Places, Images, Times & Transformations

Nishi Amane

(1829-97). Educator and government official; one of the first to assert that Western civilization should be a model for Japan's national reforms in the late 19th century. Nishi adapted European positivism and utilitarianism to the Japanese intellectual tradition. As a bureaucrat in the Ministry of Military Affairs, he wrote the Conscription Ordinance of 1873, perhaps the most portentous reform of the new Meiji government. He was a major figure in Japan's effort to reconcile history with change, imported thought with native ideas, and tradition with modernism. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)

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