Institute of Hán-Nôm Studies

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Institute of Hán-Nôm Studies
Viện nghiên cứu Hán Nôm
Formation1970 (foundation)
1979 (institute status)
Legal statusActive
PurposeLanguage researching
HeadquartersHanoi, Viet Nam
  • 183 Đặng Tiến Đông, Trung Liệt, Đống Đa, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Official language
Dr. Nguyễn Tuấn Cường
Formerly called
the Department of Hán and Nôm
Institute of Hán-Nôm Studies
Vietnamese name
VietnameseViện nghiên cứu Hán Nôm

The Institute of Hán-Nôm Studies (Vietnamese: Viện nghiên cứu Hán Nôm; Hán Nôm: 院研究漢喃), or Hán-Nôm Institute (Vietnamese: Viện Hán Nôm, Hán Nôm: 院漢喃) in Hanoi, Vietnam, is the main research centre, historical archival agency and reference library for the study of chữ Hán and chữ Nôm texts in Vietnam. These are texts predating the adoption of the modern Latin-based Vietnamese alphabet.[1][2]


The original nucleus of this agency was the Department of Hán and Nôm which was founded in 1970.[3] In 1979, the Vietnamese government issued the 326/CP Decree elevating the Department of Hán and Nôm to institute status and renaming it as the Institute of Hán-Nôm Studies.[4]

The ink rubbing collections which were holdings of the National Library of Vietnam were transferred to the Institute of Hán-Nôm Studies in 1984–1986.[5] On 22 May 1993, the 23/CP Decree confirmed the Institute's status as a subsidiary of the National Center for Social Sciences and Humanities of Vietnam.[4]

Hán-Nôm () is the whole corpus of premodern written materials, both in Hán (classical Chinese used in Vietnam) and Nôm (the vernacular logographic Vietnamese script).[6][7] Being a part of the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, the Institute sets out with two goals: the preservation of historical Hán and Nôm texts, and conduct systemic linguistic, literary and historical research on these holdings.[8]


The Institute's responsibilities include searching, storing, copying, translating, studying and publishing Hán-Nôm heritages and data, training Hán-Nôm researchers, sustaining Hán-Nôm-related services and enhancing cultural exchange and cooperation with foreign academic circles.[4]

Currently the Institute has 66 employees, among which there are 1 professor, 5 associate professors, 16 Doctors and 7 Masters, along with 25 researchers and service personals.[4]

Its departments are classified as following:[4]

  • 5 offices on scientific researching
    • the Office of Philology
    • the Office of Regional and Ethnic Documents
    • the Office of Colophon
    • the Office of Ancient Books
    • the Office of Study and Application of Hán-Nôm
  • 6 offices on scientific services
    • the Office of Data Preservation
    • the Office of Data Searching
    • the Office of Information Application
    • the Office of Library and Communicating Information
    • the Office of Duplication
    • the Office of Integrated Administration

In addition, the Institute publishes 4 editions of Hán-Nôm Studies magazine every year to provide scholastic trends and research findings of Hán-Nôm.

To practice studies and educational joint projects on philology, orientalism, information technology and preservation techniques, etc., it also keeps relations with many foreign scientific institutions from, for instance, the Republic of China (Taiwan), P.R.China, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, the United States, France, Russia and so on.[4]

Cultural exchanges[edit]

In 2005, a delegation led by Prof. Zhang Liwen (張立文) and Peng Yongjie (彭永捷) from the Confucius Institute of the Renmin University of China arrived at the Institute of Hán-Nôm Studies, both sides signed the Agreement on Cooperatively Compiling the Confucian Canon of Vietnam. In 2006, Doctor Phan of the Hán-Nôm Institute paid a return visit and discussed the book's compilation with the Renmin University of China. Like the Confucian Canon of Korea (韓國儒典), the Confucian Canon of Vietnam (越南儒典) is a part of the International Confucian Canon (國際儒典) – an important, East Asian Studies-oriented project of the Confucius Institute at the Renmin University of China.[9]

