Creating Nationalism: Confucian Legacies



This book argues that a distinct form of nationalism is present in Japan that is related to Confucianism. A nation is a created sense of belonging; its expression in nationalism originates from a shared sense of common identity that emerges from an established continuity with the past and the ritualized practices or expressions that instill the sense of belonging. Japan has a Confucian heritage, and this heritage is illustrated in the way in which Japanese people relate to their government and vice versa, through a construction of a collective identity based on Confucian understandings. Moreover, the concept of Confucian nationalism is not singular to Japan and is illustrated in other Asian states that have a Confucian heritage as well. The key questions that guide this chapter are: How did Confucianism nationalism emerge in Japan? What role or purpose did it serve? I begin by delineating Japan’s Confucian heritage and identifying its key components to establish a framework for comparison with other states. The dispersion of Confucian thought across Asia is presented along with Confucian influences that are distinct to Japan. Also, how the state deals with Confucian nationalism with reference to the key issue areas of the family, home, and education are presented in order to provide context for further examination of these policy areas in later chapters.


Civil Society Filial Piety Confucian Ethic Confucian Classic Confucian Learning 
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© Nicole L. Freiner 2012

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