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Japan Documents Handbook titles

This series focuses on the broad field of Japanese Studies, aimed at the worldwide English language scholarly market, published in Tokyo in English. Each Handbook will contain an average of 20 newly written contributions on various aspects of the topic, which together comprise an up-to-date survey of use to scholars and students. The focus is on Humanities and Social Sciences.

Handbook of Confucianism in Modern Japan (Edited by Shaun O'Dwyer)

Confucianism in Japan cover thumb.png

February 2022 

300 p. Hardback

ISBN: 978-4-909286-08-6

¥28,875 (tax included)

In mainstream assessments of Confucianism’s modern genealogy there is a

Sinocentric bias which is in part the result of a general neglect of modernJapanese Confucianism by political and moral philosophers and intellectual historians during the post-war era. This collection of essays joins a small group of other studies bringing modern Japanese Confucianism to international scholarly notice, largely covering the time period between the Bakumatsu era of the mid-19th century and the 21st century.

The essays in this volume can be read for the insight they provide into the intellectual and ideological proclivities of reformers, educators and philosophers explicitly reconstructing Confucian thought, or more tacitly influenced by it, during critical phases in Japan’s modernization, imperialist expansionism and post-1945 reconstitution as a liberal democratic polity. They can be

read as introductions to the ideas of modern Japanese Confucian thinkers and reformers whose work is little known outside Japan—and sometimes barely remembered inside Japan. They can also be read as a needful corrective to the above-mentioned Sinocentric bias in the 20th century intellectual history of Confucianism. For those Confucian scholars currently exploring how Confucianism is, or can be made compatible with democracy, at least

some of the studies in this volume serve as a warning. They enjoin readers to

consider how Confucianism was also rendered compatible with the authoritarian

ultranationalism and militarism that captured Japan’s political system in the 1930s, and brought war to the Asia-Pacific region.

Editor: Shaun O'Dwyer

Shaun O’Dwyer is an associate professor in the Faculty of Languages and Cultures at Kyushu University. His research specialization is in moral and political philosophy, and Modern Confucianism. His recent publications include the book Confucianism’s Prospects: A Reassessment

(State University of New York Press, 2019) and the paper “Meritocracy and

Resentment” in Philosophy and Social Criticism (2020).


Chang Kun-chiang, National Taiwan Normal University; Eddy Dufourmont, University Bordeaux Montaigne; Han Shuting, Kyushu University; Jiang Dongxian, Stanford University; Kang Haesoo, Meijo University; Lee Yu-Ting, National Taiwan University; Mizuno Hirota, University of Tokyo; Alexandra Mustățea, Kanda University of International Studies; Shaun O’Dwyer, Kyushu University; Park Junhyun, Republic of Korea Air Force Academy; Masako Racel, Kennesaw State University; Kyle Michael James Shuttleworth, Rikkyo University; Song Qi (Jiangxi University of Science and Technology; Yamamura Shō, Shōwa Pharmaceutical University.

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