Doeff-Halma Dictionary (a Dutch-Japanese dictionary compiled in the late Edo period) (ドゥーフ・ハルマ)

Doeff-Halma Dictionary (also referred as Zufu Halma or Dufu Halma) was a Dutch-Japanese dictionary that was compiled in late Edo period. Its common name was "Nagasaki Halma." It was sometimes called "Dofu Halma" as well. The dictionary was completed in 1833. It was compiled on the basis of "A Dictionary of the Dutch and French Languages" by Francois HALMA as well as "Halma Wage" (also known as Edo Halma; the first Dutch-Japanese dictionary published in Japan), and it contained about 50,000 words. Complete in 58 volumes.

"Doeff-Halma" was believed to be written by Hendrik DOEFF, the curator of Dutch trading house whose stay in Dejima of Nagasaki was prolonged because his native country was under the rule of France, so that he could not go home. At first he compiled it privately; however, in response to the request from the bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) aimed at improving language ability of translators, Doeff started the full-scale compilation from 1816 in cooperation with 11 Dutch interpreters in Nagasaki including Sakusaburo Nakayama, Gonnosuke YOSHIO, Juro YAMAJI (or possibly Juro NISHIGI), Sukejuro ISHIBASHI and others. When Doeff went home in the following year, the compilation was completed for vocabulary entries from the alphabet A to T. Subsequently the Dutch interpreters took over the duties of compilation, and the dictionary was accomplished in 1833.

The method for compiling a dictionary, as in "Halma Wage," included ignoring French parts in "A Dictionary of the Dutch and French Languages" (second edition, published in 1729), and placing a Japanese translation word by word with the original Dutch word arranged alphabetically to effectively create a form of dictionary. "Doeff Halma" placed more importance on spoken language than on literary language, and recorded a wide range of model sentences.

Because reproducing "Doeff Halma" was based only on the manuscript, not on the printing technique, the number of copies was small as nearly 33, and it contained more than 3,000 pages in total, so the dictionary was very valuable. Additionally because the large hoshogami (thick Japanese paper of the best quality) that was presented by Shigehide SHIMAZU was used in making a clean copy, the manuscript was expected to be very expensive.

"Doeff Halma" was presented to the Edo bakufu through Nagasaki bugyo (magistrate), and it was also accommodated to several domains. However, the Edo bakufu that disliked information on the West being circulated was reluctant to give approval to the publication of it for ordinary people. Hoshu KATSURAGAWA (the seventh, Kunioki), a shogun's physician and Dutch scholar, and others appealed strongly to the Edo bakufu arguing that the publication of "Doeff Halma" was essential to the introduction of western technology, and prompted by the shock of the arrival of Matthew PERRY in 1853 the publication was finally approved in 1854. Moreover, "Doeff Halma" was revised and reinforced in comparison with "Nedreduitsch Taalkundig Woordenboek 1799-1811" (written by P Weiland) and other dictionaries, and "Oranda Jii" (Dutch Dictionary) that collected about 50,000 words was published with revisions in 1855.

In 1849 Shozan SAKUMA, a feudal retainer of the Matsushiro clan and Dutch scholar, planned to publish "Doeff Halma" at the expense of the clan or from his own expense for which he would give up his karoku (hereditary stipend) under certain circumstances; he presented the lord of the clan with the report regarding strategy for expulsion of foreigners addressed to the lord of the clan, and emphasized the importance of disseminating the learning of language and technology for the purpose of opposing foreign countries. On this occasion Shozan contributed "Revised and Enlarged Dutch Dictionary," a prototype dictionary that contained new words in the 19th century in the index A of "Doeff Halma." However, the opinion of Shozan could not be understood, and the publication was not realized.

Kaishu KATSU at the age of 25, who aimed at ascetic practices of Western studies, rented "Doeff Halma" at the cost of 10 ryo (a currency unit) a year (equivalent of about 1.2 to 1.3 million yen) from a doctor of Dutch medical science, Genii AKAGI, despite his poverty, and he devoted one year to producing two copies of its manuscript while making the ink that did not blot, or the pen by shaving the feathers of birds. Katsu sold off one copy to allot the money for rental fee and living costs, and he possessed another copy. There was a theory that his teacher Seigai NAGAI bought this manuscript, and the cost was said to be 30 ryo or 60 ryo.

There was only one copy of the precious "Doeff Halma" even in Tekijuku (the school of the Western studies) led by Koan OGATA, which had a reputation as the best Institute for Dutch Studies in those days, and the dictionary was especially kept in a separate room of about three mats called 'Doeff room.'
Yukichi FUKUZAWA remembered the way in which private-school students tried to get ahead of other students in using the dictionary. The requests for transcription from the outside also became a good income source for the private-school students.

Nobumichi TSUBOI, who learned under Bosai UTAGAWA, was said to transcribe "Doeff Halma."

It was said that Tsunetami SANO carried away "Doeff Halma" complete in 21 volumes in 'Shosendo,' the Institute for Western Studies led by Genboku ITO, and pawned it for 30 ryo. However, Katsuhiko TAKAHASHI posed a question over this rumor in his own book "Kajo" (PHP Institute Office; ISBN 4-041704-103).

In 1862 Japan's first English-Japanese and Japanese-English dictionary "A Pocket Dictionary of the English and Japanese Language" was compiled based on Dutch-Japanese dictionaries such as "Doeff Halma" and "Halma Wage," and "A New Pocket Dictionary of the English-Dutch and Dutch-English Languages" (written by H. Picard; 1857 edition).