ABSTRACT

The Meiji restoration of 1868 caused a profound change, as is well known, in Japanese society. The modern period has seen a rich interaction between Japanese thought and Western ideas. We shall be dealing with that interplay in a later chapter. In this chapter we are chiefly concerned with patterns of Japanese philosophy and religious ideas during earlier centuries. Japanese civilization was formed not just of native ingredients, such as the religious tradition that has gelled into Shinto; but also of imported elements, especially from Korea and China. Japan was in the orbit of Chinese culture, yet always independent. It therefore absorbed much from its ‘central’ neighbor, but also developed some new patterns of value, extending some of the lines in the traditions of Buddhism and Confucianism in particular.