Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Japanese Political Thought
Political thought emerged in a coherent form in Japan in the Tokugawa era (1600–1868), when Confucian-trained thinkers sought to make Chinese Confucianism more relevant to their own political environment. Thus began what was to become a fundamental preoccupation in Japanese political thinking thereafter, namely the relationship between ethics and politics. Throughout modern Japanese history, the pendulum has swung between attempts to entangle these two spheres and attempts to separate or differentiate between them. A second central theme in Japanese political thinking has been the imperative of national identity formation in the age of modernization, imperialism, and war, especially in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Tensions between ethics and politics, and the universal and the particular, enable Japanese political thought to resonate with and enrich the international body of ideas about politics. The commencement of Japan's modern era is sometimes equated with the arrival of Westerners in Japan in 1853, ...