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Koguryo: The Language of Japan's Continental Relatives: An Introduction to the Historical-Comparative Study of the Japanese-Koguryoic Languages (Brill's Japanese Studies Library) Hardcover – September 1, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-9004160255 ISBN-10: 9004160256 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Series: Brill's Japanese Studies Library (Book 21)
  • Hardcover: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Brill Academic Pub; 2 edition (September 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9004160256
  • ISBN-13: 978-9004160255
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,329,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Taneo Ishikawa on September 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although it is unadvisable to judge a book by its cover or price, let us look at the cover picture - a drawing of a mounted archer shooting backward - on the front cover of "Koguryo: The Language of Japan's Continental Relatives" by Christopher I. Beckwith, a distinguished linguist of Eurasian languages. He rightfully identifies the bowman, from the wall painting of the famous Koguryo "Dance Tomb", as a warrior hero and rice grain god worshipped at the kingdom's harvest festival. Yet, in the eye of this reviewer, the picture looks more like a warlike entity, at a shoot-and-run moment, perhaps after his failed "clear and hold" operations.

At any rate, it is now possible for general readers to read Beckwith's book under a more critical light, thanks to the subsequent niche publication by his contenders and cohorts, such as J. Marshall Unger, the author of "The Role of Contact in the Origins of the Japanese and Korean Languages" (2009), and Alexander Vovin, who wrote "Koreo-Japonica: A Re-evaluation of a Common Genetic Origin" (2010). For me to read the works of these three linguists - all well-connected Japan hands - has yielded a review as follows:

There was a heyday of Japanese ethnolinguistic theories in the `70s through the `80s, a time of Japan's rise to an economic giant, when scholarly dinosaurs of historical-comparative linguistics, like Roy A. Miller and Shichiro Murayama, roamed over eastern Eurasia, seeking homelands for their Altaic or Austronesian protolanguages, while a century-old Korean-Japanese divergent (common ancestor) theories seemed like becoming a household notion.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mosol on August 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Interpretation of the ancient Chinese scriptures to modern languages had been tarnished by the Chinese Imperial court, and Confucian culture. Later historian used, and moved on to the next steps without any critical thinking. Western scholars accepted only one sided story. With this premises, Mosol starts to explore many issues around the Eastern End of the Great wall under the title "Ancient History of the Manchuria".After Emperor Wu of Han invaded Manchuria 108 BC, lots of people left south western Manchuria to the north and the south; Korean peninsula and Japanese archipelagos. As the result, they all spoke very similar Tungusic language as stated in the scripture; `'`­Cê*säo's "¯. ¾ê*säoŠØ"¯. `'l`Z--*véPC¾ê*säo*véPA<å--í"¯.
In this example the phrase *säo had been misinterpreted as "not the same". But in fact, this phrase came from /referring the *säo "Vs , which had been in the south western mountainous region of Manchuria. Thus "`'`­Cê*säo's "¯. ¾ê*säoŠØ"¯" means (The Japanese)"culture, language is same /similar to the China('s , which is referring the North Eastern part of China proper; around the eastern end of the Great Wall. Language was also same in the Korean peninsula as well.
I recommend these two books to the other to get the whole/better picture about the root of modern language in the Korean Peninsula and Japanese islands.
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5 of 12 people found the following review helpful By W. Bang on October 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Beckwith makes very interesting connections in relating history to the languages. However, although he is correct that many Koguryo families(royal families) were taken to Tang China as exiles after the Silla-Tang conquest and subsequent unification of Korea,the vast majority of Koguryo families (I wish I can cite you the numbers) moved to the Korean peninsula proper while others were able to stay behind above the Yalu and form the neo-Koguryo ruling state called Palhae. You also have to remember, Silla had a tenuous hold on the peninsula full of non-Silla peoples (Paekche and Koguryo). And it was a Koguryo descendant Won Kon who through a Coup Detat established the Koryo dynasty. Why would he name the new state Koryo if he didn't have the power backing of others who claimed Koguryo descent? This is why I disagree with Beckwith's assertion that Korea has very little genetic Korguryo blood. This leads to my second point, genetics and language is not always the same thing; take a look how Spanish and English speakers today have little to do with the languages' place of origin.
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