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명치초기 일본의 지식인운동 - 「明六社」의 사회계몽활동을 중심으로 : Enlightenment of the Society by the Early Meiji Intellectuals, the Meirokusha

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서울대학교 지역종합연구소
지역연구, Vol.02 No.1, pp. 25-40
For an emerging modern state of Japan, it was imperative and limitative to keep a independent country under the Western pressure, so-called unequal treaty system. There must have been an unanimous goal of Civilization and Enlightenment and Rich Nation and Strong Forces. In 1873(the 6th year of Meiji reign), famous experts on Western learning set up a forum, Meirokusha, in the hope of enlightening the tradition-bound Japanese society at that time.

This essay discusses the columns and articles on the social enlightenment (except political and economic matters) carried on the Meiroku Zasshi, the official journal of the Society. In this category, there are roughly three themes i.e, to apply to the social problems their understanding of the natural science of the West, to found the nation by reforming the unjust family system, and to protect, even make use of, the religion by clarifying the division between the religion and superstitution.

It is significant that the most of the writings tended to come into the goal of keeping the independent and strong country, which was coincided with the goal set by the government. For the notables of the enlightenment in Japan of the early 1870s, elite-consciousness was saturated while people was shown benighted. They were concerned, however, about the superficial phenomena rather than the fundamental structure that caused the West "advanced" and Japan "unenlightened". Circumstantial logics conditioned their attitudes.
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