Item description for Private Academies of Chinese Learning in Meiji Japan: The Decline and Transformation of the Kanguku Juku by Margaret Mehl...
The establishment of a national education system following the Meiji Restoration of 1868 is recognized as a significant factor in Japan's modernization; hence most research on education focuses on the state system, ignoring the crucial role of the juku, the private academies that featured so prominently in Tokugawa Japan and persevered after the Restoration. This comprehensive study of the decline and transformation of the juku not only contributes to a better understanding of education in the Meiji period but is also relevant to the reform of Japan's public education system today.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.76" Width: 5.72" Height: 0.84" Weight: 1.14 lbs.
Publisher Nordic Institute of Asian Studies
ISBN 8791114039 ISBN13 9788791114038
Availability 0 units.
More About Margaret Mehl
Mehl is Lecturer at the Scottish Center for Japanese Studies at the University of Stirling.
Reviews - What do customers think about Private Academies of Chinese Learning in Meiji Japan: The Decline and Transformation of the Kanguku Juku?
Quite Educational Oct 14, 2006
This book does a fine job overall of exploring a rather elusive historical phenomenon. After all, there were apparently a great number of these private kangaku academies spread throughout Japan, each somewhat uniquely different in character and largely local in influence and most rather ephemeral (closing with the death of the founder or soon after)--all those things that make generalizations difficult if not impossible and documentation scarce. Mining what numbers and statistics are available, gleaning the few first-hand accounts and primary sources for all they're worth, and doing some serious research into local histories, Mehl rises to the challenge and gives the reader a pretty good sense of what private kangaku academies were like and what their place was in Japanese educational history, especially in the late 1800's and early 1900's. She also strikes a very good balance between larger historical and theoretical issues (such as the problem of "invented traditions") and the kind of nitty-gritty detail (especially the interesting and illuminating case studies) for which I was hoping. The continuity--or lack thereof--with contemporary "cram schools" is also addressed in a balanced fashion.
The only real problems with the book are of a nitpicky nature: a plethora of eyesore typographical errors slipped by, and the titles of texts in Classical Chinese (many now a bit obscure) are left untranslated or else somewhat inconsistently transliterated. An appendix of these titles systematically listed in Chinese, Japanese, and English along with a brief description (and with kanji included) would have been helpful. Nevertheless if you are interested in this topic then this is the definitive book on the subject, and anyone interested in Meiji Japanese history, education history, or Confucianism should also find it useful and interesting.