Buddhism, Print, and the Culture of Intellectual Conflict in Early Modern Japan (1600 to 1868)


The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Dissertation Fellowships in Buddhist Studies


Buddhist Studies


This project redresses the common perception that Tokugawa Buddhism was either intellectually stagnant, or only narrowly characterized by advances in sectarian scholarship. Instead, I argue that the shared discursive horizons facilitated by print brought together Buddhist and non-Buddhist intellectuals in public scholarly discourse and debate, allowing Buddhist scholar-monks to engage in concerns central to the intellectual life of Tokugawa period Japan. I do so by providing an overview of the socio-economic contexts of the commercial publication of Buddhist books, before moving on to three case studies, each focused on debates between Buddhists and thinkers of new intellectual groups that emerged during this time; bakufu endorsed Confucianism, kokugaku, and merchant scholarship.