Japan: Confucianism and Neo-Confucianism

Confucianism and Neo-Confucianism in Japan are complex matters, always to be seen in relation to the Shintoism and Buddhism that accompany them.

I here limit myself to half a dozen topics:

  1. Confucian values in Bushido, whose most generally accepted definition is “the unwritten code of laws governing the lives and conduct of the nobles of Japan.” Bushido is equivalent in many ways to European chivalry
  2. Confucianism and Neo-Confucianism in Japanese religious, philosophical, social, political and legal thought
  3. Confucianism in Japanese art
  4. Confucianism in the context of a non-philosophical culture
  5. Confucianism as a religion squeezed out by “the System”
  6. Confucianism as nonetheless reflected, unconsciously, in recent Japanese society

mt fuji cherry blossoms

For the first subject I have quoted from Inazo Nitobe, Bushido: The Soul of Japan, originally published in 1905

For the second subject I have quoted from

  1. Charles A. Moore, Ed. The Japanese Mind: Essentials of Japanese Philosophy and Culture, whose first edition appeared in 1967. This collection includes essays by Miyamoto Shoson, Sakamaki Shunzo, Hanayama Shinsho, Yukawa Hideki, Suzuki Daisetz Teitaro, Kishimoto Hideo, Nakamura Haime, Ueda Yoshifumi, Hori Ichiro, Furukawa Tesshi, Kosaka Masaaki and Kawashima Takeyoshi
  2. Herman Ooms, Tokugawa Ideology: Early Constructs, 1570-1680

For the third subject I have quoted from Noritake Tsuda, A History of Japanese Art: From Prehistory to the Taisho Period, originally published as Handbook of Japanese Art in 1976

For the fourth subject I have quoted/adapted from Karel van Wolferen, The Enigma of Japanese Power, originally published in 1989

For the fifth and sixth subjects I have quoted/adapted from Patrick Smith, Japan: A Reinterpretation, originally published in 1997, and again, van Wolferen