Chapter

Doubly Cruel

Andrew E. Barshay

in The Social Sciences in Modern Japan

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780520236455
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520941335 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520236455.003.0003
Doubly Cruel

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Capitalism was never seen as a goal to be attained, nor was it a prescription ever offered as such by the intellectual agents of the West to Japan. Japan could vaunt of a dedicated bureaucracy with a fearsome esprit de corps, emergent heavy industry, and an empire. Overcoming backwardness, then, was the national project of Japan, enunciated in the Charter Oath, captured in the fukoku kyohei imperative, and realized, to the amazement and discomfort of the West, by late Meiji. The past returned, following the Westernizing caesura of “Civilization and Enlightment,” both to validate the present—modernity placed under the discipline of tradition—and to constrain the future. The institutional completion of the modern order had generated real social traumas and real comprehensions in Japan. For elites, as for masses, appeal to a rearticulated tradition was one response to the modern disorder.

Keywords: capitalism; bureaucracy; Meiji; fukoku kyohei; Charter Oath

Chapter.  8146 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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