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In Search of the WayThought and Religion in Early—Modern Japan, 1582-1860$
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Richard Bowring

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198795230

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198795230.001.0001

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Recasting the Chinese mould

Recasting the Chinese mould

Chapter:
(p.166) 11 Recasting the Chinese mould
Source:
In Search of the Way
Author(s):

Richard Bowring

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198795230.003.0011

The introduction of Song and Ming thought into a country with a very different culture set up serious strains as scholars attempted to naturalize Neo-Confucianism to a Japanese environment. This chapter discusses this problem from various angles. It presented difficulties for those whose job it was to compile a history of Japan using Chinese historiography as a model. It raised awkward questions of sovereignty. Since the concept of ‘family’ in Japan was entirely different from the Chinese concept, many Chinese rituals no longer made much sense. And there was a different balance between loyalty to father versus loyalty to lord, as illustrated by the arguments that ranged after the famous revenge incident of the Forty-Seven Rōnin. Some scholars such as Yamazaki Ansai were adamant that Chinese ritual was sacrosanct; others disagreed and preferred to compromise.

Keywords:   rulership, historiography, loyalty, concept of family, Yamazaki Ansai, Akō Revenge, Forty-Seven Rōnin

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