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Additional info for Emerson and Neo-Confucianism: Crossing Paths over the Pacific
Yet Iwano, Yamaji, and Takayasu, in focusing exclusively on Emerson’s thought on God’s immanence, overlooked the tendency toward transcendency inherent in Emerson’s idea of God: although Neo-Confucianism, Japan, and “Nature Is Principle” 43 Emerson’s God has its basis in the self, his God transcends the self. Emerson’s belief in God-within must be understood to have gradually but fundamentally given way to a belief in the goodness and benevolence of “God of the Universe,” a concept more closely aligned with the teachings of Zhu Xi.
47 Iwano Hōmei Iwano Hōmei (ጤ㊁㡆 1873–1920) was a naturalistic poet, critic, and novelist who looked beyond the analogies Nakamura Masanao saw between Emerson and Zhu Xi to investigate Emerson’s affinities with the teachings of Wang Yangming. Kitamuta Tōkoku had already drawn the connection between Emerson and Wang in his book Emaruson [Emerson] in commenting, “Emerson, having a similar thought with Yangming’s, placed himself in the quietude of Tao Yuanming”;48 however, Iwano pursued it substantially in his life and writings.
3. Neo-Confucianism in Japan A survey of the further development of Neo-Confucianism in Japan will provide useful cultural and historical background on the familiarity of Japanese intellectuals with Neo-Confucian philosophy during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As we shall see, this familiarity conditioned their reception of Emerson, and framed a tradition of comparison of Emersonianism and Neo-Confucianism that was oriented toward the philosophies of Lu Xiangshan and Wang Yangming, rather than toward that of Zhu Xi.