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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 Way of the Warrior

The Way of the Warrior

Chapter:
(p.106) 7 The Way of the Warrior
Source:
In Search of the Way
Author(s):

Richard Bowring

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198795230.003.0007

This chapter discusses the very different role of the Confucian scholar in China, Korea, and Japan. At its core is the work of Yamaga Sokō and his invention of the Way of the Warrior (shidō) as part of the process by which the fighting man was tamed and given a role as leader in a time of peace. Military values were transformed into examples of upright behaviour expected of a ruling class. Although much of this was expressed in Confucian terms, Sokō took issue with the more egalitarian aspects of Song Confucianism (in particular the work of the Cheng brothers and Zhu Xi) and argued for a much more authoritarian approach. This was just one of the many ways in which the Japanese were forced to adapt a foreign ideology to their own ends.

Keywords:   Yamaga Sokō, meaning of the term ‘samurai’, role of Confucian scholars, bureaucratization, Akō domain, military values, rejecting Zhu Xi

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