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The Analects and the Edo bakufu

Old Book Fig.1 Jōkeni’n-bon Rongo shicchū (Jōkeni’n-text Analects with Collected Commentaries) 『論語集注』常憲院本
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With the Gen’na Armistice (Genna-Enbu) of Gen’na 1 (1615), the Tokugawa bakufu (shogunate) succeeded in putting an end to the hostilities. Ieyasu, who had already retired to Sumpu, in Suruga, dedicated himself to collecting books (his private collection was known as the “Suruga Oyuzuri-bon,” or, “Suruga Authorized Books”) and sponsored the printing of such titles as the Dacang yilanji (J. Daizō Ichiran-shū, “Digest of the Tripitaka”) and the Qunshu zhiyao (J. Gunsho chiyō, “Collected Writings on Important Matters of Government,” 1616), using copper type.

Employing scholars such as Hayashi Razan, Ishin Sūden (1569-1633) of the Nanzenji Konchi’in temple, Tenkai (1536-1643) of the Rinnōji temple in Nikkō, and the Head of the Ashikaga School, San’yō (Kanshitsu Genkitsu, 1548-1612), the government moved back to the Kanto area the library of the Ashikaga School, which had been temporarily transferred to Kyoto by Toyotomi Hidetsugu, and actively sought to launch a new age of textual culture to break with the Kyoto-centered culture of the medieval period. It is fair to say that this new emphasis on books and learning laid the foundation for the cultural thriving of the Edo period.

The opening of the shogunate’s Momijiyama Library (Momijiyama Bunko), which would later provide the nucleus for the Shōheizaka Center of Learning (Shōheizaka Gakumonjo), as well as the establishment of several local offshoots such as the Bihan Bunko in the Owari domain , the Shōkōkan Bunko in Mito and the Kiihan Bunko in Wakayama, all embody the Tokugawa’s emphasis on culture.

Because the shogunate’s official scholars, the Hayashi family (see Week 4) of the Head of Higher Learning, Hayashi Razan, were fervent admirers of the Neo-Confucianism of Zhu Xi, who advocated the study of the Analects alongside other classic texts such as the Great Learning, the Doctrine of the Mean, and the Mencius, in the Edo period the Analects were typically read as one of the Neo-Confucian “Four Books.” In particular, the fifth shogun Tsunayoshi (1646-1709), who had a keen interest in scholarship, erected a monumental shrine to Confucius (the Yushima seidō), and under the supervision of Hayashi Nobuatsu, the shogunate’s Scholar in Chief, he published Zhu Xi’s Si shu ji zhu (J. Shisho shicchū,“The Four Books with Collected Commentaries”). Later, this version of the text became known as the “Jōkeni’n-text Shisho” (Jōken’in-bon Shisho) (fig. 1) after Tsunayoshi’s Buddhist name, Jōken’in.

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This article is from the free online course:

Sino-Japanese Interactions Through Rare Books

Keio University

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