Japan in the Aftermath of World War IIa book that I enjoyed immensely, and I wasn't disappointed in this earlier collection of essays. The essays are well written and though they cover a period in time from the Meiji era to the early 's most of them are anchored around the 's to the 's. Dower is eclectic in his choice of subjects, everything from wartime anti-regime graffiti as collated by the Japanese security services to reflections on prime minister Yoshida who oversaw the last years of the American occupation to the return of a good deal of sovereignty to the Japanese.
History of Science in Non-Western Traditions: Bartholomew Introduction One of the first issues that quickly engages the attention of anyone aspiring to understand the history of modern science in Japan is when to date the beginning of the subject.
In the strictest sense, we can say that modern Japanese science develops only as professional science, mostly according to the forms which first appeared in Germany and France, though with important influences from Britain and the United States. But even if these developments are to be dated from the Perry expeditions ofmodern science had an extensive pre-history in Japan tracing back to the earliest contacts with Europe in the late sixteenth century and especially to commercial exchanges with the Netherlands from the mid-seventeenth.
Beyond that, there is the question of natural knowledge indigenous to East Asia and its importance for the development of modern science. Mostly through contacts with China and Korea extending over many centuries, the Japanese had considerable expertise in medicine, metallurgy, astronomy, architecture, ceramic technology and mathematics before they began dealing with Europe.
During the Tokugawa period knowledge imported from Europe was introduced to these existing learned specialties, and generally coexisted amicably with them. The subject matter encompassed by the domains of physics and chemistry was viewed with suspicion by the Tokugawa Shogunate, and government authorities almost never allowed access to European writings in the physical sciences without restrictions.
Medicine was generally much freer and thus developed an extensive clientele base outside official circles. But even medicine could occasionally run afoul of prejudice, suspicion, and even outright antagonism. The so-called Bansha Circle incident of was one such occasion.
Several people were disgraced, driven to suicide, or otherwise punished for their interest in European medicine due to the jealousy and resentment of a well placed official. But this episode was actually atypical of official views, and medicine generally flourished during this period of relative isolation from Europe.
After the change of regime in Meiji Restorationthere began a wholesale effort to establish modern science in Japan with respect to infrastructure, recruitment and training of scientists, introduction of important research specialties, preparation of textbooks, founding of journals, and everything else associated with the enterprise of professional science.
One can identify various issues associated with these efforts: What sort of people could be attracted to science? How should they be trained? What foreign models were appropriate to Japanese needs in the spectrum of scientific institutions? How many resources should be allocated to particular fields of study?
Where should Japanese study abroad? Only, perhaps, in the case of recruitment into science were these questions free of contentious debate; and much of the history of science in the Meiji period up to World War I especially is defined by the ebb and flow of controversy over these and related issues.
This is because Japan, unlike Europe and also unlike China, did not have an officially endorsed culture or philosophy to whose integrity science was seen as presenting a fundamental challenge. Buddhism, though widespread among the general population and most of the elite, was either irrelevant or indifferent to most of the questions linked to science in other countries.
Shinto presented no elaborate philosophical edifice for science to attack, while important spokesmen for Confucianism found science to be both compatible with their own rationalistic outlook and generally acceptable on most other grounds.
There were some exceptions: Buddhism and science remains a rarely explored but potentially important topic in the historical literature. If so, this remains hard to prove and nearly impossible to document. World War II and the events leading up to it pose issues of morality and science and the conduct of researchers operating under the auspices of an autocratic, militaristic regime.Selected essays; about peace settlements of world; 11, read japan in the state,.
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