BOOKS / 出版物

The Japanese Linguistic Landscape

The Japanese Linguistic Landscape

Reflections on Quintessential Words

Nakanishi Susumu
Translated by Ryan Shaldjian Morrison
Photographs by Nakanishi Kimiko

Published Titles / Culture


Published by JPIC | ISBN 978-4-86658-068-5 (Hardcover) | 304 pages | 210mm (h) x 148mm (w) | August 2019

About the Book

Languages change over time. No matter how hard we try to control and regulate them, they exist in a state of endless metamorphosis. This does not mean, though, that we should simply stand by and watch as language devolves into nonsense.

What should we do, then? Recognizing the inevitability of change is a given, of course. But we must also navigate the delicate line between the pull of popular trends and the urge to cling blindly to the ways of the past. The ideal balance, Professor Nakanishi argues in this book, lies in being “one step behind the times,” which is the best approach for wielding all the charms of a language.

Beautiful words have an ageless quality, regardless of when they first appeared in a language. The Japanese language testifies to that truth. This book introduces a balanced mix of new and old words that reflect the singular beauty of the Japanese language.

The beautiful words of the Japanese language are not—as some people say—simply old, antiquated terms. Discerning beauty in a language requires more than having an antiquarian’s ear; it requires certain sensibilities and sensitivities. Only by submerging ourselves in a language can we perceive its splendid subtleties, and appreciate its true beauty.

This book offers readers an opportunity to delve into to those nuances of Japanese, explore the language’s history, and savor its unique beauty.

About the Author


Dr. Nakanishi Susumu (b. 1929, Tokyo) is a leading scholar of classical Japanese literature. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo. His previous academic positions include Associate Professor at the University of Tsukuba and the International Research Center for Japanese Studies (Nichibunken), Visiting Professor at Princeton University, President of Osaka Women’s University, and President of Kyoto City University of Arts. He currently serves as Director of the Koshinokuni Museum of Literature (Toyama Prefecture) and President of the Japan Scholarship Foundation. He has served as an affiliate member of the Science Council of Japan (SCJ), President of the Japan Comparative Literature Association (JCLA), and President of the East Asian Comparative Culture International Congress. He is the recipient of the Japan Academy Prize, the Yomiuri Prize for Literature, the Osaragi Jirō Prize, the Watsuji Tetsurō Culture Prize, and the Kikuchi Kan Prize. In 2013, he was awarded Order of Culture, Japan’s top prize for cultural contribution.


"In The Japanese Linguistic Landscape, Nakanishi Susumu delicately splits open quintessential Japanese words and reveals exquisite secrets that have palpitated for centuries within each lexeme’s gossamer cocoon. How lucky we are to have this book that gathers and gifts us these fluttering, glowing cores."

Hannah Huff, October 15, 2019

Notes of Oak





中西 進


日本最古の歌集『万葉集』のアジア的視点による研究で注目され、64年読売文学賞、70年日本学士院賞、91年和辻哲郎文化賞を受賞。また『源氏物語』を同様の方法論により解明、読者に価値観の転換をせまった。これにより98年大佛次郎賞を受賞。「万葉みらい塾」により10年菊池寛賞を受賞。一方、併行して日本人のエトスの解明を進め、愛、死、狂、漂泊などを焦点とする著書を矢継早に出版。01年以降これらの総体を平易に語った『日本人の忘れもの 13』(ウェッジ)を刊行。以上の諸著は『万葉集』関係を『中西進万葉論集』(全八巻)その他を『中西進 日本文化をよむ』(全六巻)に収録した。

近年は日本人の心を見極める作業に従事、06年『国家を築いたしなやかな日本知』、09年「日本人 意志の力」、13年『情に生きる日本人』の三部作と総論、11年『こころの日本文化史』を刊行した。また0713年『中西進著作集』(全36巻)(四季社)を刊行して、05年までのほぼ全著書を収録した。






  • Kinokuniya
  • honto


  • amazon



  • amazon
  • iBooks
  • kobo


  • amazon
  • iBooks
  • iBooks

Original Japanese Edition / 原書情報



中西 進 著

淡交社 刊