The Korean alphabet is now called“Han-gul”which means in Korean“the great writing”. But this appellation is of recent origin. Formerly it was commonly named“On-mun”(the vernacular writing) . The real name of the writing at the outset was“Hunmin-chong'um”which means“the correct sounds with which the people should be instructed”.
Sankara who is often said to be the greatest philosopher of ancient India was not known to the Japanese at all before Japan opened the gate to the West, for his name was not mentioned in Chinese versions of Buddhist scriptures. Even after the Meiji Innovation in 1868 A.D. he has been little known to the Japanese and his influence on Japanese thought has been almost negligible. However, indirect influence of Sankara's philosophy on Japanese thought through the West can be noticed in two ways. First, Japanese intellectuals came to read the works of Western thinkers, such as Arthur Schopenhauer, Ralph Waldo Emerson and others, who read Western translations of the Upanisads. These translations, beginning with Anquetil-Duperron's Oupnek'hat, were greatly influenced and modified by Sankara's Advaitic philosophy. It is quite natural that Japanese intellectuals who read these works were placed under the indirect spell of Sankara's Advaitic thought. By the way it may be interesting for foreigners to know that all the 108 Upanisads were entirely translated into Japanese under the directorship of the late Dr. Junjiro Takakusu. Second, there were some influences by Western scholars who read and studied the original texts of Sankara. Among them the influence by Paul Deussen (1845-1919) was remarkable. Among Japanese philosophers we find two whole-hearted admirers of Deussen, i.e. Enryo Inouye (1858-1919) and Tei Iwamoto (1869-1941). Their philosophical basis was the thought of P. Deussen who devoted his entire life to the study of Sankara. Each of the two translated Deussen's Elemente der Metaphysik into Japanese independently and separately. Masaharu Anesaki (1873-1949), a pioneer in the study of history of religions, and Taiken Kimura (1881-1930), a pioneer in the study of Indian philosophy, were also influenced by Deussen greatly, but not necessarily by Sankara.