Confucian Learning and Literacy in Japan’s Schools of the Edo Period

Kristina HMELJAK SANGAWA

Abstract


With the political stability, economic growth and cultural revitalisation of Japan after its unification by Tokugawa Ieyasu, the educational infrastructure also grew to meet new literacy demands. Governmental schools endowed by the shogunate (Shōheikō) and by the domains (hankō), which catered to the upper military class of the samurai, focused on classical Chinese studies, particularly the Neo-Confucian canon taught in kanbun, a style of classical Chinese. Given the prestige of Neo-Confucian Chinese learning and of the kanbun writing style, these were taught also in temple schools (terakoya) and private academies (juku) that were open to the lower classes, thus contributing to the spread of this particular type of literacy. However, Chinese learning in these schools often involved memorising rather than reading, both because of educational traditions and socio-ideological factors, and also because of the sheer difficulty of reading kanbun, a de facto foreign language. The present article investigates the contrasting implications of Neo-Confucian learning and of the kanbun writing style for the development of education and literacy in Japanese society: while the prestige of Chinese learning contributed to the demand for and development of educational facilities, its complexity also acted as an obstacle to the development of widespread functional literacy.


Keywords


literacy, Confucianism, Tokugawa period, history of education in Japan

Full Text:

PDF

References


Anderson Sawada, Janine. 1993. Confucian Values and Popular Zen: Sekimon Shingaku in Eighteenth Century Japan. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.

Culiberg, Luka. 2011. “Towards a Theoretical Approach to the Understanding of Language Ideologies in Post-Meiji Japan.” Acta Linguistica Asiatica 1 (1): 23–38. http://revije.ff.uni-lj.si/ala/article/view/14.

–––. 2015. “Japonski jezik med nacijo in imperijem: Tokieda Motoki in aporija nacionalnega jezika.” Asian Studies 3 (1): 225–240. http://revije.ff.uni-lj.si/as/ article/download/3161/3355.

Denecke, Wiebke. 2014. Classical World Literatures: Sino-Japanese and Greco-Roman. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dore, Ronald P. 1965. Education in Tokugawa Japan. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Frellesvig, Bjarke. 2010. A History of the Japanese Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gottlieb, Nanette. 1995. Kanji Politics: Language Policy and Japanese Script. London and New York: Kegan Paul International.

Ichimiya, Yufuko. 2011. “The Relation Between the View on the Language and Educational Ideology in the Early Meiji Period in Japan Through the Discourse of Regionalism.” Acta Linguistica Asiatica 1(1): 9–22. http://revije. ff.uni-lj.si/ala/article/view/15/22.

Ingulsrud, John E., and Kate Allen. 2009. Reading Japan Cool: Patterns of Manga Literacy and Discourse. Lanham: Lexington Books.

Ishikawa, Ken 石川謙. 1929. Nihon shomin kyōiku shi 日本庶民教育史 (History of Japanese Popular Education). Tokyo: Tōkō shoin 刀江書院.

–––.. 1960. Terakoya: shomin kyōiku kikan 寺子屋:庶民教育機関 (Temple Schools: Institutions of Popular Education). Tokyo: Shibundō 至 文堂.

Kassel, Marleen. 1996. Tokugawa Confucian Education: The Kangien Academy of Hirose Tansō (1782-1856). New York: State University of New York Press.

Kornicki, Peter. 2010. “A note on Sino-Japanese: a question of terminology.” Sino-Japanese Studies 17 (4): 29–44. http://www.chinajapan.org/articles/index. php/sjs/article/view/21/25.

Mehl, Margaret. 2001. “Women Educators and the Confucian Tradition in Meiji Japan (1868–1912): Miwada Masako and Atomi Kakei.” Women’s History Review 10 (4): 579–602. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09612020100200302.

–––. 2003. Private Academies of Chinese Learning in Meiji Japan - The Decline and Transformation of the Kangaku Juku. Copenhagen: NIAS Press.

Passin, Herbert. 1965. Society and Education in Japan. New York: Teachers College.

Rabinovitch, Judith N. 1996. “An Introduction to hentai kambun (Variant Chinese), a Hybrid Sino-Japanese Used by the Male Elite in Premodern Japan.” Journal of Chinese Linguistics 24 (1): 98–127.

