The chapters in this volume variously challenge a number of long-standing assumptions regarding eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Japanese society, and especially that society’s values, structure and hierarchy; the practical limits of state authority; and the emergence of individual and collective identity. By interrogating the concept of equality on both sides of the 1868 divide, the volume extends this discussion beyond the late-Tokugawa period into the early-Meiji and even into the present. An Epilogue examines some of the historiographical issues that form a background to this enquiry. Taken together, the chapters offer answers and perspectives that are highly original and should prove stimulating to all those interested in early modern Japanese cultural, intellectual, and social history
Contributors include: Daniel Botsman, W. Puck Brecher, Gideon Fujiwara, Eiko Ikegami, Jun’ichi Isomae, James E. Ketelaar, Yasunori Kojima, Peter Nosco, Naoki Sakai, Gregory Smits, M. William Steele, and Anne Walthall.
Peter Nosco is Professor of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of the companion volume Thinking for Oneself: Identity and Individuality in Early Modern Japan (forthcoming), and co-editor (with Simone Chambers) of Dissent on Core Beliefs: Religious and Secular Perspectives (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2015).
James E. Ketelaar is a Professor at the University of Chicago in the Departments of History, and East Asian Languages and Civilizations, as well as the Divinity School. He works on religious and intellectual history, peripheral studies and recently has been working on emotion as a historical category.
Yasunori Kojima is Professor in the Faculty of Education at International Christian University (Mitaka, Tokyo). His specialty is the intellectual history of the Edo period, and most recently he has expanded his interests to include social history and the gap between it and intellectual history; erotic thought and parody; and Japan as a knowledge-based society.
"the volume is very well edited, and the division of the papers into four parts makes the reading comfortable.(...) The volume under review is undeniably a major publication in the field of social and cultural history of early modern and modern Japan."
Annick Horiuchi, Université Paris Diderot, Monumenta NIpponica 72:1 (2017) "The collection of essays that Peter Nosco, James Ketelaar, and Yasunori Kojima have assembled in this volume will disorient most, surprise many, [End Page 139] and hopefully inspire a few.(...) The methodological eclecticism and thematic variety of this collection of essays promise to give visibility to this volume; its experimentalism is indeed an appropriate strategy to encourage young scholars to engage with "big questions" in the current predicament of theoretical inertia. (...) I ardently hope the book finds a wide readership among undergraduate and graduate students worldwide, as I am sure it will inspire new investigations and new theoretical reflections. The Nietzschean untimeliness of this project is a plea to young scholars to never shy away from big questions."
Federico Marcon, Princeton University, The Journal of Japanese Studies, 45:1 (2019).
Academic and public libraries, as well as specialists, post-graduate students, undergraduate students, practitioners, and educated laymen with an advanced interest in Japanese social and intellectual history of the early modern and modern periods.