A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present

By Andrew Gordon | Go to book overview

3
The Intellectual World of Late Tokugawa

Faced with widespread symptoms of distress and decline, from chronic daimyō and samurai debt to devastating famine and increased instances of violent protests, both rulers and ruled produced vigorous critiques of their changing world. The gist of such statements often looked backward as well as forward: Reform was needed to return the world of the present to the better times of the past. Ironically, as is often the case, conservative reforms actually set in motion a chain of events that made a return to that past impossible. To understand the cultural and intellectual ferment of late Tokugawa times, one must begin by examining the ideal world that reformers wished to restore.


IDEOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS OF THE TOKUGAWA REGIME

For any political order to endure as long as the Tokugawa system did, it cannot rely solely on the coercive power of hegemon and henchmen. Authority has to be grounded in an accepted concept of legitimate rule. Like all aspiring rulers, Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi faced this ideological dilemma. They faced it, however, with a particular intensity. Because they had used coercion so nakedly, they had greater than usual need to convince people of the legitimacy of their rule. Both of these men, as well as Tokugawa Ieyasu, sought to ground their authority upon religious as well as secular symbols and ideals.

Nobunaga promoted himself as a divine ruler even as he went to war against popular religious sects and killed tens of thousands. He demanded that samurai “venerate” him. In exchange he offered not only military but also divine protection. He asserted that the service rendered in this life would benefit a loyal vassal in the next life. He issued proclamations demanding worship of him for those wishing to gain wealth and happiness. He also came to present himself as the embodiment of “the realm” (tenka in Japanese, literally “under heaven”). Unlike earlier military hegemons, he rejected a shogunal position because this would have placed him symbolically subordinate to the emperor as recipient of imperial confirmation. He had vassals use the phrase “for the tenka, for Nobunaga” in their pledges of loyalty. He thus identified himself with the realm, which was itself defined in terms of being all under heaven. He claimed sovereignty in a way that was similar to, but pre-

-34-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 384

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.