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Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies
ISSN 0577-9170; DOI 10.6503/THJCS


The Explanation of Inoue Tetsujiro about Loyalty an d Filial Piety in His Chokugoengi

Vol. 33 No. 2   3/2003


The Explanation of Inoue Tetsujiro about Loyalty and Filial Piety in His Chokugoengi


Wei-fen Chen









Key words

Modern Japan, Inoue Tetsujiro, “The Imperial Rescript on Education”, Chokugoengi, zhongxiao


   Modern Japan (1868-1945)─particularly during the late imperial period(1882-1945)─saw a proliferation of explications of“loyalty and filial piety”. The Meiji government dreaded the specter of uncontrolled democracy coming along with over-Westernization. In order to reconsolidate the imperial power, the government issued “The Imperial Rescript on Education” (1890) and instituted a score of educational reforms to cultivate among its subjects the senses of equating filial piety with loyalty to the emperor, and of identifying filial piety with loyalty to the country. Of the over two thousand commentaries on “The Imperial Rescript on Education”, Inoue Tetsujiro’s Chokugouengi was the most influential one. He interpreted the idea of 克忠克孝 in the “Rescript” by the family/state paradigm, and Japan was conceptualized as a political/gamilial entity constituted in consanguinity. Moral and ethical efforts were to strive for the good of the country which an extension of the family with the Tenno (emperor) was being its patriarch. This paper conducts a comparison of the Chinese ideas of loyalty and filial piety (zhongxiao) and Inoue Tetsujiro’s doctrine that speaks of “loyalty and filial piety as one” (chū kū ichihon). It also explores the impact of the Japanese family/state and patriarch/Tenno ideologies in the interpretation of the classics.



Author: Wei-fen Chen
Genre: Article
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