Kobun Tomodachi: Issues and Prospects 古文友達:課題と展望

Last week I released update for my app Kobun Tomodachi. You can download it from the Play Store for Android or the Microsoft Store for Windows. I made this update mainly to change the origin character of hiragana /wu/ in accordance with the new article on this blog, “Reply to The Origin of Hiragana /wu/”, but I also added some new information, changed the backend of the kyūjitai/shinjitai converter, and added HIME-sama functionality to the Origin of Kana block. Ironically, my previous update,, was also inspired by a desire to change the hiragana /wu/ origin character in accordance with the first article on this blog, “The Origin of Hiragana /wu/”. Therefore, it’s clear that my app Kobun Tomodachi, and my blog Kobun World, are in some ways closely related. However, I have always been hesitant to write about Kobun Tomodachi on this blog because of how different the audiences for which I was aiming are. Kobun Tomodachi was designed for an audience of self-studiers who were just beginning to learn Classical Japanese. It takes inspiration from websites like Tae Kim’s Blog and Imabi. In fact, Imabi is the site which inspired me to self-study Classical Japanese and the block system of Kobun Tomodachi was very closely modeled after it. Therefore, keeping in line with these websites, I very casually cited my sources, wrote in a mixture of English and Japanese, and omitted some of the more complex details. While this style works very well for an audience of people who are just starting to learn Classical Japanese, my blog is written to present my own original research and thus requires a more academic style. Therefore, on my blog, I aim to properly cite my sources, write only in English with rōmaji, and fully explain what I’m writing about. Thus, due to this incongruence in styles and audiences, I have been hesitant to write about my app on this blog.

先週、「古文友達」という、私が作ったアプリのアップデート1.7.10.22を公開した。アンドロイド版はPlayストアから、ウインドウズ版はMicrosoftストアから、ダウンロードできる。主に、このブログの新たな記事「平仮名のわ行うの字源に対する新たな発見」に従い、アップデートを作成したが、新しい情報を加えたり、旧字体・新字体の変換の手順を改めたり、「Origin of Kana」のブロックにHIME-samaの機能を加えたりした。皮肉にも以前のアップデート(も、このブログの最初の記事「平仮名のわ行うの字源」に従って、平仮名のわ行うの字源を改良するためアップデートを行った。だから私のアプリ「古文友達」と私のブログ「古文・ワールド」は密接につながっていることが分かる。しかしアプリとブログの読者対象が非常に異なるので、このブログで「古文友達」について書くのをいつもためらっていた。「古文友達」は自分で古文を勉強しはじめる人達向けのアプリだ。「古文友達」は「Tae Kim’s Blog」や「今日いまび」などウェブサイトから影響を受けている。実際、「今日」が私にとって、古文を勉強するきっかけになった。加えて「古文友達」のブロックシステムのモデル化は「今日」の影響を受けている。これらのウェブサイトを習って、参考文献を何気なく引用したり、英語と日本語の交じり文で書いたり、複雑な詳細の説明を省いたりした。このような「古文友達」での文章は、古文を勉強しはじめる読者にはふさわしい。しかし私のブログでは独自の研究を発表する為、よりアカデミックなスタイルが必要である。故にこのブログでは参考文献をきちんと引用し、英語とローマ字の交じり文で書き、詳細を詳しく説明している。だから、読解対象と文章のスタイルの差から、このブログで私のアプリについて書くのをためらっていた。

However, I think it is time to stop ignoring my app and write at least something about it on this blog. After I initially released the app in 2018, I posted an article about it on one of my friend’s blogs (where I had previously written an analysis of a Classical Japanese poem in around 2016). I also did a presentation on the app and made some handouts for it in 2018. I packaged this promotional material into a zip file to let those who are interested in the origin of this app check it out. In addition, I also put in the original logo which was made by a friend and served as the basis for the current logo. I would like to note that some of this promotional material may have some mistakes in it, since I wrote it so long ago. You can download this content from here.


Going forward, I am not particularly interested in taking Kobun Tomodachi much further. I think it has about as much information and functionality as I would want it to have. However, I also think it is quite likely that I will update it again in the future to maintain support. Even now, I already have ideas on what I would want to change for next time, so I guess we will have to wait and see. But warts and all Kobun Tomodachi was my first real publication on Japanese language, and for that, it will always hold a special place in my heart.


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