The kanji characters were borrowed from China, so what were the written language characters called before kanji was introduced?

  • 5
    Did we have a writing system before we borrowed Chinese characters..? – Chocolate Mar 27 '17 at 12:03
  • I was able to determine that kanji are considered to be a modern writing system, leading me to believe that something was in place prior. – JACK Mar 27 '17 at 12:22
  • Can you share the source? I'm curious to read more about it. – paullb Mar 27 '17 at 14:07

The generally accepted view is that there was no pre-kanji written script in Japan.

There are occasional claims of the existance of pre-kanji scripts called [神代文字]{じんだいもじ}. As the wikipedia page mentions:

Some have claimed since the mid-Edo period that such ancient characters, for example such as Chikushi characters and Hokkaido characters, have been found in archeological remains, in Kofun and on mountains, but all jindai moji are generally considered to be forgeries.

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