Meiji Japan Analysis

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During the era of Meiji Japan, Japan opened its doors and became influenced by societies like Europe. In Sanshirō: a Novel by Natsume Sōseki, Japan became influenced by Europe’s ideas of individuality and humanism. The people in Meiji Japan believed and accepted to a great extend the European narrative of the Enlightenment of humanism, people being seen as a human who determine their own destiny, individuality, which meant people do what is in their self-interest, people were logical and rational to do things that benefited them, and innovation of new technology and ideas.
As Professor Eacott discussed in the lecture on October nineteenth, creation and 6 innovation can be done in other ways more than education. However, the history and narrative
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While Sanshirō and Nonomiya were on a walk Nonomiya noticed the beautiful sky, and thinks about telling his friend who is a painter. Additionally, they are surrounded by many stores indicating the merchants and market economy. (Sōseki, 26-7)
Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote The Social Contract in which he questioned the power of a
King and how a King had no power without the people. The philosopher Rousseau challenged the hierarchy and focused on the social order in which every individual has power and rights as a human being. Human beings create a commitment to themselves and as an individual care about his or her own self-interest. (Rousseau, 1-10) As Rousseau explained people are “born free; their liberty belongs to them, and no-one else has the right to dispose of it” (Rousseau, 4).
As mentioned previously, the social order included intellectuals. Sanshirō read a note scribbled in the book he was reading at the library which said the philosopher Hegel taught the universal truth, in which, if you put your heart into it, as an individual you learn the truth and are able to choose your own future and destiny (Sōseki, 37-8). After reading that Sanshirō said he felt to have been enlightened (Sōseki,
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Hirota spent his time comparing Japan to the West and Yojirō felt as if Hirota made no name for himself in the real world and was indeed in darkness himself. (Sōseki, 62-3). By trying to get Professor Hirota hired by the University as a Japanese professor even without Hirota aware of what Yojirō was trying to do, Yojirō felt that Hirota would be out of the darkness by teaching what he knew (Sōseki, 111). Yojirō knew what a genius Hirota was and he wanted him to get out and teach all the knowledge he knew.
Contrary to Yojirō’s believe that Professor Hirota was in the darkness, Hirota believed that “when society changed, hypocrisy stopped working, as a result of which we started importing self-centeredness into thought and action, and egoism become enormously overdeveloped” (Sōseki, 131). Hirota seemed to believe the Japanese had started to turn their self-interest into egoism. This kept Japan from prospering because Japan had begun to follow the same footsteps as Europeans who were the “enlightened” ones. However, as Professor Eacott pointed out in lecture, Europeans believed they were bringing light to people living in “darkness” but the truth was the Europeans themselves were very dark

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