Robert N. Bellah's classic study, Tokugawa Religion does for Japan what Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism did for the West. One of the foremost authorities on Japanese history and culture, Bellah explains how religion in the Tokugawa period (160-1868) established the foundation for Japan's modern industrial economy and dispels two misconceptionRobert N. Bellah's classic study, Tokugawa Religion does for Japan what Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism did for the West. One of the foremost authorities on Japanese history and culture, Bellah explains how religion in the Tokugawa period (160-1868) established the foundation for Japan's modern industrial economy and dispels two misconceptions about Japanese modernization: that it began with Admiral Perry's arrival in 1868, and that it rapidly developed because of the superb Japanese ability for imitation. In this revealing work, Bellah shows how the native doctrines of Buddhism, Confucianism and Shinto encouraged forms of logic and understanding necessary for economic development. Japan's current status as an economic superpower and industrial model for many in the West makes this groundbreaking volume even more important today than when it was first published in 1957. With a new introduction by the author....
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Tokugawa Religion Reviews
I was so impressed with Robert Bellah’s book of essays about Japan and Japanese culture, Imagining Japan, that I tracked down his earliest book, Tokugawa Religion (1958). Again he has some interesting things to say about the Japanese and their culture. For example:It is the particular system or collectivity of which one is a member, which counts, whether it be family, han, or Japan as a whole. Commitment to these tends to take precedence over universalistic commitments, such as commitment to truth or justice.Bellah makes the claim that the religion of the Tokugawa period influenced Japan in the Meiji period to undergo modernization in a manner that reflects the Protestant work ethic that was influential in the modernization of the west as expounded by Max Weber. It seems as a sociologist Bellah is something of a disciple of Weber, which is also evident in Habits of the Heart. He sees the “shinsu” religion as the closest to Western Protestantism and its ethic most similar to the Protestant ethic. Religion is seen as means of maintaining and intensifying central values, supplying motivation, and reinforcing asceticism and diligence and economy. He also points out that if religion gets credit for modernity, it also deserves the blame for imperialism that resulted in WWII.He also states that Japan didn’t have to go through the slow process of accumulation like the west in order to modernize. The capital required was too great, thus government controlled modernization due to lack of capital in the private sector. (He cites Kemalist Turkey as an example of this model) He also states that modernization should first be seen in political terms and not only in economic development. It is political because it was concerned with the increase of power and wealth as a means. This is seen in the “zaibutsu” economy, which was dependent on government for support. There was also a desire to restore the emperor and increase national power.
This book grew out of Professor Bellah's own dissertation in the 60s, so the readers should read with that information in mind. As you would expect from someone who did a Ph.D. at Harvard and also the first of its kind to sort of do a DOUBLE DEGREE by combining East Asia Studies with Sociology, this book is packed with well-researched information of Tokugawa Japan. If you a sociologist, though, you may not agree with all the theoretical assumption he made. But then, again, it was the sign of time. Don't be upset when you read something that you don't agree. Even Professor Bellah himself sort of changed his mind years later in his Foreword for later editions! Despite the changes in recent sociological theories, this book serves as a solid foundation for researchers of subsequent eras to build upon, agreeing with it or otherwise.
One of those books that gathered dust on my shelves for years, now available on kindle...
This book is very good. Gives you what you want and is well researched
I registered a book at BookCrossing.com!http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/13453118
I NEED THIS BOOK FOR A CONCEPT IN MY THESIS