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The Aesthetics of StrangenessEccentricity and Madness in Early Modern Japan$
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W. Puck Brecher

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824836665

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824836665.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HAWAII SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hawaii.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hawaii University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use.date: 17 October 2021

Strange Thoughts

Strange Thoughts

A Confluence of Intellectual Heterodoxies

(p.93) Chapter 4 Strange Thoughts
The Aesthetics of Strangeness

W. Puck Brecher

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter further contextualizes aesthetic eccentricity through a discussion of intellectual eccentricity, a parallel phenomenon that crystallized in the eighteenth century. After problematizing Zhu Xi Neo-Confucianism as a true orthodoxy in the Tokugawa period, it introduces Confucianism's “mad” side—its doctrinal defense of kyō. It then revisits the Daoist roots of the ki aesthetic via its synergy with the Wang Yangming School (Yōmeigaku or Ōyōmeigaku) and National Learning (Kokugaku). Each of these traditions proved useful to eccentric thinkers like Hattori Somon (1724–1769) and Shidōken (1680?–1765), whose respective heresies advanced new ontological interpretations. The propagation of such thinkers suggests that a diverse and dynamic intellectual culture was becoming increasingly tolerant of strange people with strange thoughts. It was within this milieu that kijin maneuvered to find their place.

Keywords:   aesthetic eccentricity, intellectual eccentricity, Confucianism, Wang Yangming School, National Learning, intellectual culture, Daoism

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