe branch consists of 36 existing manuscripts all based on the 1522 copies by Urabe Kanenaga. The Ise branch may be subdivided into the Shinpukuji-bon manuscript of 1371–1372 and the Dōka-bon manuscripts; the Dōka sub-branch consists of: the Dōka-bon manuscript of 1381.
Classical Chinese known as Literary Chinese, is the language of the classic literature from the end of the Spring and Autumn period through to the end of the Han dynasty, a written form of Old Chinese. Classical Chinese is a traditional style of written Chinese that evolved from the classical language, making it different from any modern spoken form of Chinese. Literary Chinese was used for all formal writing in China until the early 20th century, during various periods, in Japan and Vietnam. Among Chinese speakers, Literary Chinese has been replaced by written vernacular Chinese, a style of writing, similar to modern spoken Mandarin Chinese, while speakers of non-Chinese languages have abandoned Literary Chinese in favor of local vernaculars. Literary Chinese is known as kanbun in Japanese, hanmun in Korean, cổ văn or văn ngôn in Vietnamese. Speaking, Classical Chinese refers to the written language of the classical period of Chinese literature, from the end of the Spring and Autumn period to the end of the Han dynasty, while Literary Chinese is the form of written Chinese used from the end of the Han Dynasty to the early 20th century, when it was replaced by vernacular written Chinese.
It is also referred to as "Classical Chinese", but sinologists distinguish it from the language of the early period. During this period the dialects of China became more and more disparate and thus the Classical written language became less and less representative of the varieties of Chinese. Although authors sought to write in the style of the Classics, the similarity decreased over the centuries due to their imperfect understanding of the older language, the influence of their own speech, the addition of new words; this situation, the use of Literary Chinese throughout the Chinese cultural sphere despite the existence of disparate regional vernaculars, is called diglossia. It can be compared to the position of Classical Arabic relative to the various regional vernaculars in Arab lands, or of Latin in medieval Europe; the Romance languages continued to evolve, influencing Latin texts of the same period, so that by the Middle Ages, Medieval Latin included many usages that would have baffled the Romans.
The coexistence of Classical Chinese and the native languages of Japan and Vietnam can be compared to the use of Latin in nations that natively speak non-Latin-derived Germanic languages or Slavic languages, to the position of Arabic in Persia or the position of the Indic language, Sanskrit, in South India and Southeast Asia. However, the non-phonetic Chinese writing system causes a unique situation where the modern pronunciation of the classical language is far more divergent than in analogous cases, complicating understanding and study of Classical Chinese further compared to other classical languages. Christian missionaries coined the term Wen-li for Literary Chinese. Though composed from Chinese roots, this term was never used in that sense in Chinese, was rejected by non-missionary sinologues. Chinese characters are not alphabetic and only reflect sound changes; the tentative reconstruction of Old Chinese is an endeavor only a few centuries old. As a result, Classical Chinese is not read with a reconstruction of Old Chinese pronunciation.
With the progress of time, every dynasty has modified the official Phonology Dictionary. By the time of the Yuan Dynasty and Ming Dynasty, the Phonology Dictionary was based on early Mandarin, but since the Imperial Examination required the composition of Shi genre, in non-Mandarin speaking parts of China such as Zhejiang and Fujian, pronunciation is either based on everyday speech as in Cantonese. In practice, all varieties of Chinese combine these two extremes. Mandarin and Cantonese, for example have words that are pronounced one way in colloquial usage and another way when used in Classical Chinese or in specialized terms coming from Classical Chinese, though the system is not as extensive as that of Southern Min or Wu. Japanese, Hokkien-Taiwanese, Cantonese or Vietnamese readers of Classical Chinese use systems of pronunciation specific to their own languages. For example, Japanese speakers use On'yomi pronunciation when reading the kanji of words of Chinese origin such as 銀行 or the name for the city of Tōkyō, but use Kun'yomi when the kanji represents a native word such as the reading of 行 in 行く or the reading of both characters in the name for the city of Ōsaka, a system that aids Japanese speakers with Classical Chinese word order.
Since the pronunciation of all modern varieties of Chinese is different from Old Chinese or other forms of historical Chinese, characters that once rhymed in poetry may not rhyme any longer, or vice versa, which may still rhyme in Min or Cantonese. Poetry and other rhyme-based writing thus becomes less coherent than the original reading must have been. However, some modern Chinese varieties have ce