Kaibara Ekken


Kaibara Ekken

Kaibara Ekken or Ekiken (貝原 益軒, also known as Atsunobu (篤信), 1630 - October 5, 1714) was a Japanese Neo-Confucianist philosopher and botanist. [ [http://www.spiritus-temporis.com/kaibara-ekiken/ Kaibara Ekiken - Biography of Kaibara Ekiken ] ]

Ekken was born into a family of advisors to the daimyo of Fukuoka Domain in Chikuzen Province (modern-day Fukuoka Prefecture). He accompanied his father to Edo in 1648, and was sent in 1649 to Nagasaki to study Western science. At his father's urging, he continued his studies in Nagasaki as a ronin from 1650 through 1656. He then re-entered service to Kuroda, which led to his continuing studies in Kyoto. After his father's death in 1665, he returned to Fukuoka.Yonemoto, Marcia. (2003). "Mapping Early Modern Japan: Space, Place, and Culture in the Tokugawa Period (1603–1868)." p. 49.]

Ekken was destined to introduce two great innovations towards the Tokugawa shogunate. One of such was the systematic study of nature based on Neo-Confucianism, which was the beginning of the empirical science in Japan. Ekken's second innovation was to translate the abstruse and forbidding philosophy of Confucianism and Neo-Confucianism into the language of the ordinary Japanese.

Ekken's science was confined to Biology and focused on the "natural law". Ekken became as famous in Japan as people such as Charles Darwin when it came to science. He advanced the study of botany in Japan when he wrote "Yamato honzō," which was a seminal study of Japanese plants. The Japanologist Philipp Franz von Siebold called him the "Aristotle of Japan." [see above] ]

Ekken was known for his manuals of behavior, such as changing his Confucian ethical system based on the teachings of Zhu Xi (also known as Chu Hsi) into an easy "self-help" manuals. As an educator and philosopher, it appears that Ekken's main goal in life was to further the process of weaving Neo-Confucianism into the very fabric of Japanese culture. In this context, his is best known for such books as "Precepts for Children" and "Greater Learning for Women" ("Onna daigaku"); but modern scholarship argues that it was actually prepared by other hands. Although the genesis of the work remains unchallenged, the oldest extant copy (1733) ends with the lines "as related by our teacher Ekiken Kaibara" and the publisher's colophon states that the text was written from lectures of our teacher Kaibara." [Ko, Dorothy "et al." (2003). "Women and Confucian Cultures in Premodern China, Korea, and Japan." p. 199.]

Published works

* "Dazaifu jinja engi" (History of Dazaifu Shrine). [ [http://eos.kokugakuin.ac.jp/modules/xwords/entry.php?entryID=468 Encyclopedia of Shinto - Home : Personalities : Kaibara Ekiken ] ]
* "Jingikun" (Lessons of the Deities). [ [http://eos.kokugakuin.ac.jp/modules/xwords/entry.php?entryID=468 Encyclopedia of Shinto - Home : Personalities : Kaibara Ekiken ] ]
* "Onna daigaku", c. 1729. [ [http://chnm.gmu.edu/wwh/p/84.html ...Click link for excerpt paragraphs] ]
* "Shinju heikō aimotorazaru ron" (Treatise on the Non-Divergence of Shinto and Confucianism). [ [http://eos.kokugakuin.ac.jp/modules/xwords/entry.php?entryID=468 Encyclopedia of Shinto - Home : Personalities : Kaibara Ekiken ] ]
* "Yamato honzō."
* "Yamato souhon" (Grasses). [ [http://www.iias.nl/iiasn/16/regions/ea4.html Regions - IIAS Newsletter Online ] ]
* "Yōjōkun" (The Book of Life-nourishing Principles), 1713. [ [http://www.iias.nl/iiasn/16/regions/ea4.html Regions - IIAS Newsletter Online ] ]

Notes

References

* Kaibara, Ekiken and Shingoro Takaishi. (1905). "Women and the Wisdom of Japan" (Basil Hall Chamberlain, translator). London: John Murray. [http://books.google.com/books?id=QZE-obdFjGwC&dq=kaibara+ekiken ...Click link for digitized, full-text copy of this book]
** Cranmer-Byng, L. and S.A. Kapadia, eds. (1914). "Women and the Wisdom of Japan". London: John Murray. [http://www.archive.org/details/wayofcontentment00kaibrich ...Click link for digitized, full-text copy of this book]
* Ko, Dorothy, JaHyun Kim Haboush and Joan R. Piggott. (2003). "Women and Confucian Cultures in Premodern China, Korea, and Japan." Berekeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-23138-4
* Yonemoto, Marcia. (2003). "Mapping Early Modern Japan: Space, Place, and Culture in the Tokugawa Period (1603–1868)." Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-23269-0

External links

* East Asia Institute, University of Cambridge: [http://www.oriental.cam.ac.uk/jbib/edoint15.html Further reading/bibliography]
* National Archives of Japan, illustrated scrolls plus text by Kaibara Eiken:
** [http://jpimg.digital.archives.go.jp/kouseisai/category/emaki/yoshinoyama_e.html "Yoshinoyama syokeizu," guide to Mt. Yoshino, text by Eiken (circa 1714)]
** [http://jpimg.digital.archives.go.jp/kouseisai/category/emaki/itsukushima_e.html Itsukushima kakei," guide to Itsukushima, text by Eiken (circa 1720)]
** [http://jpimg.digital.archives.go.jp/kouseisai/category/emaki/tanngonokuni_e.html "Tanngo no kuni Amano hashidate no zu," guide to Ama-no-Hashidate, text by Eiken (circa 1726)]


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