Confucianism in Japan using Takashima Toshio’s Four Stages

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Confucius' Life and Ideas in Japanese Society

Confucius' life and ideas are deeply ingrained in Japanese society. During Japan's early history, Confucianism arrived from China via Korea. The evolution of ethical philosophy in Japan was significantly influenced by the ideas and ethics of Confucius. Regarding the four phases of cultural borrowing proposed by Toshio, the spread of Confucianism was viewed. Prince Shotoku Taishi adopted Confucianism and enacted the first Japanese constitution as a result of his teacher Wami's mission to bring Confucius' ideas to Japan on behalf of the ruler of the Korean kingdom of Paekche. (Takanashi 11).The constitution had seventeen acts that established Buddhist ethics and Confucian ideals as the co-pillars of the Japanese society. As a professor of cultural borrowing, the production of series with the theme of the life and thoughts of Confucian for the people living in Japan would be a successful project as long as the project adheres to Takashima Toshio’s four stages of cultural borrowing.

The Honeymoon or Euphoria Stage

According to Taoshi, the first stage of cultural borrowing is the honeymoon or euphoria stage. At this stage, there is excitement and lots of learning that motivates people to cooperate with the new cultural ideals. Confucianism was highly embraced in Japan and during the Edo Period; Neo-Confucianism emerged to be the most significant philosophy endorsed by the Tokugawa government and the education system (Takanashi 15). Some Japanese students went to study in China. On this note, Neo-Confucianism has a prevalent impact on the modern Japanese society, and its effect can still be felt in the 21st century Japan.

The Frustration, Irritability, or Hostility Stage

The frustration, irritability or hostility stage follows according to Toshio. The Water Margin considered one of the greatest Chinese literature, was negatively received in Japan (Takanashi 23). Some Japanese claimed that the samurai legends/warriors were falsely represented as bandits. In Japanese culture, the samurais were highly respected after the imperial rule. Nevertheless, after exploration of Buddhism and most importantly Confucian ideals, the Japanese gradually accepted the new culture. They accepted the Confucian ideals but they ranked the pillars of Confucianism with loyalty as most treasured as compared to love. Confucius Analects taught the value of love as the most important factor in humanity. Furthermore, in the fourth stage of Toshio’s cultural borrowing, the Japanese adapted biculturalism (Takanashi 35). They developed their writing skills using Chinese characters of writing. Besides, they used the concepts of Buddhism to nurture their traditional religion of Shintoism (Takanashi 41).

In Conclusion

In conclusion, cultural borrowing has been a way of life for all humanity. With this note, it is important to understand other cultures and carry out in-depth research to avoid cultural misrepresentation. The series project for the Japanese people is important to enlighten and remind the Japanese of their cultural heritage. It is also crucial to produce a series that does not distort the influence of the Chinese culture on the Japanese society. The Japanese people love their heritage, and as such, they would like the incorporation of factual events about their interaction with the Chinese. A well-documented series should be rich in context and follow the Toshio’s stages of cultural borrowing as explained above, I will use my knowledge to prove how the thoughts and life of Confucian remain ideal for the Japanese and its impact is felt in the current generation.

Works Cited

Takanashi, Yoshio. "Neo-Confucianism, Japan, and “Nature Is Principle”: Foundations for a

Comparison of Emerson and Zhu Xi." Emerson and Neo-Confucianism, 2014, 11-43. doi:10.1057/9781137395078_2.

July 07, 2023

Middle East

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