Item ID: 8029 Nisshinkan dojikun [Nisshinkan School Injunctions]. Katanobu MATSUDAIRA.
Nisshinkan dojikun [Nisshinkan School Injunctions].

Confucian Education in Japan

Nisshinkan dojikun [Nisshinkan School Injunctions].

66; 45 folding leaves. Two vols. Large 8vo, orig. pale blue wrappers, orig. block-printed title labels on upper covers, new stitching. [Aizu Fiefdom]: Preface & Afterword dated 1803.

First edition and very rare; WorldCat lists only one copy, at Harvard. Matsudaira (1744-1805), fifth in the daimyo line of the Aizu domain (now in parts of the Fukushima and Niigata Prefectures), was imbued with Neo-Confucian idealism.

The Aizu domain “used this text as a primer [consisting of 53 injunctions] in ethics and etiquette at its official domain school the Nisshinkan…to prepare boys for future careers serving Aizu as samurai-administrators. Enrollment at the Nisshinkan, founded in 1801, remained constant at about 1000 students until Aizu’s defeat and liquidation by Satsuma and Choshu in 1868 during the Boshin Restoration wars. Samurai boys aged ten to fifteen read this textbook in class. The domain also distributed a copy to all samurai households in Aizu, so girls as well received instruction in Katanobu’s Injunctions…

“Katanobu grounded his primer in maxims taken from the Chinese Confucian classics, for which he supplied illustrative examples in Japanese history and contemporary society that Aizu schoolboys could easily grasp. In general, he quoted the Chinese maxims verbatim after transcribing or paraphrasing these into Japanese for each injunction. Perhaps he did this to give pupils a taste for the intensive education in classical Chinese they would later undergo, or perhaps to exploit the authoritative ethical backing that high antiquity provided for the points he wished to convey…

“Katanobu conveys a wealth of fascinating information about Aizu domain and Tokugawa society for students of history…

“Pupils read stories about persons in a wide range of occupations beyond their own samurai class…All meet with lavish praise for overcoming deprivations and disabilities to carry out the Confucian Way, or with harsh condemnation for transgressing it.”–from Dr. Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi’s “Introduction” to his wonderful translation of the Nisshinkan dojikun, part of the University of California, Berkeley’s Japanese Historical Text Initiative (accessed online 27 January 2022).

The Foreword is by the Edo bakufu leader who led its Kansei Reforms (1787-93), Sadanobu Matsudaira (1758-1829). The Afterword is by a Kumamoto Confucian scholar, Sekiyo Furuya.

Fine copies. The bindings are a little wormed and tired.

Price: $3,500.00

Item ID: 8029

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