FLORENZ, Karl Adolf. Erfurt 10.1.1865 — Hamburg 9.2.1939 (or 1.4.?). German Indologist and Japanologist. Professor in Tokyo and Hamburg. Ph.D. 1888 Leipzig. Son of Eduard Fl., a teacher, and Susanne Walther. Catholic, educated at Erfurt Gymnasium. From 1883 studies of modern and Oriental languages at Leipzig, where G. v. d. Gabelentz prompted him to concentrate on the latter. Learnt Sanskrit under Windisch and Lindner, East Asian languages under v. d. Gabelentz, Akkadian and Persian under Delitzsch, and Old Egyptian under Ebers. In 1885 he wrote an academic prize essay, which was accepted as his dissertation for Ph.D. in 1887 (under Windisch). In 1887-88 learnt Japanese in Berlin under Inoue Tetsujirô. In 1888 to Japan, where he became in 1889 Lecturer in German at Imperial University in Tokyo. In 1891-1914 he was ord. Professor of German philology there (and then succeeded by his student S. Ueda). In 1914 returned to Germany, where he was in 1914-35 Professor of Japanology at Colonial Institute (then University) of Hamburg. In 1935 retired. Married 1903 his cousin Therese Walther, four children.
Although Florenz did his main work on Japanese – he was the founder of German Japanology – he never forgot the Sanskrit of his early days. After Nanjio had moved to Ôtani College he was in charge of the Sanskrit chair at Imperial University until the nomination of Takakusu, in 1891-97. During this period he sent his students B. Matsumoto, M. Anesaki and R. Sakaki to Europe to complete their studies.
Publications: Diss. Das sechste Buch der Atharva-saṁhitā übersetzt und erklärt. Teil 1. Hymne 1–50. 66 p. Göttingen 1888 and in BB 12, 1887, 249-314; also on the AV in BB 14, 1889, 178-180.
– Geschichte der japanischen Literatur. 1906, 2nd ed. 652 p. Lp. 1909, 3rd ed. 1912; Die Religionen der Japaner. 1. Lp. 1913 (part 2 on Buddhism by H. Haas); and many other works on Japanology, including large translations of important classics.
Sources: Lebenslauf in diss.; I. Schuster, N.D.B. 5, 1961, 254 (d. 1.4.); *Nippon 2, 1935, 16ff.; C. v. Weegmann, Monum. Nipponica 2, 1939, 349-354 (d. 9.2.); *Festgabe der Deutschen Ges. für Natur- und Völkerkunde Ostasiens zum … K. Florenz. Mitt. d. Dt. Ges… 25B. Tokyo 1935 with bibliography; German Wikipedia with photo (d. 9.2.).