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Yoshida Shoin (1830-1859) and the Shoka Sonjuku

Coaldrake, Maida Stelmar 1985 , 'Yoshida Shoin (1830-1859) and the Shoka Sonjuku', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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YOSHIDA SHOIN (1830-1859)
The life and writings of Yoshida Shoin, samurai of Choshu
in western Japan, scholar, patriot and teacher, reflect the many
diverse and turbulent aspects of the late Tokugawa period. In his
personal relationships and activities Shoin anticipated the desperate
nature of the crisis facing Japan in the mid-nineteenth century
with the arrival of foreigners on Japanese soil seeking trade and
diplomatic privilege. He was executed for crimes against the state
during the Ansei Purge in 1859, ten years before the same ideas
and a number of the men who were his students propelled Japan into
the modern world. Shoin has been the object of fascination to both Japanese and
Western historians since the publication of The Life of Yoshida ShOin
(1893) by Tokutomi Iichiro and Robert Louis Stevenson's "Yoshida
Torajiro" in Familiar Studies of Men and Books (1903). Interpretation
of his life and work has been prey to a hundred years of changing
historiographical fashion. Shoin has been cast in the role of archconservative,
ultranationalist, messianic prophet of the Meiji
Restoration, tragic failed hero, disaffected intellectual and "grassroots"
radical insurrectionist. Within the encrustation of legend
and interpretation the real Yoshida Shoin has been overlaid.
This study re-examines Shoin's life and thought with particular
emphasis on the Shoka Sonjuku. The students of this small community
school at which he was principal instructor while under domiciliary
confinement, included such later "Men of Meiji" as Ito Hirobumi,
Yamagata Aritomo and Kido Koin. Ideas gathered during fieldwork helped to clarify Shoin's
ideas and appear in the text where appropriate in the form of maps,
charts andphotographic plates. Locations where he was active,
including Hagi itself are pinpointed. His journeys are traced from
Hirado and Nagasaki in Kyushu, through Kyoto and Nakasendo to IzuShimoda,
Mito and Aizu-Wakamatsu, as far north as the Tsugaru
Straits. The chronological listing of his major writings which is
included, traces the evolution of his concepts of state and philosophy
of education.
This thesis sheds new light on Shoin's life, thought and
activities, especially his relationship to the physical environment
of Hagi, the domain castletown, to the Neo-Confucian and Yamaga
philosophical traditions in which he was fostered and the intellectual
movements to which he was exposed, notably, Mitogaku. Special
attention is given to Shoka Sonjukuki, an essay written by Shin
in 1856 in which he discusses the history and educational principles
of the school which were transmitted to his deshi (disciples). The
analysis of this vital text has not been carried out previously
and challenges the existing inadequate but historiographically
explicable interpretations of Shoin as a radical and extremist.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Coaldrake, Maida Stelmar
Keywords: Yoshida, Shoin, 1830-1859
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Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 1986. Bibliography: leaves 320-338

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