In 2010, three years after the joint compilation of the Hán-Nôm Institute and the Fudan University, Shanghai, the Collection of Vietnamese's Long Journey to the Yan in Classical Chinese (越南漢文燕行文獻集成, in which Yan means Yanjing, an ancient city located in modern Beijing) was published by Fudan University Press. On June 13, the two organizations held a new book launch, which was attended by Trịnh Khắc Mạnh, Ge Zhaoguang (葛兆光, the Dean of the National Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies of Fudan University), other leaders of the University and local officials.[10]

The Collection of Vietnamese's Long Journey to the Yan in Classical Chinese included the records of Vietnamese envoys' trip to China during the period of the Trần, Later Lê, Tây Sơn and Nguyễn dynasties of Vietnam. In their journeys, the envoys traveled from place to place, chanting poetry, painting pictures and even communicating with other envoys from Joseon and the Ryukyu Kingdom. These are regarded as proofs of early cultural exchanges between countries in East Asia and bases of the development of the Sinic world.[10]


The Hán-Nôm Institute stores manuscripts dating from approximately 14th century to 1945. There are 20,000 ancient books among all the collections, most of them are in Nôm script (including the Nôm of Kinh, Nùng and Yao) and traditional Chinese characters. Besides, the Institute also has 15,000 woodblocks and 40,000 rubbings from stele, bronze bells, chime stones and wooden plates, the history of which can be traced back to 10th to 20th century.[4][11]

About 50% of the Institute's collections are Vietnamese works of literature. The rest includes volumes related to geography, Buddhism and epigraphy, etc. The catalogue is available both in Chinese and French, so researchers who cannot understand Vietnamese are able to use and study the resources with no difficulty.[11]

Unfortunately, the library has only Vietnamese forms and, apart from a few senior personnel, many librarians speak neither Chinese nor English.

Before accessing the library, visitors are suggested to e-mail a senior librarian. One should submit two passport photos on arrival and pay 30,000 dong to maintain a 6-month readership. A graduate student will have to provide a letter of recommendation from one's supervisor.[11]

The opening hours of the library is 8:30 am – 11:45 am, 2:00 pm – 4:15 pm through Mondays to Thursdays and 8:30 am – 11:45 am on Fridays. The request of books has a maximum of ten per day and asking for permission is required if one wants to take away the photography of manuscripts, except those with maps which are not allowed to be photographed. Photocopying service, which also needs permission, is priced at 2000 Dong per page.[11]

Scriptures stored[edit]

In 2008, Takeuchi Fusaji (武内 房司), a Professor of Chinese History at the Department of Literature of Gakushuin University, Japan, published a research paper entitled Transmission of the Chinese Sectarian Religion and its Vietnam Adaptation: an Introduction of the Scriptures of the Institute of Han-Nom Studies of Vietnam. It introduced some ancient, Chinese religious culture-related books collected by the Hán-Nôm Institute. The paper itself was translated into Chinese by the Qing History Journal of Renmin University of China in 2010.

The books mentioned by Takeuchi's paper include:[12]

