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Réalité et imaginaire, le Japon vu par le XVIIIème siècle français

Abstract : With an interest in the origins of various representations of Japan during the Enlightenment, we have studied three centuries of Japanese history as they relate to the West. Even though in the eighteenth century China was of primary interest, some French authors refer to the Land of the Rising Sun in their texts. This was true even though there was no contact between Japan and the West at that time. Therefore, in order to write about Japan, they had to rely on older texts to obtain information. Because of the particular history of Japan, whose highlights we present, the first reports written by Europeans emanated from the pens of authors from different worlds. First of all Jesuits from Iberian countries (1549-1620) who were mainly concerned with evangelical activities in Japan, wrote about these activities and the difficulties of carrying out their mission. Then, once these missionaries were expelled from the country, Dutch Reformed Church traders, the only ones to live in Japan, offered information on the country. The various paraphrased texts of these authors, copied by the authors of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, religious and laity, were used to draw an imaginary Land of the Rising Sun according to the latter group's personal and religious opinions. Japan notably appears in the Encyclopedia of Diderot, and we also noticed that the French writers of the Enlightenment who speak of Japan offer a vision consistent with their way of thinking and their philosophy. They use some subjects about Japan to illustrate a particular theme related to their own philosophical interest.Somehow, whenever they expound on Japan, in the end they are expounding equally on France. Indeed, the issues they raise have a direct relationship with questions such as justice, tolerance, religious freedom, etc.
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Bruno Dubois. Réalité et imaginaire, le Japon vu par le XVIIIème siècle français. Littératures. Université de Bourgogne, 2012. Français. ⟨NNT : 2012DIJOL030⟩. ⟨tel-00843582⟩

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