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Posted on August 20th, 2012, by

The Tokugawa shogunate played significant role in the common sense teaching of children in the period of from 1600 till 1700 years. At this period the whole social structural life in Japan undertaken serious changes and seriously influenced the system of education of boys and girls in Japan of that period. The schools of military skills were opened and some samurais’ found themselves in teaching boys from noble families military arts and specific samurai code ”˜Busido’. The reason samurai families were using education during this period was not only because they wanted to ensure their social position but to promote their knowledge through systematized learning of literature: “Initially, the fief lords (daimyo), in order to further their own personal cultivation and, in turn, to maintain control of their fief governments, summoned Confucian scholars and military specialists (heigakusha) to conduct lectures which their chief vassals were required to attend.

The fief lords also encouraged learning for the lesser vassals and urged the cultivation of literary accomplishments along with the practice of martial arts. Learning during this period, being based upon Shogunal policy, was thoroughly imbued with Confucian thought. Samurai families originally availed themselves of the services of priests in Buddhist temples for their education. But by the Edo period, this class began to employ Confucian scholars to act as preceptors in fief schools they founded in the castle towns. During the early days of the Edo period, only a few fiefs had established fief schools but from about the middle of this period onward the spread of such institutions increased rapidly, culminating in a total of some 270 schools at the end of the period The original institution was the training center of the Confucian temple (koshibyo) which had been established on a site at Ueno in Edo by a Confucian scholar of the Chu Hsi school, Hayashi Razan (1583-1657), under the auspices of the Shogunal government. Later this was relocated at Yushima, where an Athenaeum was constructed known as the Yushima Temple. This school started first as a semiprivate, semi-governmental organization under the protection of the Shogunate. It was not long, however before the government recognized the necessity of direct control over these educational facilities and in 1797 the school was brought under the immediate supervision of the central authorities” (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan, 2009)

 It will be very important to note that at the given period any kind of education was essential for samurai only.  Samurai families at this period concentrated their attention on boy's education mainly. “The most popular, and for nearly two centuries after its publication it was looked upon throughout the country as one of the indispensable articles of a bride's trousseau box. The general trend of his doctrine, however, was by no means a new one; there had already been a few similar essay's written by typical Samurai moralists dealing with the same subject, though they were of the casual and fragmentary nature. Hence, in other words, he guided the masses who had but a vague comprehension of female morality in the direction towards which they wished to be led, and gave them an infallible belief in the truth of his teaching. At the same time it will be well understood that the great demand for his book was due, apart from its own intrinsic merit, to the fact that in those early days there was a ridiculously small number of popular books accessible to the reader, especially for women” (Cranmer-Byng, 1909). It shows how the Japanese at this period treated education for women. The Japanese culture at this period supposed male domination that is probably the main reason for such an assessment between male and female. According to the peculiarities of the Japanese culture also influenced a lot the common sense of teaching children. For a boy, future warrior and samurai, it will be essential to be well educated as he will devote his life to shogun. Women visited educational establishments very seldom and were mainly taught at home. They were actually prepared to her role of wife and mother. Women did not actually play significant role in the social structure in Japan at that period. They were living their inner and unnoticeable life. Historians actually considered that female rights in Old times Japan were seriously violates as they were discharged from playing an active role within the cultural, social and economic life of Japan.
In the end I would like to note that concept of teaching in the Old times Japan dating back to the period of Tokugawa Shogunate was very specific one. It has male concentration as the whole life was concentrated around men in Japan at that time. It was a serious task of teaching boys that is why they were prepared for serving their shogun in special schools of military arts. According to the data given by the travelers visiting Japan at that time, the peculiarities, methods and common sense of the teaching at this period in Japan differed from European a lot (Alfred Andrea, 2007)

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