Ogyu Sorai's Discourse on Government (Seidan): An Annotated Translation
Toward the end of his life, the Japanese Confucian thinker Ogyu Sorai (1666-1728) wrote a memorandum entitled Seidan, Political Discourse, about the political and economic situation in Japan, probably at the request of the authorities and possibly the shogun, Yoshimune, himself. It is an extensive treatise which touches practically all fields of life around 1725-1727 and it is therefore a goldmine for anyone who wishes to acquaint himself with Japanese history in mid-Tokugawa times. The work was written in secrecy and it was therefore not known even by his students. It began to circulate in handwritten copies in the 1750s. Today it is a central work and a monument in the socalled keizaigaku genre of Japanese political-economic literature and is found in every collection of Tokugawa intellectual literature and referred to by all scholars who deal with Tokugawa history. The present work includes a full translation of the Seidan.
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