Encounters with Dutch Jurisprudence at the Dawn of Modern Japan
Takeharu Okubo will examine the various kinds of Dutch jurisprudence that Nishi Amane (1829-1897) and Tsuda Mamichi (1829-1903) studied in Leiden and consider the question how the knowledge from the Netherlands contributed to state building and modernization in the second half of 19th century Japan.
Speaker: Takeharu Okubo
After the Meiji Restoration (1868), which was indirect caused by the Perry intrusion of 1853, when the United States warships forced Japan to negotiate a commercial treaty with the U.S., Japan adopted western jurisprudence, economics, and political science from Great Britain, France, Germany, and America. This immense body of knowledge was known as Yogaku (“Western Studies”). Since the 17th century (Edo Period), however, Japan had obtained knowledge of European science through the medium of the Dutch language. This branch of learning was known as Rangaku (“Dutch Studies”). As this tradition of Rangaku existed, it stands to reason that knowledge that was introduced from the Netherlands exerted some measure of influence during the early stages of Japan's modernization. I found that a thorough investigation of the things the Japanese learned from the Netherlands at the turning point from Rangaku to Yogaku is lacking. It is this lacuna that I have tried to fill with my research. In this presentation, I will shed light on the activities of Nishi Amane (1829-1897) and Tsuda Mamichi (1829-1903), who were sent to Leiden in the Netherlands to study western law and the political system from the Tokugawa bakufu. From 1863 till 1865 they were privately tutored by Simon Vissering (1818-1888), the professor at the Faculty of Law of Leiden University. I will examine the various kinds of Dutch jurisprudence that Nishi and Tsuda studied in Leiden and consider the question how the knowledge from the Netherlands contributed to state building and modernization in the second half of 19th century Japan.
Lunch is provided. Please register at firstname.lastname@example.org
Every third Wednesday of the month one of the IIAS researchers will present his/her work-in-progress in an informal setting to their colleagues and other interested attendees, followed by a lunch provided by IIAS. These lunch lectures are organized to give the research community the opportunity to freely discuss ongoing research and to exchange thoughts.
Reservation is not required, but space is limited.