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Yamaji Aizan’s Early Life

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses Yamaji Aizan's early arguments on Confucian morals, Christianity and state-centred education. Yamaji attempted to defend the freedom of religion and was strenuously opposed the view of education advocated by state-centred nationalists likes Inoue Tetsujirō. Yamaji Aizan questions the soundness of Confucian morals because in his early years he experienced his father's tyranny. His view of Confucian morals is reflected in his view of education and the state, and formed the basis of his liberal thought. In the first decades after the Meiji Restoration, young Japanese of the new generation faced a conflict concerning moral values, as exemplified by the fact that the young Yamaji Aizan was familiar with both Confucian morals and Christianity. While defending Uchimura Kanzō, Yamaji criticized 'narrowminded and cowardly' educators who sought their own interests in the name of the Imperial Household.

Keywords: Christianity; confucian morals; imperial household; Meiji restoration; state-centred education; Uchimura Kanzō; Yamaji Aizan



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