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The Formation and Development of the Late Mito School: Focusing on the Construction of Kokutai Theory
Late Mito School
“Kokutai” Theory (國體, national essence) proposed by the Late Mito School, it great Influence and thought resources for the construction of Nation state and Nationalism in modern Japan. In order to fully appreciate the Late Mito School’s “Kokutai” Theory, the main contention of this thesis is based on Historical context and the History of Interpretations perspective to discuss and analyze the construction process of “Kokutai” Theory. First, it will be formed to review the "Guójiā" (國家, state) concept of ancient China, thus justified under the Confucian concept of Body-thinking “Jìtǐ” (繼體, the body of succession to the throne) is to build interpretations origin of “Kokutai” Theory. “Jìtǐ” is formed in the Pre-Qin China, and with the Classics spread to Japan, then with Buddhism, Shinto mutual integration, instead as Imperial system of Tennō and his/ her legitimate succession. After assimilation Buddha and Shinto, “Jìtǐ” was being initially settled by Kitabatake Chikafusa his representative work Jinnō Shōtōki (《神皇正統記》) in the Nanboku-chō period (南北朝時代, Medieval Japan). Until Edo period, this concept was the Early Mito School inherited, and under scholars advocated “Nanchōseitōron” (南朝正統論, the legitimacy of the Yoshino Court), who was with Shinto as a Cultural Detail of the cognitive basis, and superimposed on the Meibun/Taigi-meibun (儒家名分論, Status of Confucianism), thus expand the course of contextualization. Second, “Kokutai” Theory was Late Mito scholars inherited previous Intellectual heritage, and originated from “Bakumatsu” (幕末時期, Late Tokugawa period) of Sonnō jōi (尊王攘夷, honor the king and drive off the barbarians), moreover, focusing on Aizawa Seishisai his Shinron “Kokutai” (《新論》〈國體〉) advocate Shōbu (尚武, martial), Mi-Chūkō (明忠孝, manifest loyalty and filial piety ) , Chō-Minmei (重民命, pay attention to the people will) as interpretation tone. Under the premise to appeal restore to ancient ways, especially after assimilation Ogyū Sorai’s kobunjigaku (古學, Soraigaku; Ancient Rhetoric), comparing the curtain Bakuhan System (幕藩體制, Tokugawa Bakufu Military Regime) likened to the ancient China “The Three Dynasties” (三代, Xia, Shang and Zhou Period) and “Hōken” (封建體制, Feudal system), in this imagine launching on the explanation of “Kokutai” Theory. Furthermore, “Kokutai” Theory’s logic, it’s through Tokugawa Nariaki’s Kōdōkanki (《弘道館記》) enshrined in the “KeiKmaishūJu ” (敬神崇儒, respect Kmai and adore Confucianism) as the guiding principle, but also in Confucian “worship of spirits” (鬼神祭祀, worship gods and ghosts, but also including pay respect to ancestors) and “Rei-gaku teaching”(禮樂教化, execute ritual and music to reach enlightenment) to reconstruct Japan's inherent mythology, political order, try to run from the excavation of Shinto and Confucian affinities, unity of Shinto and Confucian to create the “Shinsei-no-michi” (神聖之道, the Dao combination of Shinto and Confucianism), further on this understanding, to critique o “Kokugakusha” (國學者, Thinkers who are worked to refocus Japanese Classics) advocates “Kan'nagara-no-michi” (惟神之道, the Dao only for Kami), to make “Kokutai” Theory can reach perfect state of “Shinseidōki” (神聖同歸, Shinto and Confucian to attain the same objective). So it's emphasis on Dao of Confucian's Human Relationships, and it’s presented worship as “Hōhonhanshi” (報本反始, an expression of gratitude to the source ), that interpretative characteristic of Chūkōippon (忠孝一本, the unity of loyalty [zhong忠] and filial piety [xiao孝]), and a political form of “Saiseikyō Itchi” (祭政教一致, the unity of religion and politics and teaching) to appear, in an attempt to build the “Worship community” (祭祀共同體, the country which is unity of religion and politics and teaching), that is the completion of “Kokutai” Theory. In general, the constructive significance of “Kokutai” Theory to Late Mito Scholars, they resorted to back to the ancient works as purport, it’s not only emphasizes the Ancient Japanese mythology, the ancestral type of polity, and in this reconstruction process, which interpretations reveal, but also foreshadowed the possibility of creating prototypes of the modern nation state.
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