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Making a Moral SocietyEthics and the State in Meiji Japan$
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Richard M Reitan

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780824832940

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824832940.001.0001

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The Ethics of Humanism and Moral Particularism in Twentieth-Century Japan

(p.153) Epilogue
Making a Moral Society

Richard M Reitan

University of Hawai'i Press

This epilogue situates the book's findings in a longer stream of history by outlining some of the conceptual linkages between the Meiji and later periods. It first considers the emergence of a conceptual vocabulary, a constellation of semantically variable terms and ideas such as kokumin, minzoku, the morality of self-negation, and dangerous thought by late Meiji that prefigured many of the most pressing concerns of interwar and wartime moral discourse. It then summarizes the major questions raised and arguments made concerning rinrigaku and “the universal” in Meiji Japan before discussing the ethics of humanism and moral particularism in contemporary Japan. In particular, it examines the emergence of a new discourse on national morality by turning to social critic Nishibe Susumu's work, National Morality (Kokumin no dōtoku), and his desire to resuscitate the “moral spirit” common to all Japanese.

Keywords:   dangerous thought, universal, rinrigaku, ethics, humanism, moral particularism, Japan, national morality, Nishibe Susumu, moral spirit

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