  • The Scripture of Eradicating Puzzles (破迷宗旨): resisting the lure of wealth and status, an old man called Rutong (儒童) engaged in benefactions and eventually became a nobleman in 'the Abode of Immortals' of supernatural beings.
  • The Queen Mother's Repentance of Removing Ill Fortunes and Saving the World (瑤池王母消劫救世寶懺): the record of oracles during the Gods Worshipping Ceremony at Kaihua Fu, Yunnan of China in June 1860 was made into scriptures and was collected by the famous Ngọc Sơn Temple at Hanoi. The Temple was allegedly constructed in Lê dynasty.
  • The Holy Scripture of Maitreya's Succouring the World (彌勒度世尊經) and the Narration of Maitreya's Real Scriptures (彌勒真經演音): Siddhārtha Gautama gained the chance to rule the world but caused disasters due to his incompetence, then Maitreya salvaged all living creatures. (Such stories are different from orthodox sutras)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nhung Tuyet Tran, Anthony Reid Việt Nam: Borderless Histories 2006 – Page 141 "The version of the Lê Code used in this essay can be found at the Institute of Hán-Nôm Studies."
  2. ^ Nong Van Dan, Churchill, Eden and Indo-China, 1951–1955 2011 Page xix "the Institute of Hán-Nôm Studies"
  3. ^ National Center for Social Sciences and Humanities of Vietnam (NCSSH).2000 – Page 32 "The former organization of the Institute of Han-Nom Studies was the department of Han-Nom, established in 1970. In 1979, the department became the Institute of Han-Nom Studies and this was reconfirmed on May 22, 1993."
  4. ^ a b c d e f g 漢喃研究院 [the Institute of Han-Nom Studies] (in Chinese). National Chung Cheng University, Taiwan. n.d. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  5. ^ Thư mục thác bản văn khắc Hán Nôm Việt Nam Khá̆c Mạnh Trịnh, Lan Anh Vũ, Viện nghiên cứu Hán Nôm (Vietnam) – 2007- Volume 1 – Page 28 "For this reason, in 1970–1975, the Hán-Nôm Committee, an agency of the Vietnamese Committee of Social Sciences, got down to ... After the collection was transferred from the Central Library to the Institute of Hán-Nôm Studies, in 1984–1986, this institute ... Finally, in 1988–1990, the Specialists of the Institute of Hán-Nôm Studies launched the first programme for the treatment of the rubbings, which resulted in the production of the Catalogue of Rubbings of Vietnamese Inscription (Danh mục thác"
  6. ^ Asian research trends: a humanities and social science review – No 8 to 10 – Page 140 Yunesuko Higashi Ajia Bunka Kenkyū Sentā (Tokyo, Japan) – 1998 "Most of the source materials from premodern Vietnam are written in Chinese, obviously using Chinese characters; however, a portion of the literary genre is written in Vietnamese, using chu nom. Therefore, han nom is the term designating the whole body of premodern written materials.."
  7. ^ Liam C. Kelley Beyond the bronze pillars: envoy poetry and the Sino-Vietnamese ... - 2005 Page 215 "For more on these texts, see Tran Van Giap, Tim hieu kho sack Han Norn, Tap I [Investigating the treasury of books in Han and Nom] (Hanoi: Thu vien Quoc gia, 1970), 196-198, and Tran Van Giap, Tim hieu kho sack Han Nom, Tap II, 229-230, "
  8. ^ Viet Nam social sciences Ủy ban khoa học xã hội Việt Nam – 2008 – No 1-3 – Page 2 "As you may know, the Institute of Han-Nom Studies performs multiple functions of preserving, researching and bringing into full play the values of Han-Nom heritage."
  9. ^ Zhu Lu (朱璐) (5 March 2006). 越南汉喃研究院范文深博士访问我院 [Doctor Phan from the Institute of Hán-Nôm Studies of Vietnam visited our Institute] (in Chinese). Confucius Online, the Renmin University of China. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  10. ^ a b 中越合作《越南汉文燕行文献集成》出版 [The Collection of Vietnamese's Long Journey to the Yan in Traditional Chinese Published under Sino-Vietnamese Cooperation] (in Chinese). the National Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies, Fudan University. 17 June 2010. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  11. ^ a b c d Mok Mei Feng (8 August 2008). "Researching History: Libraries in Hanoi, Vietnam". Citizen Historian. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  12. ^ Takeuchi Fusaji (武内 房司) (February 2010). 中国民众宗教的传播及其在越南的本土化——汉喃研究院所藏诸经卷简介 [Transmission of the Chinese Sectarian Religion and its Vietnam Adaptation: an Introduction of the Scriptures of the Institute of Han-Nom Studies of Vietnam] (in Chinese). the Qing History Journal, Renmin University of China. Retrieved 11 April 2014.

External links[edit]