Confucianism In Japan

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As we have learnt in class, it was the common characteristic of all societies before the 18th century that decisions about the priority of wants and the allocation of resources necessary to satisfy them were “dictated by central authority and reinforced by custom.” The law of tradition kept decision making “outside of the scope of individual action” (Rima, 2001). According to an economist Donald W. Katzner, it was mostly the religious dogmas of Buddhism and Confucianism that determined the central values of the society in Japan. The fulfillment of obligations as well as the “furtherance of group harmony” rather than the pursuit of self-interest always determined the Japanese workers’ behavior. As it is explained by the Japanese academic of…show more content…
Thinkers in Japan were forced “to reassess the notion of agriculture as the source of all wealth”, and, in the end, they accepted the existence of the money economy and analyzed its workings and consequences for the social order. A few contemporaries, including Kumazawa Banzan, explained that it was the separation of the warrior, or samurai, class from the land that “promoted the monetarization of the economy” which, in turn, led to the enrichment of the merchant class and, in the end, to the “erosion of the Tokugawa status system.” These sorts of ideas gave rise to moral philosophy which legitimized the pursuit of profit and, with the ideas of Kaiho Seiryō, led to a vision of “the market as the measure of all things.” During a few decades preceding the Meiji Restoration, topics of controversy were the advantages and disadvantages of foreign trade, as well as the role of the government as an “active agent in the promotion of economic development.” We could point out Yokoi Shōnan who called for the “complete dismantling” of the existing feudal restrictions on “occupational mobility and inter-domain trade” and saw the state as playing a central role in promoting economic development (Morris-Suzuki, 1989). It is important to note, however, in regards to the Japanese monarchy or the Emperor Institution, that sovereign dictatorship was always denounced, as is strongly argued by Hajime Nakamura. Japan's rulers dealt with people with affection and
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