Japanese Historians and the National Myths, 1600-1945: The Age of the Gods and Emperor Jinmu by John S. BrownleeJapanese Historians and the National Myths, 1600-1945: The Age of the Gods and Emperor Jinmu by John S. Brownlee

Japanese Historians and the National Myths, 1600-1945: The Age of the Gods and Emperor Jinmu

byJohn S. Brownlee

Paperback | June 1, 1999

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Ancient tales tell of Japan's creation in the Age of the Gods,and of Jinmu, a direct descendant of the Sun Goddess and first emperorof the imperial line. These founding myths went unchallenged untilConfucian scholars in the Tokugawa period initiated a reassessment ofthe ancient history of Japan. The application of Western theories ofmodern scientific history in the Meiji period further intensified theattacks on traditional beliefs. However, with the rise ofultranationalism following the Meiji Constitution of 1889, officialstate ideology insisted on the literal truth of these myths, andscholars who argued otherwise soon met with public hostility andgovernment suppression.

In Japanese Historians and the National Myths, JohnBrownlee examines how Japanese historians between 1600 and 1945interpreted the ancient myths of their origins. These myths lay at thecore of Japanese identity and provided legitimacy for the imperialstate. Focusing on the theme of conflict and accommodation betweenscholars on one side and government and society on the other, Brownleefollows the historians' reactions to pressure and trends and theireventual understanding of history as a science in the service of theJapanese nation.

This is the first comprehensive study of modern Japanese historiansand their relationship to nationalism. It breaks new ground in itstreatment of Japanese intellectual history and provides new insightsinto the development of Japan as a nation. Japanese Historians andthe National Myths will prove invaluable to scholars of Japanesehistory on both sides of the Pacific, as well as to those interested inpolitical ideology, nationalism, censorship, and mythology.

John S. Brownlee is a Professor of History, University of Toronto.
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Title:Japanese Historians and the National Myths, 1600-1945: The Age of the Gods and Emperor JinmuFormat:PaperbackDimensions:266 pages, 9.02 × 5.98 × 0.77 inPublished:June 1, 1999Publisher:Ubc PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0774806451

ISBN - 13:9780774806459

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Table of Contents

Part I: The Tokugawa Period

1. Hayashi Razan (1583-1657) and Hayashi Gaho (1618-80): Founders ofModern Historical Scholarship

2. Dai Nihon Shi [History of Great Japan]

3. Arai Hakuseki (1657-1725) and Yamagata Banto (1748-1821): PureRationalism

4. Date Chihiro (1802-77): Taisei Santen Ko [Three Stages in theHistory of Japan]

5. The Resistance of National Scholars

 

Part II: The Modern Century

6. European Influences on Meiji Historical Writing

7. The Beginnings of Academic History

8. The Kume Kunitake Incident, 1890-2

9. The Development of Academic History

10. The Southern and Northern Courts Controversy, 1911

11. Eminent Historians in the 1930s: The Betrayal of ScientificHistory

12. The Commission of Inquiry into Historical Sites Related toEmperor Jinmu, 1940

13. Tsuda Sokichi (1873-1961): An Innocent on the Loose

 

Epilogue: Historical Scholarship, Education, and Politics in PostwarJapan

From Our Editors

John S. Brownlee looks at how Japanese historians interpreted the ancient myths of Japan’s origins. Japanese Historians and the National Myths, 1600-1945: The Age of the Gods and Emperor Jinmu discusses how ancient myths lie at the center of Japanese identity. Brownlee examines how the pressures and trends led to an eventual understanding the history of a science that served the Japanese state.

Editorial Reviews

Brownlee is careful not to condemn historians working under different conditions at different times. ... Yet he convincingly demonstrates the pitfalls of state-controlled education. And he is concerned about his contemporary Japanese colleagues, warning that they ‘do not appreciate the perils of misstatement and of failure to speak out.’ His highly readable book is a vivid testimony that the history of history can be just as fascinating as history. - Florian Coulmas - Japan Times