Abstract

This article examines the causes and effects of the shogunate’s establishment of a state academy and examination system from 1788 onward. It concentrates on the role of state academicians in reforming Tokugawa processes of governance, suggesting that they effected the creation of a new structural engagement between knowledge and power which had surprisingly “modern” characteristics. Countering arguments that Neo-Confucian political thought encouraged social stasis and authoritarianism in early modern East Asia, I argue that reforms advanced by Confucians in the late Tokugawa state were usually designed to open government structures to bottom-up input in an attempt to make government more socially responsive.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1549-4721
Print ISSN
0095-6848
Pages
pp. 25-53
Launched on MUSE
2012-02-01
Open Access
No
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