This volume explores the changing process of evaluating objects during the period of Japan’s rapid modernization.
Originally published in Japanese, Antiquarians of Nineteenth-Century Japan looks at the approach toward object-based research across the late Tokugawa and early Meiji periods, which were typically kept separate, and elucidates the intellectual continuities between these eras. Focusing on the top-down effects of the professionalizing of academia in the political landscape of Meiji Japan, which had advanced by attacking earlier modes of scholarship by antiquarians, Suzuki shows how those outside the government responded, retracted, or challenged new public rules and values. He explores the changing process of evaluating objects from the past in tandem with the attitudes and practices of antiquarians during the period of Japan’s rapid modernization. He shows their roots in the intellectual sphere of the late Tokugawa period while also detailing how they adapted to the new era. Suzuki also demonstrates that Japan’s antiquarians had much in common with those from Europe and the United States.
Art historian Maki Fukuoka provides an introduction to the English translation that highlights the significance of Suzuki’s methodological and intellectual analyses and shows how his ideas will appeal to specialists and nonspecialists alike.
The history of Western medicine in the late Tokugawa period is usually depicted as a prelude to modern medicine. By comparison to the Western medical science that was systematically introduced in the Meiji period, the Tokugawa study of Western learning is often seen as a hopelessly backward exercise in which inadequately equipped Japanese doctors valiantly struggled to make sense of outdated Dutch knowledge. In contrast, this book argues that the study of Western medicine was a dynamic activity that brought together doctors from all over the country in efforts to effect social change. Western knowledge was not simply the property of elite samurai doctors working for the Bakufu or domains but was shared even by commoner doctors working in local practices in rural backwaters. Through the examples of the doctors Takano Choei (1804-1850) and Takahashi Keisaku (1799-1875), this book explores the context into which local Japanese doctors incorporated Western ideas, the social networks through which they communicated them, and the geographical spaces that supported these activities. By examining the social impact of Western learning at the level of everyday life rather than simply its impact at the theoretical level, the book offers a broad picture of the way in which Western medicine, and Western knowledge, was absorbed and adapted in Japan.
The history of the book in nineteenth-century Japan follows an uneven course that resists the simple chronology often used to mark the divide between premodern and modern literary history.
By examining the obscured histories of publication, circulation, and reception of widely consumed literary works from late Edo to the early Meiji period, Jonathan Zwicker traces a genealogy of the literary field across a long nineteenth century: one that stresses continuities between the generic conventions of early modern fiction and the modern novel. In the literature of sentiment Zwicker locates a tear-streaked lens through which to view literary practices and readerly expectations that evolved across the century.
Practices of the Sentimental Imagination emphasizes both qualitative and quantitative aspects of literary production and consumption, balancing close readings of canonical and noncanonical texts, sophisticated applications of critical theory, and careful archival research into the holdings of nineteenth-century lending libraries and private collections. By exploring the relationships between and among Japanese literary works and texts from late imperial China, Europe, and America, Zwicker also situates the Japanese novel within a larger literary history of the novel across the global nineteenth century.
Long ignored by historians and repudiated in their time, practitioners of private law opened the way toward Japan’s legal modernity. From the seventeenth to the turn of the twentieth century, lawyers and their predecessors changed society in ways that first samurai and then the state could not. During the Edo period (1600–1868), they worked from the shadows to bend the shogun’s law to suit the market needs of merchants and the justice concerns of peasants. Over the course of the nineteenth century, legal practitioners changed law from a tool for rule into a new epistemology and laid the foundation for parliamentary politics during the Meiji era (1868–1912).
This social and political history argues that legal modernity sprouted from indigenous roots and helped delineate a budding nation’s public and private spheres. Tracing the transition of law regimes from Edo to Meiji, Darryl E. Flaherty shows how the legal profession emerged as a force for change in modern Japan and highlights its lasting contributions in founding private universities, political parties, and a national association of lawyers that contributed to legal reform during the twentieth century.
Although scholars have emphasized the importance of women’s networks for civil society in twentieth-century Japan, Women and Networks in Nineteenth-Century Japan is the first book to tackle the subject for the contentious and consequential nineteenth century. The essays traverse the divide when Japan started transforming itself from a decentralized to a centralized government, from legally imposed restrictions on movement to the breakdown of travel barriers, and from ad hoc schooling to compulsory elementary school education. As these essays suggest, such changes had a profound impact on women and their roles in networks. Rather than pursue a common methodology, the authors take diverse approaches to this topic that open up fruitful avenues for further exploration.
Most of the essays in this volume are by Japanese scholars; their inclusion here provides either an introduction to their work or the opportunity to explore their scholarship further. Because women are often invisible in historical documentation, the authors use a range of sources (such as diaries, letters, and legal documents) to reconstruct the familial, neighborhood, religious, political, work, and travel networks that women maintained, constructed, or found themselves in, sometimes against their will. In so doing, most but not all of the authors try to decenter historical narratives built on men’s activities and men’s occupational and status-based networks, and instead recover women’s activities in more localized groupings and personal associations.