Summer Kambun Workshop

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The USC Summer Kambun Workshop is an intensive language training program in reading and translating premodern texts written in Sino-Japanese (Kambun). The Workshop brings together graduate students, young faculty, and other scholars from the U.S. and abroad for full-day, collaborative sessions led by faculty specialists from Japan and the U.S. The language of the Workshop is Japanese, and each Workshop focuses on its own theme or historical period. Participants learn to read Sino-Japanese materials with greater fluency, to develop their research and bibliographical skills, and to becomes acquainted with peers in the field of premodern Japanese historical studies.

The Workshops are held in the East Asia Library on the USC campus, and utilize the library's Premodern Japanese Collection during morning classes and afternoon study sessions.

View workshop translations


 

A Legacy of Workshop Leaders

The Kambun Workshop is an effort between some of the top researchers in Japan and the United States.  Professor Ishigami Eiichi (left) of the University of Tokyo's Historiographical Institute led numerous kambun workshops on classical era materials prior to his retirement.

View some of Professor Ishigami's workshops' translations:

Kambun Workshop 2006
This year Professor Ishigami focused on Heian Period documents, including the Ruiju sandai kyaku.

Kambun Workshop 2007
For 2007, the workshop looked at documents only from the year 985, providing a fascinating glimpse into Heian period life.

 

Professor Hideo Yamaguchi lectures Workshop attendees on architectural layouts and how it impacts translation while considering a passage from the  Shōyūki,  in the 2014 Workshop.

Professor Hideo Yamaguchi lectures Workshop attendees on architectural layouts and how it impacts translation while considering a passage from the Shōyūki, in the 2014 Workshop.

The Life of a Courtier around 1000

In 2014, under the guidance of Professor Yamaguchi, from the Historiographical Institute of the University of Tokyo, participants analyzed and translated entries from the Shōyūki, the diary of Fujiwara no Sanesuke. Sanesuke was a contemporary of Lady Murasaki, the author of The Tale of Genji, and some of the most famous figures of the Heian Period. Read more

Professor Toshiko Takahashi aides Kambun Workshop attendees with their translation projects using the Tōji Hyakugō Monjo at the 2016 Kambun Workshop.

Professor Toshiko Takahashi aides Kambun Workshop attendees with their translation projects using the Tōji Hyakugō Monjo at the 2016 Kambun Workshop.

Translations from the Gyokuyō, 1169

In 2008, Workshop attendees worked with a fascinating array of texts from the 12th century, including this description of a mass protest by Enryakuji monks: "Men armed with arrows are crowding into the retired tennō’s mansion; there is great turmoil. The assembled monks were outside of the door of the guardpost for the Gate Guards of the Left. Their numbers were so great they could not be counted. Each one shouted and beat a drum. Their clamoring and commotion were beyond measure. It cannot be recorded in mere words..." Read more ...