Koban - 1839 and 1903

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Sat Feb 2 03:28:56 UTC 2013

1. The earliest citation I find for koban (<Japanese 小判, the coin) is 1839 (http://ow.ly/hlSKj)
The Asiatic journal and monthly register for British and foreign India, China and Australasia, Volume 29:

The peasant's hospitality is rewarded by the present of a Japanese gold coin, called a _koban_, and worth £1.6s. 6d.

This meaning is in Wiktionary (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/koban), but not the OED or AHD.

2. For kōban (< Japanese 交番, police box), Basil Hall Chamberlain and W.B. Mason mention it as a gloss for "police-station" in 1901 at http://ow.ly/hlT1b.

In 1903, the word appears italicized and glossed as "office" with reference to the police (http://ow.ly/hlT8y):

Here you always find two policemen--one on duty, walking up and down the street, the other in the _koban_ (office) resting.

This meaning is in Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C5%8Dban), but not the OED, AHD or Wiktionary.

Benjamin Barrett
Seattle, WA
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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