FAH/PHIL Guest Lecture – “The Birth of “Chinese Philosophy” in Modern Japan” by Prof. Sato Masayuki, Taiwan University, Taiwan and “The Eve of Modern Japanese Chinese Philosophy Take the Yasui Sokken’s(安井息軒) “Sankei School”(三計塾) as Example” by Prof. Aoyama Daisuke, Yuelu Academy of Hunan University, China


Prof. Aoyama Daisuke, Yuelu Academy of Hunan University, China and Prof. Sato Masayuki, Taiwan University, Taiwan


20 Sep 2019


10:00 - 13:00




The Birth of “Chinese Philosophy” in Modern Japan

Speaker: Sato Masayuki (Taiwan University, Taiwan)

The Beginning of Chinese Philosophy scholarly research should be predicated on the formation and spread of “philosophy” discipline. In other words, those who had received “philosophy education” have started to the contents and significance of Chinese thought based upon what they have conceived of in philosophy discipline, was the commencement of its scholarly subject. Such a “paradigm shift” of scholarly discipline has marched at Tokyo University during 19 century where a philosophy course had been installed. This lecture starts at 1877 when Tokyo University has launched philosophy course, mainly with a close focus upon the lecture notes concerning Chinese philosophy-related subjects by Ernest Fenollosa, Inoue, Tesujirō and Shimada, Chōrei as well as textbook and topical articles about Chinese philosophy published by Inoue, Enryō, attempts to delineate the process of how Meiji intellectuals during 1880s, have transformed traditional canonical studies and knowledge of various intellectual masters into scholarly subjects under a “Chinese philosophy” history perspective based upon their new knowledge about philosophy.



The Eve of Modern Japanese Chinese Philosophy

Take the Yasui Sokken’s(安井息軒) “Sankei School”(三計塾) as Example

Speaker: Aoyama Daisuke (Yuelu Academy of Hunan University, China)


    The “Meiji Restoration” refers to a series of changes in the late 19th century in Japan in order to get rid of old system and establish a modern Western-style country. Many people also misunderstand that these changes began from scratch in the first year of Meiji (1868), and had been achieved in just over 20 years. But recently Japanese academics think that the foundation of Meiji Restoration has been laid in the Edo period. Meiji period’s “Chinese Philosophy” was also based on Edo period’s “Sinology” (漢學).

    It should not be neglected that the Japanese “Chinese Philosophy” this academic field was not naturally established in the public, but through the process of the government’s formulation of higher educational system, “Sinology ” had been obliged to become “Chinese Philosophy” under the “Selective pressure” what was inspecting the content of higher education: if it couldn’t suitable for needs of the state, it was abolished on without delay.

    Although the “Shouhei kou” (昌平黌) what was a higher educational institution of Sinology run by the Edo Shogunate was inherited by the Meiji government, but it was abolished in the Meiji 4 (1871), and Sinology was temporarily omitted from the curriculum of official higher education. When the Department of Literature of Tokyo University was founded In Meiji 10 (1877), in addition to the “Philosophy” discipline, “Japanese and Chinese Literature” discipline was established, so Sinology had returned to the official higher education. It is noteworthy that Shimada Chourei (島田重禮: 1838-1898) was taught a course named the “Chinese philosophy” at Tokyo University in Meiji 14-18(1881-1885).

    In Meiji 19 (1886), when the Tokyo University was reorganized as “Imperial University” and the “Chinese Literature” discipline was newly established, the only remaining professor of Sinology was Shimada Chourei, while the other Chinese literary or Chinese composition professors, Nakamura Masanao (中村正直) and Mishima Tuyoshi (三島毅), left their posts. This historical event implies that “Selective pressure” has eliminated what aspects of Sinology.

    As mentioned above, Sinology was omitted from official higher education in Meiji 4-10 (1871-1877). However, the lifeblood of Sinology has not broken off because the “Sinological schools” (漢學塾) what equivalent to the “Academies” (書院), these private higher educational institutions had resolutely maintained the tradition of Sinology all over the country. In fact, after the first year of Meiji (1868), many Sinological schools continued to exist, or even opened new ones. So if we discuss the birth of modern Japanese “Chinese Philosophy”, it is impossible to omit the existence of “Sinological School” in Meiji 0 years.

    The theme of this lecture is “The Eve of Modern Japanese “Chinese Philosophy””, focusing on the “Sankei School”(三計塾) which was set up in Edo (Tokyo) by Yasui Sokken(安井息軒:1799-1867) who was the greatest Japanese Confucian scholar at the transition period between Edo and Meiji. This lecture clarifies its curriculum, teaching methods and students’ appearance through the diary of a student whose name was Tani Tateki (谷干城: 1837-1911).

    The reason why this lecture chooses Yasui Sokken from a lot of Edo Sinologists is that he and Shimada Chourei were relatives by marriage, such a interpersonal relationship maybe reflected the academic similarity to a certain extent. This lecture compares Yasui Sokken’s “Sankei school” curriculum with Shimada Chorei’s “Chinese philosophy” course, confirms the continuity of both, and illustrates what aspects of Edo Sinology are connected to the Meiji “Chinese philosophy”.


All are welcome




Philosophy and Religious Studies Programme
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