Yangmingism, known in Mandarin as Xīnxué (心學) in Japanese as Yōmeigaku[1] (陽明学), is one of the major philosophical schools of Neo-Confucianism, based on the ideas of the idealist Neo-Confucian philosopher Wang Yangming. Yangmingism developed as the main intellectual opposition to the Cheng-Zhu school of Neo-Confucianism.[2] The school is considered part of the School of Mind, established by Lu Jiuyuan. Yangmingism emphasizes that one can get the supreme principle (理) from his/her heart, without seeking outside. Furthermore, Yangmingism posits a oneness of action and knowledge in relation to one's concepts of morality. In essence, this is the idea that one's conceptualization of good and evil are irrelevant if one does not, in reality, act in accordance with it: "to know and not to act is not to know". Naturally, this extended to the political sphere, and, through incorporation into Mitogaku thought, a violent form of Yangmingism became an influence on the incipient anti-foreigner movement in 19th century Japan.[3] In the 20th century, Japanese author and nationalist Yukio Mishima examined Yangmingism as an integral part of the ideologies behind the Meiji Restoration as well as further samurai resistance, in particular the Shinpūren rebellion.[4]

See also


  1. Craig, Edward (1998), Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Volume 7, Taylor & Francis, ISBN 978-0-415-07310-3
  2. Mote, Frederick W. (2003), Imperial China 900-1800, Harvard University Press, ISBN 978-0-674-01212-7
  3. Ravina, Mark (2005). The Last Samurai : The Life and Battles of Saigō Takamori. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9780471705376.
  4. Mishima, Yukio (1970). Kōdōgaku Nyūmon. Bungei Shunjū.

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