Bitan in China and Japan: their preservation, compilation and publication
For many years, it has been a common practice adopted by educated people among East Asian countries to communicate with those who do not speak their language by writing Chinese characters. Many of these pen conversations, or bitan in Chinese, are preserved. Some of these are later compiled and published. These written documents are invaluable first hand resources in that they are the real time records of the conversation taken place in their original form and that the sheer fact that they are preserved itself indicates that these records may help us understand the stories behind these talks. Indeed, why are these dialogue records preserved? How are they preserved? For what purpose does publishing these records serve? I wish to studies these bitan under the guidance of Professor Wang Yong so that I can answer these questions and to re-construct the frame work by which pen conversations are archived.