As a university student, Chen studied history at Keio University under a professor, Matsumoto Nabuhiro, who had obtained his PhD in Paris. Through Professor Matsumoto’s connections, the young Chen went to Hanoi around 1943 and spent the next 2-3 years as an intern at the École française d’Extrême-Orient.
This was the beginning of a long and productive academic career for Chen. He produced a large body of scholarship on Vietnam and the Chinese in Vietnam, and he also published critical editions of important historical texts, like the Đại Việt sử ký toàn thư and the An Nam chí lược.
One of Chen’s early writings was called “An Examination of the Name Giao Chỉ/Jiaozhi” (交趾名稱考). It was published in 1952 in Taiwan.
In this long and dense article, Chen examines all of the explanations for the meaning of this ancient name for the area of the Red River Delta that he could find. In the process he deals with historical texts as well as linguistic and anthropological information.
I read this article many years ago and liked it. The other day I came across a Vietnamese language translation of the article that was published in the South Vietnamese journal Đại học in 1960.
Neither the Chinese language original nor the Vietnamese language translation are easily available, so I have decided to place them both here for anyone interested in trying to figure out where the name “Giao Chỉ/Jiaozhi” came from and what it means. Enjoy!!