Date of Award

Spring 2020

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


LACS: Japanese and Chinese

First Advisor

Katsuya Izumi

Second Advisor

Yipeng Shen


Due to the pictographic nature of Chinese characters in Japan (Kanji) and China (Hanzi), throughout history the use of these characters has been inconsistent. In the mid-1900s the governments of both countries decided to regulate their use in order to make reading and writing both easier and more consistent. Both of the governments have officially done this multiple times through a process of both simplification and standardization. Simplification is to reduce the complexity of the characters, and standardization is to produce a set list of characters that can be used by the government and education system. The most recent updates to these lists in both countries are the List of Chinese Characters for General Use in Japan (2010) and the General Purpose Normalized Chinese Character List in China (2013). Using these two lists as evidence, I will show how Japan has been influencing Chinese language policies in the standardization of characters through technology, tourism, and food culture. I also introduce the history of Chinese characters in Japan and China’s influence on Japan throughout the centuries to clarify the importance and the originality of my argument. Furthermore, I detail the process of simplification and standardization through the history of character lists in both countries.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College, Hartford CT for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Language and Culture Studies: Japanese and Chinese.