Private Academies of Chinese Learning in Meiji Japan: The Decline and Transformation of the Kanguku Juku

Private Academies of Chinese Learning in Meiji Japan: The Decline and Transformation of the Kanguku Juku

Private Academies of Chinese Learning in Meiji Japan: The Decline and Transformation of the Kanguku Juku

Private Academies of Chinese Learning in Meiji Japan: The Decline and Transformation of the Kanguku Juku

Synopsis

The establishment of a national education system soon after the Meiji Restoration of 1868 is recognized as a significant factor in Japan's modernization, hence research is concentrated on the state system. However, this development did not mean the disappearance of the juku, the private academies which were notable features of the Tokugawa period. This study of a little-known but significant area contributes to a better understanding of education in the Meiji period, and is relevant to the reform of Japan's public education system today.

Excerpt

Before discussing juku in general, the following general, the following portraits of individual teachers and their juku will give some idea of the varying patterns the word can describe. Four of the juku portrayed here, run by Yasui Sokken, Ikeda Sōan, Murakami Butsusan and Tsunetō Seisō, were established in the first half of the nineteenth century and continued well into the Meiji period, three of them over several generations. Mishima Chūshū's juku, Nishō gakusha, established in the late 1870s when many of the older juku were closing, is the only one of its kind to have become a private university. Miwada Masako ran several different kangaku juku before establishing a private girls' school, which exists to this day. All these juku in some way filled a gap in government provision, whether temporary or long-term. the examples also help explain why most juku eventually disappeared, though others survived, albeit after some transformation.

The “OLD GUARD”: yasui sokken

Many juku of the Meiji period were established long before 1868, particularly in Tokyo. As Edo, it had been the political centre, where officials from the shogunate and the domains resided. As a centre of learning it attracted scholars who studied at the Shōheikō, the highest institution of learning at the time, and sometimes made the city their permanent home.

Yasui Sokken (1799-1876) is an example of a former student at the Shōheikō who opened his own juku in Edo and continued to teach well into the Meiji period. After his death the juku was taken

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