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An Approach To History

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Chapter Summary

Yamaji Aizan's approach to the study of history, which was based on his belief in common humanity, was completely different from that of scholars like Inoue Tetsujirō, who searched for the Japanese national spirit of times past. This chapter first discusses the rise of the new 'scientific' kōshōgaku approach to history, which both Yamaji Aizan and Inoue Tetsujirō criticized as 'insipid' on the grounds that it did not make history interesting and meaningful to life. The chapter shows that the kōshōgaku tradition encountered criticism from scholars of the National Learning School and the Mito School because it denied moralistic and mythological histories while highly valuing the critical study of historical documents. Not only did he criticize the critical study of historical documents, but Yamaji Aizan also criticized the methodology of Chinese intellectual history adopted by scholars at the Imperial University.

Keywords: Chinese intellectual history; imperial university; Inoue Tetsujirō; Japanese national spirit; kōshōgaku tradition; Mito school; national learning school; Yamaji Aizan's approach



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