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ARAKAWA, Shintaro

Professor, Dr.

Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa,
Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
3-11-1 Asahi-cho, Fuchu-shi,
Tokyo, 183-8534, Japan

Email: arakawa[at]

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Research interests: Tangut language, Tangut philology

My specialty is the Tangut language and its script used in the Xixia dynasty (11–13c.).

Nobody uses Tangut (Xixia) language and script now. The script, however, fascinates us because of its unique construction and formation. The language is critical to revealing the historical development of Tibeto-Burman language groups.

The documents written in the Tangut scripts are kept in China, Russia, Japan, and so on. Through the investigation of the documents at museums in these countries, I have analyzed the language and script linguistically.

I “met” Tangut script for the first time in a textbook on world history when I was a high school student. And I can remember the visualized scripts in the movie Dun-huang, which was set in the Xixia era. In all modesty, I have learnt to write Tangut script well after 20 years!

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