Vietnam Academy Of Social Sciences
Name: Institute of Han-Nom Studies
Phone: 84-04- 38573194; 84-04 - 35375788
Fax: 84-04-8570940
Address: No.183 Dang Tien Dong Street, Dong Da Dist., Hanoi

Giới thiệu Viện NC Hán - Nôm

Institute of Han Nom Studies is a scientific research organization within Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences. The Institute was founded in pursuant to Decision No. 326/CP on 13th September 1979, issued by the Government Council. The Institute is established on the grounds of Han Nom Division. This is the only agency in Vietnam functions as a preservation center of original Han and Nom literature and utilizing Hanand Nom documents.   

The Institute of Han Nom Studies is responsible for researching, utilizing, editing, and publishing Han Nom heritage, training Han Nom researchers, collecting, preserving, and restoring reproductions, contributing to cultural development as a mental platform of Vietnam society, motivating to develop a socialism-oriented country.


1. Research, edit, compile, and publish valuable Han Nom authors and works

Be aware of the great value of Han Nom heritage, which is a body of Vietnam culture and the role of Hàn Nom studies, researchers of the Institute have focused on following issues:

 1. The Institute has concentrated on compiling projects involving theoretical issues and summarizing general achievements of Vietnam’s Han Nom studies in order to construct a methodological system for Vietnam Han Nom studies, such as: Bibliography and new missions (collective work), Translation from Han into Vietnamese: Art and Science (collective work), Selected issues of Han Nom  (collective work), Ca Tru (‘song with clappers’) and Thang Long - Hanoi Culture (Nguyen Xuan Dien), Research on Han art in Vietnam’s medieval age (Pham Van Tham), Research on literature and poetry of Ho Xuan Huong (Dao Thai Ton), Studying Han Nom in school (Trinh Khac Manh, chief editor)…

2. The Institute has also implemented research on documents, especially in Nom letters – a form of language designed by our ancestors, contributing to literature on history of writing and Vietnamese. Specifically, the Institute has focused its researching on letters, syllables, and language forms, surveying formation and development of Nom characters, internal structure of Nom characters, relationship between Nom and Vietnamese, transcribing texts in Nom. Some outstanding projects may be named: Syllables and language forms (Nguyen Quang Hong), Studies on Nom Tay letters (Cung Van Luoc), Methods of sound expression in the structure of Nom – Viet letters (Nguyen Ta Nhi), Research on Nom literature (Nguyen Thi Lam), Research on Nom and Vietnamese over Khóa hư lục translation (Tran Trong Duong)…

3. The Institute has also edited a number of book packages in order to create searchable items for social science and humanities researchers in general and Han Nom researchers in particular to approach Han Nom documents, for example: Nom dictionary (edited by Nguyen Quang Hong), Thang Long – Hanoi Han Nom authors (edited by Pham Van Tham), Directory of Vietnam’s traditional medicine and pharmacy (edited by Nguyen Van Ben), Directory of books in Han Nom about Vietnam ethnic minorities (edited by Trinh Khac Manh), Historical reference in Nom literature (La Minh Hang),…

4. The Institute has continued to research, exploit, and compile by subject, in order to publicize more and more Han Nom documents. Some series that Institute has carried out these years, can be named for instance: Collection of Vietnam novels in Han (edited by Tran Nghia), Han Nom bibliography of traditional farming (collective), Collection of Nom poetry on Vietnam ethnic minorities (collective), Collection of Thai literatures (collective), Han Nom directory of Vietnam sea and island in (edited by Trinh Khac Manh), Han Nom heritage in pre-Lê dynasty (edited by Dinh Khac Thuan)…

5. In order to edit and introduce excellent Han Nom authors and valuable Han Nom works of Vietnam culture, the Institute has operated research projects introducing Han Nom authors, works that partly satisfied demands of publicize Han Nom heritage. Some of them are: “Trúc Lâm tông chỉ nguyên thanh” of Ngo Thi Nham (Ha Thuc Minh), Literature and ooetry of Phan Huy Ich (introduced by Nguyen Ngoc Nhuan), Literature and poetry of Nguyen Trai (edited by Nguyen Dong Chi), Traditional custom of the northern plains (edited by Dinh Khac Thuan), ect.

Besides publishing valuable researches, the Institute organized scientific conferences in order to attract domestic and foreign Han Nom specialists to participate in strategy development planning of the Institute in particular and of Vietnam’s Han Nom studies in general. Some conferences are considered important milestones in the development of scientific research of the Institute of Religious Studies, for instance: Conference on Bibliography and new missions (1979); conference on Translation (1981); conference on Han Nom literature studies (1982); conference on Collecting and preserving Han Nom Bibliography and documents (1983); conference on Nom characters (1985); conference on Han Nom in Renovation period (1991); Announcement on Han Nom studies organized annually since 1996; international conference on Researching Nom characters (2004); international conference on Confucianism research in Vietnam (2004); international conference on Researching Vietnam’s Confucianist ideology from interdisciplinary approach (2006).

