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Classical Japanese language

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Title: Classical Japanese language  
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Subject: Kesen dialect, Japanese language, Early Middle Japanese, Classical languages, Sarutahiko Okami
Collection: Archaic Japanese Language, Classical Languages
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Classical Japanese language

The Classical Japanese language (文語 bungo) is the literary form of the Japanese language that was the standard until the early Shōwa period (1926–89). It is based on Early Middle Japanese, the language as spoken during the Heian era (794–1185), but exhibits some later influences. Its use started to decline during the late Meiji period (1868–1912) when novelists started writing their works in the spoken form. Eventually, the spoken style came into widespread use, including in major newspapers, but many official documents were still written in the old style. After World War II, most documents switched to the spoken style, although the classical style continues to be used in traditional genres, such as haiku. Old laws are also left in the classical style unless fully revised.


  • Orthography 1
  • Grammar 2
  • See also 3
  • External links 4




Tōdai moto kurashi
The particle は is omitted more often than in the spoken style.


Onna wa sangai-ni ie-nashi

See also

External links

  • Bungo Nyūmon: A Brief Introduction to Classical Japanese
  • Bibliography of premodern Japanese texts and translations
  • Vol. 34, No. 4 (Winter, 1979), pp. 501-504.Monumenta Nipponica, by Akira Komai," A Grammar of Classical JapaneseBart. "Book Review:
  • Dictionaries for Classical Japanese

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