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Like No OtherExceptionalism and Nativism in Early Modern Japan$
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Mark Thomas McNally

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780824852849

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824852849.001.0001

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From Exceptionalism to Nativism

From Exceptionalism to Nativism

Mitogaku and Nineteenth-Century Japan

(p.171) Chapter Five From Exceptionalism to Nativism
Like No Other

Mark Thomas McNally

University of Hawai'i Press

The association of Kokugaku with exceptionalism has been made indirectly, since the link between Kokugaku and Nihonjinron is strong within Japanese studies, and the one between Nihonjinron and exceptionalism is one Americanists have already made. Because the foundation of Tokugawa exceptionalism is firmly rooted with seventeenth-century Confucianism, it might be tempting to argue that Kokugaku represented a more mature stage in the development of exceptionalism, since it signified a turning away from Confucianism. The case of nineteenth-century Mitogaku, however, demonstrates that this was not the case; the influence of Confucianism on Tokugawa exceptionalism lingered until the very end of the Edo period. Mitogaku’s historiographical importance, however, emerges as a result of its linkages to sonnō-jō’i, connections that indicate that the intellectual trajectories of exceptionalism and nativism began to overlap after 1853. The example of Mitogaku demonstrates a paradigmatic association between the exceptionalism and nativism that was likely duplicated in other places, including the United States.

Keywords:   Japan, Mitogaku, Confucianism, Aizawa Seishisai, Tokugawa Nariaki, Fujita Yūkoku, Fujita Tōko, exceptionalism, nativism, Shinto

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