Синтез восточных и западных географических представлений в трактате «Нихон суйдо ко:» Нисикава Дзёкэн (1648 – 1720)
During the Edo period (1603 – 1867) Japanese thinkers adopt some elements of European geographical thought. The newly created view of the world included both traditional and Western scientific knowledge. The treatise “Nihon Suido Ko:” by Nishikawa Joken (1648 – 1724) is one of the earliest examples of such kind of synthesis. The work was important not only for the development of geographical thought, but also for self-presentation of the Japanese people, as the synthesis of different source of knowledge was aimed to determine the position of Japan in the world.
The article describes the view of the Western countries in Japan during the Edo period (1603 – 1867). The basic source of the research is the treatise «Zo:ho: Kai Tsu:sho: Ko:» by Nishikawa Joken (1648 – 1724), which has been relatively rarely used by researchers despite its value. The author aimed to give a rational decription of the West, although in fact it approached almost grotesque. Still one should aknowledge that during the age of seclusion the Japanese were rather well informed about the external world. The main source of information were the Dutch living in Nagasaki.
During the XVIth century Japan acquires Western geographical knowledge for the first time. The adaptation went on comparatively fast, and thinkers of the Edo period (1603 - 1867) started to offer their own view of the world. Unevitably different systems of knowledge were mixed, and also Japan was compared to China, India and Europe. As a result the idea of Japan's supremacy was supported in a new way. Nishikawa offered one of the most original explanations, which is compared to of the other thinkers'.
The article concerns the perception of China in Japan in Nishikawa Joken’s (1648-1724) treatise «Zoho kai tsu:sho: ko». Purpose. I aimed to reconstruct the perception of China in the source mentioned above, and to assume whether in was representative for the middle of the Edo period (1603-1867) on the whole or not. Results. Nishikawa Joken’s treatise can be considered a representative source on the topic, due to the fact that it was adjusted and republished during the Edo period several times and even parodies appeared based on this treatise. Further, the author disposed quite detailed information about the neighboring country. The description included a preface with general remarks and an afterword discussing traditions and cults of Chinese sailors arriving at Nagasaki. Every Chinese province was described in a separate chapter, composed according to a pattern, that changed little throughout the text. The pattern included the historical past of the province, its geographic position, its climate, cultural and dialectical peculiarities, local production and trade routes, and famous places that can be found within the province. Textual description was adjusted by a map and several pictures of Qing and Ming courtiers and Chinese ships. China was the only foreign country in the treatise in connection to which particular persons were mentioned: for example, Confucius, the warlord and merchant Zheng Chenggong (1624 - 1662, also known as Koxinga among the Europeans), and the philosopher Zhou Donyi (1017 - 1073). In Koxinga’s case, there is even a short biography present. Also, China is the only country for which Nishikawa definitely divides its historic past from its present. He mentions that since the Manchurian conquer, customs have changed for the worse and all Chinese nowadays look like barbarians. Nishikawa knows Nanjing much better than other provinces, as its description is the most extensive, and he obviously prefers it to other parts of China. The description is rather Japanised: Joken adapts the pronunciation of Chinese place-names to Japanese phonetics. He also uses Japan as the anchor to explain the difference between Chinese provinces. Conclusion. The description of China in Nishikawa Joken’s treatise demonstrates detailed knowledge of the country, at the same time Joken’s approach has nothing in common with sinocentricity; the center for him is rather Japan. This view of China can be considered representative for this period on the whole.
The Enlightenment is inextricably connected to the conception of terrestrial space, through the medium of actual and imaginary travels. The eighteenth century witnessed several scientific expeditions, and these gave birth to a new field of knowledge, ethnography. Alien lands and the people living on them became the subject of reflection for some of the leading philosophes, Leibnitz, Montesquieu, Voltaire, Diderot, and Rousseau. Journeys to other states became an element in the education of noble youth. Investigating the historical and geographic problematic of the Enlightenment enables scholars to draw a picture of the representations of physical space made by Europeans of that era as well as to understand more precisely the basic world view underlying colonial expansion. Research of this sort tends to be more productive when carried out at the intersection of various disciplines, and this book is one venue for gathering historians (including historians of culture), geographers, philologists, and art historians together in a single volume. This substantial tome is both international and interdisciplinary, subsidized by two French organizationsdthe Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) and the Fondation Maison des sciences des l'homme (FMSH). Of the nineteen substantive essays, four are in French, one in English, and the rest in Russian. Two essays written by non-Russian scholars appear in Russian. However, the book's international appeal is enhanced by the fact that almost all the Russian-language essays are accompanied by a summary (generally in French) whilst the other essays have Russian summaries. Most of the contributors are Russian; others are French, German, Japanese, Maltese, and Brazilian.