Episode Three: Everyday Confucianism: Confucian Influences on Social Interaction in Heian and Kamakura Japan

One does not often consider the social norms that influence her actions on a daily basis. These norms come from an even less regarded underlying ideology that shape how one views things like her relationship with her parents, elderly people, lust, desire and how one behaves based on her gender. In this episode, we take a closer look at the ideology that shapes how people interact with and view the world around them, not in our own time and place, but in Heian and Kamakura Japan. In particular, we examine how Confucian ideology, imported from China, impacted both the behavior and understandings of social norms for individuals during these periods in Japanese history.

Henry Hawkins, Jacob Cooper, Maddy Coleman, Madison Rice, and Will Vineyard discuss the significant relationship between Confucian ideology and how people in Heian and Kamakura Japan treated elderly people, acted towards their parents, indulged in or avoided lust and desire, and looked at women and women’s’ roles in society. Using stories written during these two time periods along with the Confucian Analects we establish this relationship between Confucianism and Heian and Kamakura Japan.


Group Contributors:

  • Henry Hawkins: Collector of primary and secondary sources. Script editor. Podcast structural organizer. Editor of audio. Speaker on the introduction of Confucianism into Japan and on the presence of filial piety in tales written during the Kamakura period.
  • Jacob Cooper: Primer source compiler. Script editor. Head of legal counsel. Speaker on the presence of Confucian influences on elder respect in Heian Japan and Confucian influences on conceptions of lust during the Heian period.
  • Maddy Coleman: Script Editor. Speaker on the presence of Confucian ideology in Japanese tales concerning lust.
  • Will Vineyard: Expert on and researcher of Yokai. Script editor. Speaker on the subdued role of woman in Heian, Kamakura, and Muromachi Japan caused, in part, by Confucianism.
  • Madison Rice: Script editor. Podcast host.


Work Cited

Picture: http://www.womenofchina.cn/

Music: Canary Productions

Ruch, Barbara. “The Other Side of Culture in Medieval Japan” in Vol.3 of The Cambridge History of Japan edited by John W. Hall, Marius B. Jansen, Madoka Kanai, and Denis Twitchett, 500-543. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Confucius. The Analects of Confucius. Translated by Simon Leys New York: W.W. Norton, 1997.

Hane, Mikiso. Premodern Japan: a Historical Survey. Boulder: Westview Press, 1991.

Hsü, Leonard Shih-lien. The Political Philosophy of Confucianism; anInterpretation of the Social and Political Ideas of Confucius, his Forerunners, and his Early Disciples. New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., 1932.

Mason, R. H. P., and J. G. Caiger. A History of Japan. New York: Tuttle Publishing, 1997.

Shively, Donald H. and William H. McCullough, “Introduction” in Vol. 2 of The Cambridge History of Japan edited by Donald H. Shively and William H. McCullough, 1-19. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

Tyler, Royall. Japanese tales. New York: Pantheon Books, 1987.


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