Haruhiko Kindaichi

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Haruhiko Kindaichi (金田一 春彦, Kindaichi Haruhiko; April 3, 1913 – May 19, 2004) was a Japanese linguist and a scholar of Japanese linguistics (known as kokugogaku). He was well known as an editor of Japanese dictionaries and his research in Japanese dialects. He was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun for his efforts. He was awarded a Doctor of Literature degree at Tokyo University in 1962. He was given official commendation as someone who has performed special service in the field of culture and an honorary citizen of the Tokyo Metropolitan District.

Early life[edit]

He was born on April 3, 1913, at his mother's home in Morikawa-cho, Hongo-ward, Tokyo City (now Hongo 6-chome, Bunkyo-ward, Tokyo Metropolitan District), as the eldest and only son of Shizue (née Hayashi) and noted linguist and expert on the Ainu language Kyōsuke Kindaichi. The son resembled the father in his enthusiasm for learning and his mother in her secularism. When their son was born, his father had lost his job as a proofreader of the Sanseido Encyclopaedia, so his family was in dire economic straits. His father eventually worked as a professor at Tokyo Imperial University.


Haruhiko eventually married and had two sons: Masumi Kindaichi, a scholar of Russian and a professor at Keio University, and Hideho Kindaichi, a linguist and a professor at Kyorin University.


Haruhiko became known to the broader public with the publication of his book Nihongo (The Japanese Language) in 1957, which became a bestseller for its anecdotal approach to the nature of the language. He went on, with Susumu Ōno, to become a familiar and honoured public intellectual, who could always be called on to help in discussions on radio and television concerning language.