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Darwin, Dharma, and the DivineEvolutionary Theory and Religion in Modern Japan$
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G. Clinton Godart

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780824858513

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824858513.001.0001

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Evolution, Individuals, and the Kokutai

Evolution, Individuals, and the Kokutai

(p.43) Chapter Two Evolution, Individuals, and the Kokutai
Darwin, Dharma, and the Divine

G. Clinton Godart

University of Hawai'i Press

The Meiji period saw the development of political tensions between evolutionary theory and the emerging kokutai ideology of the Japanese state. Kokutai ideology emerged as an unstable hybrid of mainly Shintō, but also Confucianism, Bushidō, and other religious and semi-religious elements. Important ideological thinkers began to reject elements of evolutionary theory, finding the “struggle for survival,” materialism, and individualism in tension with kokutai ideology and its emphasis on harmony, obedience, and spirit. Herbert Spencer’s influence waned and his thought was criticized.

Keywords:   state ideology, Meiji period, Kato Hiroyuki, Herbert Spencer, Shinto, Shinto and evolution, ethics, Nishimura Shigeki, Inoue Tetsujiro, Nakajima Rikizo

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