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Unformatted text preview: nism, imported from China, endorsed this hierarchy as based on laws thought to be as immutable as the laws of nature
Much of the credit for establishing and propagating Chu Hsi NeoConfucianism has traditionally been given to Hayashi Razan (1583–
1657), a man of diverse scholarly accomplishments who served four
shoguns over a period of more than fifty years. Noted as a Confucian
theorist, historian, and spet in legal precedence, Razan has been
thought to have done more than anyone else to gain acceptance of the The Flourishing of a Bourgeois Culture 173 Chu Hsi school of Neo-Confucianism as the principal creed of the Tokugawa shogunate. Recently, however, scholars have called into question not
only Razan’s role in attracting the shogunate to Chu Hsi Neo-Confucianism, but even the dating of when that creed was accepted as the
Neo-Confucianism’s first task in the Tokugawa period had been to disengage itself from Buddhism, a task that was accomplished by Fujiwara
Seika (1561–1619) and Razan, both of whom started their careers as
Buddhist priests and only later were allowed to become independent
Confucian teachers. But apparently not until much later in the seventeenth century—long after Razan’s death—did the shogunate seriously
turn to Neo-Confucianism. In the process, the Hayashi family, in the
generations after Razan, became securely fixed as the official Confucian
advisers to the shogunate and the hereditary heads of a Confucian academy in Edo.
Although Neo-Confucianism was unquestionably a valuable ideological tool for the shogunate and a powerful stimulus to learning in the
Tokugawa period, it also exerted a certain stultifying influence on literature and the arts in general. Confucianists have always been absorbed
first and foremost with morality, and their liking for didactic literature has
often led to very dull writing. But perhaps the most telling example of
how the Confucian sense of propriety and reserve stifled artistic creativity
in the Tokugawa period can be observed in the history of the distinguished Kanò school of painters.
From the tim...
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at UBC.
- Spring '13