Janpanese Literature

Topics: Empire of Japan, Meiji Restoration, Japan Pages: 12 (1968 words) Published: April 14, 2013
The study of Japanese literature is usually divided into classical Japanese literature and modern Japanese literature. Line of demarcation is 1868, the date of the Meiji Restoration.

Pre-Meiji Japan
Tokugawa Period (1600-1868) = Period of Great Peace = Maintenance of the status quo = Domains and Daimyō frozen in status

1. Official ideology -- Neo-Confucianism
Before Tokugawa period, Confucianism played
subordinate role in Japanese thought.
Confucianism remained a secular moral and
political philosophy.
Leaders of the Tokugawa Shōgunate
established Neo-Confucianism, based on the
teachings of Chu Hsi (1130-1200), as its
official political ideology and established
colleges based on it.

Neo-Confucianism as a natural philosophy.
a) human nature is basically good
b) the structure of the physical universe
is rational and so are human beings
c) government is organic with the natural
principles of nature and human nature and
involves reciprocal relationships of
justice from the superior and obedience
from the subordinate.

i ruler and subject
ii parents and children
iii husband and wife
iv elder and younger
v friend and friend

d) A class order maintaining these human
relationships grows naturally out of
natural modes of production.

i warrior (bushi, bunbu)
ii peasant/farmer
iii artisan
iv merchant

e) Protection of the environment

2. No matter what the ideology, the
Tokugawa held on to power by military and
political force and political manipulation.

a) sankin kōtai = regular attendance by
Daimyō in Edo
b) fudai tozama system
c) seclusion policy
d) expropriation of domains (rōnin)

3. Threats to Tokugawa hegemony
i needs creating needs
ii growth of merchant classes
iii bushi indebtedness
d) Solutions
i sumptuary laws
ii currency manipulation
iii increased taxation


Causes of the Meiji Restoration (1868) and the end of the Tokugawa Shōgunate:

1) Foreign Pressure in the Age of Western Imperialism
a) Repulsion of Russian initiatives in 1792 and 1804 (Napolean's invasion of Russia, 1812) b) British Imperialism in East Asia
(Opium War, 1839-42)
c) U.S. Manifest Destiny
(Acquisition of California, 1848, Civil War, 1861-65)
d) Expedition sent by Pres. Fillmore in 1852. Commodore Matthew Perry leads squadron of 4 Black ships into Uraga Bay in July of 1853 with U.S. demands for a number of open ports. Returns in Feb. 1854 at the head of squadron of 8 ships. Shōgun agrees to Perry's demands. Townsend Harris negotiates treaty of commerce, Britain and Russia follow with most favored status treaties and by 1859, Japan is subordinated to Free Trade Imperialism.

2) Domestic Pressure for Change
a) Overwhelming unpopularity of surrender to foreign demands. b) Ideological call for return to direct Imperial rule. (Yoshida Shōin, 1830-59, and kokugakusha) c) Rangakusha (Dutch Learning), calls for importation of foreign technology, preservation of Eastern morality. (Shōin's teacher Sakuma Shōzan, 1811-64) d) Impoverishment of Daimyo and bushi class. Calls for the revival of bushi authority. (Saigō Takamori) e) Continued animosity of domains who were the traditional enemies of Tokugawa. (Satsuma, Chōshū, Tosa, Hizen)

Armed action against foreign presence that turns into anti-Shogunate agitation a) Assassinations of Ii Naosuke, Heusken, 1861, Richardson, 1862, and foreigners in Yokohama. 1863 Chōshū burned British legation. Chōshū bombards American, French, and Dutch ships at Shimonoseki. British bombard Kagoshima and destroy Chōshū gun batteries. b) Chōshū and Satsuma are hotbeds of sonnō jōi movement (Revere the Emperor and Expel the Barbarian). Tokugawa's second expedition against Chōshū is defeated. Combined armies of Chōshū and Satsuma, organized along Western lines, march on Kyoto and are...
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