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date: 26 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the claim that the Ancient Learning School (kogakuha) presided over a revival of classical Confucian learning during the early-modern period of Japanese history, otherwise known as the Edo period (1600–1868). While questioning the claim’s validity, the study seeks to salvage the notion of kogaku by interpreting it as another expression of Neo-Confucianism. Kogaku thinkers criticized Zhu Xi and other Neo-Confucians, but doing so arguably reflected their involvement in the learning of Neo-Confucianism rather than something divorcing them from it. The study cites methodological, terminological, and philosophical similarities between the major kogaku thinkers and Neo-Confucian followers of Zhu Xi. The chapter concludes with a brief survey of subsequent, late-Tokugawa critiques of Sokō, Jinsai, and Sorai, prior to their revival in the late-Meiji by Inoue Tetsujirō in his efforts to define a philosophical tradition for modern Japan.

Keywords: Kogaku, Inoue Tetsujirō, Neo-Confucianism, Yamaga Sokō, Itō Jinsai, Ogyū Sorai, Hayashi Razan, Chen Beixi, Zhu Xi, philosophical lexicography

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