The Journal of Japanese Studies



The Nationalization of Confucianism: Academism, Examinations, and Bureaucratic Governance in the Late Tokugawa State

This article examines the causes and effects of the shogunate’s establishment of a state academy and examination system from 1788 onward. It concentrates on the role of state academicians in reforming Tokugawa processes of governance, suggesting that they effected the creation of a new structural engagement between knowledge and power which had surprisingly “modern” characteristics. Countering arguments that Neo-Confucian political thought encouraged social stasis and authoritarianism in early modern East Asia, I argue that reforms advanced by Confucians in the late Tokugawa state were usually designed to open government structures to bottom-up input in an attempt to make government more socially responsive.

Volume 38, Number 1 (Winter 2012)
© 2012 Society for Japanese Studies

Marie Anchordoguy and Kevin M. Doak, Coeditors     Martha L. Walsh, Managing Editor
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