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Hommes, James Mitchell (2006) THE BANSHO SHIRABESHO: A TRANSITIONAL INSTITUTION IN BAKUMATSU JAPAN. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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In the Bakumatsu period (1853-1868), Japan experienced many changes and challenges. One of these challenges was regarding how to learn from the West and how to use that knowledge in the building of Japan. One of the most important institutions for such Western learning was the Bansho Shirabesho, an institution created by the Tokugawa government in 1856 to translate Western materials, provide a school for Japanese scholars, and to censor the translations of Western works. This institution eventually gave language instruction in Dutch, English, French, German, and Russian and it also gave instruction in many other practical subjects such as military science and production. This thesis examines in detail how the Shirabesho was founded, what some of the initial difficulties were and how successful it was in accomplishing the tasks it was given. It also assesses the legacy of the Shirabesho in helping to bridge the transition between the Tokugawa period's emphasis on feudal rank and the Meiji's emphasis on merit. The legacy of various scholars at the Shirabesho, including Katsu Kaishu, Katõ Hiroyuki, Nishi Amane and Tsuda Mamichi is also addressed. Finally, the thesis summarizes the evolution of the Shirabesho during the tumultuous early Meiji Period into the University of Tokyo by 1877. In addition to the thesis, in the appendix there is a full translation of a previously untranslated speech delivered by Katõ Hiroyuki in 1909 concerning the Bansho Shirabesho.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Hommes, James
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairSmethurst,
Committee MemberMills, David Odom@pitt.eduDOM
Committee MemberRimer, J. Thomastomrimer@pitt.eduTOMRIMER
Date: 10 July 2006
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 8 December 2004
Approval Date: 10 July 2006
Submission Date: 8 December 2004
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > East Asian Studies
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: education; rangaku; Tokugawa; yogaku; Bakumatsu; bansho shirabesho
Other ID:, etd-12082004-214034
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:09
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:53


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