Rošker, Jana. 2016. “Modern Confucianism and the Concept of Asian Values.” Asian Studies 4 (1): 153–64. http://revije.ff.uni-lj.si/as/article/view/4854/5953.

Rubinger, Richard. 1982. Private Academies of Tokugawa Japan. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

–––. 2007. Popular Literacy in Early Modern Japan. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.

Sasaki, Seinojō 佐々木清之丞. (1943) 1998. Kangaku juku o chūshin to suru Edo jidai no kyōiku 漢学塾を中心とする江戸時代の教育 (Education in the Edo Period Centered on Academies of Chinese Studies). Tokyo: Ozorasha 大空社.

Seeley, Christopher. (1991) 2000. A History of Writing in Japan. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.

Semizu, Yukino. (2006) 2012. “Invisible Translation: Reading Chinese Texts in Ancient Japan.” In Translating Others, edited by Theo Hermans, 283–95. London and New York: St. Jerome Publishing / Routledge.

Spaulding, Robert M. 1983. “Review: Private Academies of Tokugawa Japan by Richard Rubinger.” Monumenta Nipponica 38 (4): 454–8.

Tone, Keizaburō 利根啓三郎. 1981. Terakoya to shomin kyōiku no jisshōteki kenkyū 寺子屋と庶民教育の実証的研究 (Empirical Study of Temple Schools and Popular EducationEducation). Tokyo: Yuzankaku 雄山閣.

Tsukishima, Hiroshi 築島裕. 1986. Heian jidai kunten-bon ronkō: okototen-zu kanajitai-hyō 平安時代訓点本論考: ヲコト点図仮名字体表 (Disqusition on kunten Books of Heian Era: Tables of /okoto-ten/ marks and kana chapter forms). Tokyo: Kyūko Shoin 汲古書院.

Twine, Nanette. 1983. “Toward Simplicity: Script Reform Movements in the Meiji Period.” Monumenta Nipponica 38 (2): 15–32.

Unger, Marshall J. 1987. The Fifth Generation Fallacy: Why Japan Is Betting Its Future on Artificial Intelligence. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

–––. 1991. “Review: Nanette Twine: Language and the Modern State: The Reform of Written Japanese.” Monumenta Nipponica 46 (4): 548–50.

Visočnik, Nataša. 2015. “Confucian Ideologies in the Modern Japanese State Formation.” In Contemporary East Asia and the Confucian revival, edited by Jana Rošker and Nataša Visočnik, 129–45. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

–––. 2016. “Vloga konfucijanske ideologije pri oblikovanju nacionalne države na Japonskem.” Ars & Humanitas 10 (1): 82–97.

Wakabayashi, Judy. 2005a. “The Reconceptualization of Translation from Chinese in 18th Century Japan.” In Translation and Cultural Change: Studies in History, Norms and Image-projection, edited by Eva Hung, 119–45. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

–––. 2005b. “Translation in the East Asian Cultural Sphere: Shared Roots, Divergent Paths?” In Asian Translation Traditions, edited by Eva Hung and Judy Wakabayashi, 17–65. Manchester, UK and Northampton MA: St. Jerome Publishing.

–––. 2009. “An Etymological Exploration of ‘Translation’ in Japan.” In Decentering Translation Studies: India and Beyond, edited by Judy Wakabayashi and Rita Kothari, 175–94. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Walker, Brett L. 2015. A Concise History of Japan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wixted, John Timothy. 1998. “Kanbun, Histories of Japanese Literature, and Japanologists.” Chūnichi Kenkyū 中日研究 (Sino-Japanese Studies) 10 (2): 23– 31. http://www.chinajapan.org/articles/10.2/10.2wixted23-31.pdf.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4312/as.2017.5.2.153-166

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Copyright (c) 2017 Kristina HMELJAK SANGAWA

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

0.05
2016CiteScore
 
 
38th percentile
Powered by  Scopus

Ljubljana University Press, Faculty of Arts
(Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakultete Univerze v Ljubljani) 

Print ISSN: 2232-5131
Online ISSN: 2350-4226