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2 Ideological Construction and Books in Early Modern Japan—Political Sense, Cosmology, and World Views

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Chapter Summary

This chapter investigates the formation of the Japanese worldview in the early modern period. Needless to say, ideas about the world and the cosmos are part of the mental process through which individuals construct their own identity within a certain social context. The chapter focuses on the early modern formative process, from the elite to the masses. The role books played in this process cannot be underestimated. The seventeenth century saw the emergence and growth of commercial publishing. The chapter focuses on writings by two individuals of the seventeenth century: Kawachiya Kashō and Andō Shōeki, and presents their biographical details and intellectual background. It demonstrates in what way books, notably military and cosmological works, helped to shape the worldview and social identity of the early modern Japanese. Commoners' diaries or even festival floats, however, may be equally instructive in this respect, but these are for further research.

Keywords: Andō Shōeki; cosmological works; Japanese worldview; Kawachiya Kashō; military books



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