Critical Readings in the Intellectual History of Early Modern Japan provides an overview of recent research into the most fascinating period in the development of Japanese thought. Against a background of Buddhism, which all through the period remained the state-sponsored religion, Chinese studies spread and became the basis of all higher education. Chinese studies, and the Confucianism they implied, provoked a reaction, "National Studies", which took the philological method elaborated by the Chinese scholars and applied it to the ancient Japanese corpus, in an attempt to articulate a "Japanese" identity. Simultaneously, the growing interest of physicians and astronomers in European science gave rise to "Dutch Studies." These four fields of intellectual endeavour together comprise the subject of the book.