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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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The Confucian turn

The Confucian turn

Chapter:
(p.46) 4 The Confucian turn
Source:
In Search of the Way
Author(s):

Richard Bowring

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198795230.003.0004

This chapter discusses the introduction of Song Neo-Confucian thought into Japan, concentrating on the role played by former Buddhists such as Fujiwara Seika and Hayashi Razan. Particular attention is paid to the metaphysics and the main tenets as expounded in the Great Learning as interpreted by the Song scholar Zhu Xi. It is with Seika that we find expressed the ideal social organization of ‘samurai-scholar, farmer, artisan, merchant’ that became the prism through which many saw themselves during this period. Reality was, of course, far messier. The chapter ends with a discussion of the links between the scholarly Hayashi family and the shogunate, and the early attempts by Hayashi Razan himself to find an accommodation between Neo-Confucianism on the one hand and Shinto on the other.

Keywords:   Neo-Confucianism, Fujiwara Seika, Hayashi Razan, the Great Learning, Shinto and Confucianism, role of the Confucian scholar

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