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Enlightenment Essay

1053 words - 5 pages


The Enlightenment Period was all about new ways of thinking about life during the 18th century in Europe. The age of Enlightenment was during a time when society came to a conclusion that life could be improved through modernization. Some philosophers like Rousseu and Wollstonecraft challenged society’s beliefs. Japan however embraced everything it could from Europe. The novel Sanshiro guides us to acknowledge how Japan adopted ideas from the European Enlightenment, modernization, philosophies and freedom.
Sanshiro novel is a classic example of how Japan transitioned from old Japanese tradition values to a more modern life style such as the city of Tokyo. Shanshiro who moved to Tokyo from his countryside saw of a more modern westernized city such as Tokyo. Sanshiro moved to Tokyo and saw life completely different then his countryside home. He opened his eyes to the city life and saw how people in the city follow more of a westernized life and slowly he breaks away from his countryside roots. Throughout the book the character struggles to keep his countryside values and traditions but the city life truly does change the character’s thoughts of freedom and individuality which is the notion of the enlightenment period. During the enlightenment period society emphasized on individuality and being more in tune with your thoughts and your own perception rather than society as a whole and this era moved waves to parts of the world where other countries adopted such as Japan. Japan adopted the idea of free thoughts, individuality and Sanshiro is a classic example of a man who came from the old traditional values to more of modern values which his own enlightenment to the city life. Sanshiro is continuously torn between his country side roots and his new modern life in Tokyo. The character’s transition is englighted with new ideas and values. Tokyo Japan has adopted a more Westernized approach to lifestyle by having high fashion, people becoming more free to express themselves in whether their clothes or thoughts. Men and women are becoming intellectuals of their ideas and values and that is what Tokyo represented in this novel . Sanshiro perceived Tokyo as a place of open communication, thoughts, and motivation and character Sanshiro was always trying to compare the two distinct places which is the countryside and the city. Throughout the book one can see the concept of Enlightenment strongly emphasized in the city of Tokyo. For example one could see this city flourishing with freedom of thought and expression and people living by their individual thoughts .
In the novel Sanshiro the main characters were from Hongo. Hongo is in the district of Yamanote which is basically the high city of Tokyo. The Yamanote had a main administration and government. The private homes of the new Japanese lead were the main start to the modern Japanese state and personified the intellectual and administrative culture of the time. Their establishments were now...

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