Doc. PhDr. Jaromír Vochala, DSc. (1927–2020)

Jaromír Vochala, teacher of many Czech and Slovak Sinologists at the former Department of Asians and African Studies of the Faculty of Arts, Charles University, died on June 25, 2020, shortly before his 93th birthday. He studied Sinology in the 1950 at Peking University and taught Chinese Language and Writing at Charles University from 1960 till 1990, partly with his wife Žu-čen Vochalová, authoring several textbooks and the monograph Verbo-nominal Phrasemes in Modern Chinese (Praha: Karolinum, 1990). He also compiled a Czech-Chinese Dictionary (Stručný čínsko-český a česko-čínský slovník, Praha: SPN, 1997) and published a shorter study Chinese Writing System: Minimal graphic units (Praha: Univerzita Karlova, 1986).
Jaromír Vochala was also a prolific translator. His translations include Mao Dun’s novel 腐蚀 (Rozklad, Praha: Odeon, 1967), a collection of poems from the Book of Odes and of Han dynasty yuefu (Zpěvy od Žluté řeky, 1st ed. Práce 1986, 3rd ed. Vyšehrad 2014), parts of the Elegies of Chu (Z čchuských písní. Praha: BB art, 2004). His most important opus is the translation of Confucius’ Analects (Konfucius v zrcadle Sebraných výroků, Praha: Academia, 2009). He also translated Czech literature into Chinese while studying in China under his Chinese name Wu He 吴和 (拉夫腊国王; Shanghai: Shaonian ertong chubanshe, 1959).
Jaromír Vochala’s worked for the most part under very unfavourable conditions for Sinology, during the Sino-Soviet (and Czechoslovak) Split. He nevertheless devoted exemplary effort to his students and contributed to the continuity of Sinology in Prague and Bratislava. He will be deeply missed and fondly remembered.

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