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Political Thought in Japanese Historical Writing: From Kojiki (712) to Tokushi Yoron (1712) JOHN S. BROWNLEE It was only at the onset of the Tokugawa period (1603-1868) that formal political thought emerged in Japan. Prior to that time Japanese scholars had concentrated, rather, on questions of legitimacy and authority in historical writing, producing a stream of works. Brownlee's illuminating study describes twenty of these important historical works commencing with Kojiki (712) and Nihon Shoki (720) and ending with Tokushi Yoron (1712) by Arai Hakuseki. Historical writing would cease to be the sole vehicle for political discussion in Japan in the seventeenth century as Chinese Confucian thought became dominant. The author illustrates how the first works conceptualized history as imperial history and that subsequent scholars were unable to devise alternative schemes or patterns for history until Arai Hakuseki. Following the first histories, the central concern became the question of the relation of the Emperors to the new powers that arose. Brownlee examines the genre of Historical Tales and how it treated the Fujiwara Regents; the War Tales dealing with warriors at large, and specific works of historical argument depicting the Bakufu in relation to the Emperors. By interposing the works of Gukansho (1219) by Jien, Jinno Shotoki (1339) by Kitabatake Chikafusa and Tokushi Yoron by Arai Hakuseki a clear pattern, demonstrating the sequential development of complexity and sophistication in handling the question, is revealed. Japanese political thought thus developed independently towards rationalism and secularism in early modern times. John S. Brownlee is an associate professor of Japanese history at the University of Toronto. This page intentionally left blank Political Thought in Japanese Historical Writing From Kojiki (712) to Tokushi Yoron (1712) JOHN S. BROWNLEE Wilfrid Lauricr University Press Canadian Cataloguing in Publication Data Brownlee, John S. Political thought in Japanese historical writing Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-88920-997-9 1. Japan - History - To 1868 - Historiography. 2. Japan —Politics and government —To 1868 — Historiography. I. Title. DS871.5.B76 1991 952'.01'07202 C91-093963-2 Copyright 1991 WILFRID LAURIER UNIVERSITY PRESS Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3C5 Cover design by Leslie Macredie Printed in Canada All rights reserved. No part of this work covered by the copyrights hereon may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means—graphic, electronic or mechanical—without the prior writtenpermission ofthe publisher. Any request for photocopying, recording, taping or reproducing in information storage and retrieval systems of any part of this book shall be directed in writing to the Canadian Reprography Collective, 379 Adelaide Street West, Suite Ml, Toronto, Ontario M5V 1S5. Cover: Graphic adapted from flower and long-tailed bird (onaga-dori) pattern on silk fragment, mid-eighth century; Shoso-in, Nara. To Jill and Dean This page intentionally left blank ...


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