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Geographies of Identity in Nineteenth-Century Japan$
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David Howell

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780520240858

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520240858.001.0001

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Civilization and Enlightenment

Civilization and Enlightenment

(p.154) Chapter 7 Civilization and Enlightenment
Geographies of Identity in Nineteenth-Century Japan

David L. Howell

University of California Press

This chapter explores the way Tokugawa notions of civilization and barbarism were translated into a new idiom in the years immediately following the Meiji Restoration. There is a tendency to see civilization and enlightenment discourse as a stark departure from the ideas and institutions of the Tokugawa period. Three critical differences distinguished the early modern (ka versus i) and modern (bunmei versus yaban) conceptions of civilization and barbarism. The introduction of Meiji standards of civilization and enlightenment entailed a synchronous process of expanding the notion of civilization so that it gradually penetrated into the core of everyday life, while linking barbarism to the urban poor and others whose livelihoods were marked as unsettled. The locus of agency was a central feature of the transformation of civilization across the divide of the Meiji Restoration.

Keywords:   civilization, barbarism, Tokugawa, Meiji Restoration, enlightenment

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