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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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Two individualists

Two individualists

Chapter:
(p.69) 5 Two individualists
Source:
In Search of the Way
Author(s):

Richard Bowring

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198795230.003.0005

This chapter discusses the life and work of two scholars, Nakae Tōju and Kumazawa Banzan, both of whom were mavericks in their own way. Tōju was unhappy with Zhu Xi’s Neo-Confucianism and preferred the more intuitive approach of Ming scholars such as Wang Yangming and Wang Ji. His response was to opt out of the system and become an independent scholar and teacher, not answerable to any daimyō. He was known as a tough but fair teacher, and was a strong advocate of the need to adapt Chinese ideals to Japanese realities. Banzan, on the other hand, although equally as disillusioned with how power was being practised, fully engaged with domain authorities and as a result constantly clashed with his masters. Tōju became seen as a ‘sage’ who had retired from the world; Banzan, on the other hand, was to die under house arrest.

Keywords:   Nakae Tōju, Kumazawa Banzan, resistance, idealism, disillusionment, protest, weighing in the balance

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