Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tolkien in Kanji

So, here's a fun little factoid (or possibly faux-fact).

Douglas Kane recently pointed out on the MythSoc list (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mythsoc/message/20267)
that Tolkien's distinctive monogram -- which has now been trademarked by the Tolkien Estate -- bears a strong resemblance to a Chinese/Japanese character. It seems unlikely that Tolkien was aware of this,* and highly unlikely that he modeled his mark upon the oriental model, and as such offers a good example of the perils of using similarity as a basis for source-studies. But nonetheless the similarity is real, and striking.

Here's the link D.Kane provided: http://www.mahou.org/Kanji/422B/

--John R.

*although he may have become so long after the fact -- Oxford attracted a lot of foreign students, and he is known to have given away the original of one of his pieces of art for THE HOBBIT to a Chinese student.

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