Okajima Kanzan

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Okajima Kanzan was a scholar and teacher of Chinese language and calligraphy, known for compiling the first Japanese dictionary of vernacular Chinese in 1716.

Okajima came from a hereditary family of Nagasaki-based Chinese-language interpreters. He left that vocation to pursue a different life in Edo, and ended up becoming a notable contributor to Ogyû Sorai's Chinese-language association. In 1716, he compiled the Tôwa san'yô, a dictionary of spoken Chinese.


  • Rebeckah Clements, "Speaking in Tongues? Daimyo, Zen Monks, and Spoken Chinese in Japan, 1661–1711," The Journal of Asian Studies Vol. 76, No. 3 (August) 2017: 608.