2. Surveying, collecting, and preserving Han Nom documents 

Han Nom heritage existing nowadays is not as intact as it was in the past. Over time, it has been damaged by a number of reasons. Therefore, collecting Han Nom documents has always been a concern of not only Han Nom studies but also the whole society. Being deeply aware of its responsibility, in recent years, the Institute has carried out surveys and collected Han Nom documents spreading all over the country. Till 2012, the Institute has basically completed collecting Han Nom documents in about 2.500 communes located all over the country. The results of collecting Han Nom documents consists of: buying and photocopying Han Nom books combined with Han Nom books for ethnic minorities mounts to about 10.000 books; printed and carved Han Nom (on stone, bells, musical stones,…) accounts for about 15.000 units with 40.000 copies; copying over 50.000 couples of parallel sentences; copying about 30.000 lacquered boards; surveying Han Nom documents in 2.500 communes.

A significant part of new documents have been added to the Han Nom bookstore of the Institute of Religious Studies, such as: valuable Han Nom documents that have not been collected by Ecole française d'Extrême-Orient, especially steles from Ly-Tran dynasty (20 units); 1578-year-old woodblocks at Van Duc Pagoda, Hoi An city, Quảng Nam province (about 100 molds of books); text discovered in communal house at My Loi village, Phu Loc district, Thua Thien – Hue province, which states Vietnam sovereignty for Hoang Sa (the Paracel Islands) and Truong Sa (Spratly Islands). In the aspect of cultural space, there are over 80 engraved literatures in Hien Street along with many steles in the Northern, Red River delta, and Middle regions.

Regarding the preservation of Han Nom documents, during these years, the Institute of Religious Studies has carried out the following tasks: create preservation boxes for Han Nom books: each of which (or series) is put into a single preservation box; photocopying, replicating Han Nom bookstore: each one is replicated into three copies and kept in different storages and accessible to readers, while the original ones are kept in archive for exhibition; constructing database system to manage Han Nom documents and Han Nom engraved literatures, describing characteristics of contents and forms of documents, documents’ condition and suggest solutions to protect them; submitting recommendations to research and exploit more efficiently; restoring, recovering, repairing ten thousands pages of Han Nom books that was damaged and torn out.

3. Managing library and journal

Regarding managing the library, the Institute has a large collection of books in Vietnamese, Chinese, English, French, and Russian with about over 20.000 units, nearly 800 maps and thousands journals of all types. The library has been counting, classifying, and managing to exploit documents effectively.

Regarding information and computer applications, the Institute has constructed internal network system to support automatic file searching by readers’ requests and meet their demand in utilizing documents; constructed plan of storing and saving Han Nom documents in various means of modern media (CD, DVD,…), ensuring the superiority in safety, efficiency, productivity, accuracy, easy to preserve and access; designed and constructed database of Han Nom and Vietnamese system that includes information on documents, map, image… based on modern technology; constructed the Institute’s website to provide information on the Institute, of Han Nom studies and database about Han Nom journal, Han Nom directory, Han Nom announcement and Han Nom literature; contributed to build Nom character encoding and bring Nom characters into international standard code IRG/ISO, total Nom words that has been put into international character storage are 9,299, in which the number of Nom letters that differs from those of other countries in the region are about 4,200.

The Han Nom journal is an international scientific journal of social sciences and humanity. It is the forum of Vietnamese and international Han Nom studies, a place to upload research results of the Institute of Han Nom Studies and Han Nom specialists regarding collecting, studying, utilizing Han Nom literatures and documents. From 2002 until now, the journal has changed to bimonthly.

4. Staff training

Soon after establishment, the Institute of Han Nom Studies has concentrated on training and educating officials; learning courses have been provided: Chinese ideology history, Vietnam’s Confucianism, Vietnam’s Buddhist, Literatures, and other courses training on Sinology, Vietnam’s Han Nom, etc.

After the Institute was accredited as a graduate training center (1994), there are many postgraduate students, graduate students defended successfully their PhD thesis and their master dissertations specialized on Han Nom at the Institute. In recent years, the Institute of Han Nom Studies has organized basic and advance classes of Han Nom, Nom characters… A lot of officers enrolled in these classes have improved academic knowledge and few of them have their works published.  

The Institute has cooperated with universities overseas for advanced and graduate training, such as: Harvard-Yenching Institute (United States); the University of Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka (Japan); Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales (INALCO) and Paris Sept School (Frace); National Chung Cheng University and National Cheng Kung University (Taiwan); Sunnkyunkwan University and Inha University (Korea),…

5. Expanding international cooperation

During these years, Institute has cooperated with many universities in China to research, edit, correct, and publish many valuable researches such as, The total collection of Vietnam Han literature novels.

A number of topics and projects have been received grant from international scientific organizations such as Ecole française d'Extrême-Orient – EFEO (France), National Chung Cheng University (Taiwan), the Agence universitaire de la Francophonie, Asia Research Center’s Fund, Inha University, Korea)…

Financed by Harvard-Yenching Institute (United States), the Institute of Han Nom Studies has built Han Nom – Harvard Yenching scholarship in order to provide opportunities for domestic Han Nom researchers to study and utilize Han Nom documents serving scientific research at the Institute of Han Nom Studies.

With achievements acquired, the Institute of Han Nom Studies has been rewarded many noble medals by the Party and State, such as: First, Second, and Third Class Labor Medal awarded by the Government; Government’s Certificate; Excellent Flag by Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences among many others.