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Performing the Great PeacePolitical Space and Open Secrets in Tokugawa Japan$
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Luke S. Roberts

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780824835132

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824835132.001.0001

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(p.167) 6 Histories
Performing the Great Peace

Luke S. Roberts

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter reflects on the relationship between historical narration and political order. It first analyzes a number of histories created in the Tokugawa period and relates their narration to the politics of omote and uchi. It shows that the accuracy of information in most of the Tokugawa histories is the accuracy of recording various omote truths rather than the truth as we moderns would regard it. There is much overlap with modern truth, but certain types of facts are likely to be what we today would call fiction. This was due not to a lack of skill of the historians of those days but rather to their different goals in writing history. The chapter also studies the rapid changes made in historical narration in Japan during the Meiji Restoration and reveals how some aspects of the language of modern history writing were adapted from imperial omote history of premodern times.

Keywords:   political order, Tokugawa period, omote, uchi, history writing, Meiji Restoration

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