Women and Confucian Cultures in Premodern China, Korea, and Japan

By Dorothy Ko; Jahyun Kim Haboush et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWO
The Last Classical Female Sovereign
Kōken-Shōtoku Tennō
Joan R. Piggott

Our task in this volume is to investigate the influence of the classical discourse of Chinese civilization, loosely termed “Confucian, ” on women's lives across geography, class, and time in premodern East Asia. My focus is on the latter days of female kingship at Japan's Nara-period court (710–84). Using the framework of the Japan-China dialectic discussed in the introduction, I explore facets of the dialectic at work as it redefined kingship as a fully gendered male script during the era of Shōmu Tennō's daughter and successor, Kōken-Shōtoku Tennō (r. 749–58, 764–70).

Historians of Japan writing in English—including James Murdoch, George Sansom, and John Whitney Hall—have argued that Kōken-Shōtoku Tennō discredited female rulership by her “scandalous” partnership with the monk Dōkyō, who is generally portrayed as plotting to seize throne and state. The fact is, however, that such scenarios ignore the crisis that faced Kōken-Shōtoku's reign as a female Heavenly Sovereign (tennō). Eighth-century Japanese attempts to institutionalize the Chinese practice of royal patrilineal succession resulted in female sovereignty, but at the same time deepening acculturation of Sinic ideals of male rulership was steadily delegitimizing female monarchs.

Some prefatory remarks on what can be termed the male script of Chinese rulership are needed before I proceed. The doctrine of rulership developed in Han China (third century b.c.e. to early third century c.e.) was a cosmological vision that privileged the male in politics and society. Han Ru discourse established the cosmological significance of the Son of Heaven (tenshi) as the linchpin linking the three realms of heaven, earth, and human society. This vision of political and social order elided the spheres of state and family and glorified the virtue of filiality shown to both fathers and rulers, as Sekiguchi Hiroko shows elsewhere in this volume. Filial piety was the virtue that legitimized the familial and the state hierarchy, and it gave precedence to males, whether rulers, fathers, or elder brothers. As

-47-

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
Women and Confucian Cultures in Premodern China, Korea, and Japan
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
/ 337

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.