Death in Edo: Hayashi Razan between Japan, China and Korea
Probably because of his close association with the Bakufu and his image as a sinologist, Hayashi Razan (1583-1657) has been a neglected if not reviled figure since the Meiji Restoration. He was an intellectual giant in his own time and he managed to ensure that his family and descendants would enjoy a privileged link with the Bakufu for more than two hundred years, but he never achieved the political influence he aspired to and suffered the loss of his brilliant eldest son. The Razan I will present in this lecture is not the boring and unoriginal Confucianist he is often described as, but a Razan who wrote as much in Japanese as in Chinese, who was interested in Shinto and the law as well as sinology, and who played a crucial role as a mediator of Chinese and Korean works to a Japanese audience. And his death had a symbolic significance that lasted for two centuries.
Peter Kornicki retired in 2014 as Professor of Japanese after 30 years at the University of Cambridge. Most of his work has been on the cultural history of Japan, but since 2005 he has also been working on Korea and Vietnam and in 2018 completed a major study of the impact of Chinese textual culture on East Asia. He was awarded the Japan Foundation Special Prize in 1992 and the Yamagata Banto Prize in 2013; he is an elected member of the British Academy, the Accademia Ambrosiana (Milan), and Academia Europaea. He was President of the European Association for Japanese Studies in 1997-2000. Currently he is editor in chief of the journal East Asian Publishing and Society. He continues his research and lecturing activities relating to Japan and East Asia.
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