Tokushi Yoron

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The Tokushi Yoron (読史余論, A Reading of History) is an Edo period historical analysis of Japanese history written in 1712 by Arai Hakuseki (1657–1725). [1]


Differences from previous chronologies

Hakuseki's innovative effort to understand and explain the history of Japan differs significantly from previous chronologies which were created by other writers, such as

Hakuseki's work avoids such easy categorization, and yet, he would have resisted being labeled non-Shinto, non-Buddhist, or non-Confucianist in his life or work. His analytical approach to history differed from his predecessors in that the Tokushi Yoron identifies a process of transferring power across generations. Earlier Japanese histories were intended, in large part, to be construed as documenting how the past legitimizes the present status quo. [5]

Plagiarism from previous works

Tokushi Yoron is not without its problems. Hakuseki has been criticized for being overly casual in identifying the sources he used in writing. For example, he borrowed extensively from Hayashi Gahō's Nihon Ōdai Ichiran; but he felt no need to acknowledge this fact. [6] Nevertheless, the organizing schema of Tokushi Yoron presented the periodization of history on the basis of changes in political power; and this rational stance sets this work apart from its sources.

See also


  1. Brownlee, John S. (1991). Political Thought in Japanese Historical Writing: From Kojiki (712) to Tokushi Yoron (1712), p. 5.
  2. Brown, Delmer M. (1979). Gukanshō, pp. 1–14.
  3. Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki, pp. 7–9, 12–15.
  4. Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, pp. 406, 412; Yamashita, Samuel Hideo. (2001). "Yamasaki Ansai and Confucian School Relations, 1650–1651" in Early Modern Japan, pp. 3–18.
  5. Brownlee, John S. (1997) Japanese Historians and the National Myths, 1600–1945: The Age of the Gods and Emperor Jimmu, p. 45.
  6. Brownlee, Japanese Historians, p. 44.

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