日本漢文の世界:本の紹介

書名 JAPAN:A Short Cultural History
副題
シリーズ名 TUTTLE CLASSICS
著者 George Bailey Sansom(サンソム卿)
出版社 チャールズイータトル出版
出版年次 平成19年(2007年)
ISBN 4-805-30874-5
定価 2,000円
著者の紹介 著者(1883-1965)は、イギリスの外交官として、1904年に来日し、1940年まで東京に在勤しました。戦後は、極東委員会イギリス代表に就任。1947年以降は、米国のコロンビア大学やスタンフォード大学で日本学を講じました。主著は、本書のほか、『西欧世界と日本』(The Western World and Japan)『日本史』(A History of Japan)など。夫人のキャサリンも文筆家で、『東京で暮らす』(Living in Tokyo)が有名です。
本の内容:

日本:その文化のあゆみ―JAPAN:A Short Cultural History (TUTTLE CLASSICS)

 本書は、開闢から江戸時代までのわが国の文化の歴史について概説したものです。著者サンソム卿は、本書の中で、随所に、はっとするような知見を示しています。本書の浩瀚な記述を手短かに紹介するのは不可能なので、ここでは本書から日本漢文に関する記述を、いくつか拾ってみるにとどめます。
 わが国の古代において、なにゆえに支配階級が漢文を学ぶようになったのかについて、サンソム卿は次のように述べています。

  It was precisely during this period that she was fully occupied with Korea, and this no doubt contributed to delay in the spread of writing. The government was intent upon schemes of conquest, the materialbenefits of literature were not so obvious as those of warfare, and the nobles perhaps felt that, as they could purchase the service of specialists, there was no reason why they should suffer the drudgery of learning to read and write Chinese. So long as writing appeared as a mere mechanical accomplishment, a craft not much different from, say, weaving or painting, it might be left to clerks. It was when it was seen to be the vehicle for a new religion and a new political philosophy that it first became essential to the ruling classes. A desire to go to the sources of Confucian doctrine was an important motive, but it is probable that it was the emotional stimulus of Buddhism that gave the strongest and most widespread impulse to learning in Japan.(Chapter IV THE INTRODUCTION OF CHINESE LEARNING p.64)

 最初は、「書記官の技術」にすぎないと低く見られていた漢文の読み書きでしたが、仏教という新知見が導入されるや、それを知りたい、学びたいという、やみがたき衝動により、支配階級もきそって漢文を学ぶようになったのです。

 その後、古代の日本漢文学は、奈良朝、平安朝に隆盛を見ることになりますが、それに対するサンソム卿の意見はきびしいものです。

  The anthologies of the early Heian period, of which the chief is the Ryoun-shu or Cloud Topping Collection, show that they had studied early T'ang models, and there are signs that they knew and admired the work of Po Chi-i. But they were after all composing in a foreign language. They could never, so fettered, emerge beyond a facile mimicry. Far less could they achieve the spontaneous and pregnant simplicity of genius expressing itself in its natural medium. Perhaps in this failure we have a more striking example of the misfortunes of their early cultural history than in the distortion or collapse of so many of their borrowed social institutions. Predisposed to learning, alive to impressions, sensitive to beauty, restless and ambitious, strive as they would they could not overcome an insuperable difficulty, they could not naturalise a stubbornly alien speech.(Chapter XII RELIGION AND THE ARTS p.236-p.237)

 漢文は日本人にとって、どこまでも異国の言語であり、それを国語化することはできませんでした。しかし、こんなことも言っています。

  If many of the activities of this age were artificial to the point of silliness, they did, we must remember, express a culture remarkable, probably unique, in that it was almost entirely aesthetic.(Chapter XII RELIGION AND THE ARTS p.240)

 日本漢文学は、借り物の文化ではあるが、驚くほど美的であったというのです。しかし、平安時代が終わり、武家の世の中になると、華麗な日本漢文の文化は終焉を迎えます。

  The military class were in general unlearned and few of them could write either correct Chinese or, what probably required greater skill if less knowledge, good, fluent Japanese. Yet they depended a great deal upon writing for their laws and regulations and the recording of transactions in land. It is a peculiar feature of early feudal institutions in Japan that they were based upon a profusion of documents, such as charters, oaths, registers and the notes of judicial proceedings. To meet this need there was evolved a peculiar linguistic compromise, in which a somewhat stilted Japanese colloquial masqueraded in Chinese dress. It would have pained the classical scholars of former generations, being analogous to dog-Latin; but it was on the whole fairly concise and intelligible and seems to have served its purpose well enough. In time it became the common form for official despatches, chronicles and laws. It was a mating of incompatibles, but it grew out of necessity, and from it there arose in course of time and after strange vicissitudes the written language of the nineteenth century.(Chapter XVI RELIGION, ART AND LETTERS p.347)

 その後、無学な武士階級が、膨大な行政文書を作成しなければならない必要から、いわゆる「変体漢文」が生まれます。これは西洋における「dog-Latin」といわれる破格のラテン文みたいなものでした。19世紀の文語、つまり「候文」がここから生まれます。
 こうして、古代に花開いた日本漢文は歴史から姿を消します。しかし、江戸時代を迎え、新たな日本漢文の文化が生まれます。

  Though Buddhism, once the nurse of scholarship in Japan, was now eclipsed, there was on the other hand a strong revival of Chinese studies, particularly in the philosophical field, which in the Far East usually means the field of political and social ethics. As peace followed centuries of war, the leaders of thought in Japan turned their attention to questions of government, endeavouring to discover right principles of conduct for rulers and subjects.(Chapter XXII GENROKU p.481)

  The official philosophy in Japan in the early Tokugawa period was that of Chu Hsi (1130-1200), a leading figure of the important philosophical renaissance which took place in China under the Sung dynasty. The canon of this school was Chu Hsi's commentary on the works of the Chinese sages, entitled in Japanese Shisho Shinchu, or a New Commentary on the Four Classics. The teaching of Chu Hsi, it will be remembered, had been studied in the Muromachi period by a small number of learned monks of the Five Monasteries, but it was not until the late sixteenth century that his philosophy became more widely known, through the efforts of a scholar named Fujiwara Seigwa (1561-1619), who, it is interesting to note, was a Buddhist priest. Under the Tokugawa regime the Chu Hsi philosophy was virtually adopted as the official school of thought, and Hayashi Razan, its chief exponent, was appointed adviser to the government. From his time, it is said, