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HIST 3760A Modern Japan- Western Learning and Nativism in the Tokugawa Period

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York University
HIST 3760
Joshua Fogel

1thMonday November 7 2011HIST 3760AWESTERN LEARNING AND NATIVISM IN THE TOKUGAWA PERIODNativism is also called national learningSummarythIn 19 century Japanese were the only nonwestern people that would be able to transform their government and their society into a westernstyled stateOnly one to become an imperialist stateHad inanimate sources of power coal electricityChinese culture has been able to enjoy prestige in the Tokugawa periodBut Chinese culture became relativizedChinese civilizationin the eyes of the Chinesewas the only civilization and Japan bought into thisThroughout history Japan was more susceptible to outside influences than ChinaRicci found that several nations that were much bigger than ChinaoChina is not the central kingdom in the world not necessarily true but that is how his map made it seemoThe word for China in Chinese means central stateOver time Chinas knowledge of world geography actually declined but this did not trouble them they were convinced in their beliefsThe Chinese created their own world and civilizationoThey were unsurpassed in art architecture literature and up until a certain point even in technologyIn the eyes of the Chinese the more foreigners adopted the views of Confucianism the more they were seen highly by the ChineseJapanese had a long tradition of borrowing from the mainland AsiaoAccepted China as their cultural mentor but not as a political hegemony China was not ruling JapanoThis helps explain why Japan was more open to western knowledgeChinese were more inclined to reject western notions of knowledge for example Riccis finding that China was not the biggest or at the center of the worldJesuits were advanced troops of westernized civilization they were given the very best that they could offer to the ChineseJesuits have translated texts to the Chinese languageChinese was not interested in learning Latin or Portuguese they figured that if it was important enough it would be translated into ChineseIn the early Tokugawa period in Japan they started to import these books including some of the Jesuit writings in ChineseIn 1720 Yoshimune was particularly interested in gaining intellectual knowledge
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