Before the Nation: Kokugaku and the Imagining of Community by Susan L. Burns PDF

By Susan L. Burns

ISBN-10: 0822384906

ISBN-13: 9780822384908

Exploring the emergence and evolution of theories of nationhood that remain evoked in present-day Japan, Susan L. Burns offers an in depth exam ofthe late-eighteenth-century highbrow circulate kokugaku, this means that "the examine of our country.”

Departing from prior reviews of kokugaku that curious about intellectuals whose paintings has been valorized via smooth students, Burns seeks to get better the a number of methods "Japan" as social and cultural id started to be imagined ahead of modernity.Central to Burns's research is Motoori Norinaga’s Kojikiden, arguably an important highbrow paintings of Japan's early sleek interval. Burns situates the Kojikiden as one in a chain of makes an attempt to investigate and interpret the mythohistories relationship from the early 8th century, the Kojiki and Nihon shoki. Norinaga observed those texts as keys to an unique, real, and idyllic Japan that existed prior to being tainted via "flawed" overseas impacts, particularly Confucianism and Buddhism.

Hailed within the 19th century because the begetter of a brand new nationwide cognizance, Norinaga's Kojikiden used to be later condemned by means of a few as a resource of Japan's twentieth-century descent into militarism, conflict, and defeat. Burns seems to be intensive at 3 kokugaku writers—Ueda Akinari, Fujitani Mitsue, and Tachibana Moribe—who contested Norinaga's interpretations and produced competing readings of the mythohistories that provided new theories of group because the foundation for jap social and cultural identification.

Though relegated to the footnotes via a later new release of students, those writers have been relatively influential of their day, and by means of recuperating their arguments, Burns finds kokugaku as a posh debate—involving background, language, and subjectivity—with repercussions extending good into the trendy period.

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Extra resources for Before the Nation: Kokugaku and the Imagining of Community in Early Modern Japan (Asia-Pacific: Culture, Politics, and Society)

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One wrote in kanbun kundoku when one engaged in discourse defined as official or public in nature, while wabun was the linguistic realm that instantiated ‘‘private’’ discourse. Gender too played a role: educated men learned to write in kanbun, educated women in wabun. This linguistic divide would eventually come under attack by the kokugaku scholars, but in fact the opposition of ‘‘Japanese writing’’ and ‘‘Chinese writing’’ was always fluid and subject to interpretation. Forexample, questions of readership could intercede.

In the discussion that follows I want to explore how Tokugawa readers approached this fragmented and multivocal narrative. My aim is twofold: first, to understand how these ancient texts were read, in terms of theories of language and textuality; second, to discover why they were read, by investigating what questions were posed to them and what meanings found within them. 40 Before the Nation textual strategies: neo-confucianism The explosion of interest in the Divine Age narrative in the early Tokugawa period was to some extent the result of new technology.

33 And the business of selling and lending books was by no means limited to the major cities. 35 However, the expansion of publishing contributed only partially to the spread of information about contemporary matters. From the late seventeenth century onward, the bakufu forbade the publication of books that contained any reference to the shogun or past shoguns, their vassals, or any matter pertaining to them without permission from the office of the magistrate. In 1722 these restrictions were expanded to include works dealing with ‘‘unorthodox matters’’ and with sexual content.

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Before the Nation: Kokugaku and the Imagining of Community in Early Modern Japan (Asia-Pacific: Culture, Politics, and Society) by Susan L. Burns


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