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Proliferating Talent

Proliferating Talent: Essays on Politics, Thought and Education in the Meiji Era

Motoyama Yukihiko
J. S. A. Elisonas
Richard Rubinger
Copyright Date: 1997
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  • Book Info
    Proliferating Talent
    Book Description:

    Detailed and diverse, Proliferating Talent challenges us to rethink a crucial period in Japanese history. The eight essays translated here broadly cover the eventful half century that witnessed the collapse of the Tokugawa shogunate and the rise of the modern Japanese state to the position of an international power. Edited by J.S.A. Elisonas and Richard Rubinger, professors of East Asian languages and cultures at Indiana University, Proliferating Talent is full of nuances and carefully textured readings in which local developments are carefully balanced against major national events.

    eISBN: 978-0-8248-6403-3
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-VI)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. VII-VIII)
  3. Editors’ Preface
    (pp. IX-XII)
    J.S.A.E. and R.R.
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)
    Richard Rubinger

    Japanese educational history—educational history in general, some would say—has until recently not been a very fertile field. For many years the uninspiring, narrowly professional, and in-house nature of scholarship on educational history in the United States did not present a good model to follow. Not for nothing did Bernard Bailyn assume a harsh tone in his critique of nineteenth- and twentieth-century American historians of education. The concerns of those authors had been too narrow, Bailyn argued; there were serious limitations and deficiencies in their approach. They had glorified the public schools and neglected almost everything else. As a...

  5. 1 Patterns of Thought and Action of the Common People during the Bakumatsu and Restoration Epoch
    (pp. 17-82)

    The term “common people”(shomin)will be used in this chapter in a completely conventional way, denoting those who did not have samurai status—people outside the ruling stratum of Japan’s feudal society.

    Great importance has been attributed to the role played by the common people in the Bakumatsu era and the period of the Meiji Restoration. Indeed, the study of their thought and actions is the cornerstone of an influential interpretation of this epoch. The pioneers of that interpretation, one developed from the standpoint of historical materialism, were Hani Gorō and Hattori Shisō. Hani posited the intensification of peasant...

  6. 2 The Political Background of Early Meiji Educational Policy: The Central Government
    (pp. 83-147)

    Even as the drama of the Meiji Restoration was unfolding, some of its leading figures—men such as Iwakura Tomomi, Ōkubo Toshimichi, and Kido Takayoshi—were considering what forms education ought to assume in the new Japan. These men understood that a merit-based educational system which would train capable leaders was essential for a centralized state. They recognized that public education which would cultivate the minds and enhance the economic prospects of every citizen was indispensable to building a broad base of support for the new government. They knew that a national educational policy had to be put into effect...

  7. 3 Local Politics and the Development of Secondary Education in the Early Meiji Period: The Case of Kōchi Prefecture
    (pp. 148-194)

    The most prominent characteristic of secondary education in Kōchi Prefecture during the early Meiji period was that it developed in close conjunction with prefectural politics. Kōchi was distinguished neither by economic nor by cultural conditions conducive to modern progress in education, and politics therefore became the principal factor that fostered its growth there. Indeed, it is possible, although no doubt extreme, to say that the early history of secondary education in this prefecture cannot be fully understood without taking into account the vicissitudes of a broad configuration of political forces.

    The mention of politics in Kōchi in the early Meiji...

  8. 4 The Confucian Ideal of Rule by Virtue and the Creation of National Politics: The Political Thought of Tani Tateki
    (pp. 195-237)

    The object of inquiry in this chapter is the thought and the actions of one man, Tani Tateki. The purpose of this close look at Tani is to elucidate the criticism directed at the Meiji government by adherents of conservative political thought that reflected the traditional moral vision of Confucianism. The analysis, which covers the first half of the Meiji period, also seeks to clarify the role played by that conservative political persuasion in the creation of “Meiji thought.”

    Not many people will have heard of Tani Tateki (1837–1911). Even someone who happens to know his name (which is...

  9. 5 Meirokusha Thinkers and Early Meiji Enlightenment Thought
    (pp. 238-273)

    The great social transformation that followed the Meiji Restoration of 1868 was designed to empower Japan to resist pressure from the advanced capitalist countries, adapt to that pressure, and turn it to use in getting rid of the forces of feudalism that still persisted in the country. The task required the nurturing of real independence in the eyes of the foreign powers, and that could only be done by destroying Japan’s feudal foundations and equipping the country with a modern national administration. A new kind of bureaucrat accomplished this transformation. The archetype of this new breed, Ōkuma Shigenobu (1838–1922),...

  10. 6 The Statist Movement and Its Educational Activities: The Shimeikai and the Seiseikō of Kumamoto
    (pp. 274-316)

    The Meiji state expected all Japanese schools, and public schools in particular, to instill nationalist thought in the minds of the entire populace. The cultivation of nationalist ideology was made their objective by Education Minister Mori Arinori’s school orders of 1886 and gradually became embedded in Japan’s modern educational system thereafter. Why did nationalism take root in the Japanese people’s education with such comparative ease? Educational history has so far dealt with only one side of the problem. We have been told about the penetration of the state’s political will into educational policy—undeniably a pervasive phenomenon—but why the...

  11. 7 The Spirit of Political Opposition in the Meiji Period: The Academic Style of the Tōkyō Senmon Gakkō
    (pp. 317-353)

    Political opposition in the Meiji period seems to have derived from two main intellectual sources: traditional Confucianism and English thought. The former provided a conservative foundation, on which Confucian humanism, with its stress on government by virtue, confronted bureaucratic authoritarianism and the legal system that underpinned it. The latter opposed the German statism appropriated by the Meiji bureaucracy as its model, pitting against it English individualism and liberalism. It pursued a basically individualistic concept of the modernization of state and society and sought to realize values that it identified as English in Japan.

    The spirit of opposition in the Tōkyō...

  12. 8 Thought and Education in the Late Meiji Era
    (pp. 354-398)

    Ever since Minister of Education Mori Arinori fashioned its institutional and intellectual foundations in 1886, Meiji education moved steadfastly from a nationalistic position toward twin goals—the development of national self-consciousness among the populace and the fostering of talent to serve the nation. For the rest of the Meiji era, no other educational viewpoint developed that might have presented a fundamental challenge to this orientation, and no political or social forces arose that might have supported such a challenge. The uncontested dominance of this nationalistic perspective owed little to the Imperial Rescript on Education. Rather, it rested on the widely...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 399-438)
    (pp. 439-456)
  15. Index
    (pp. 457-475)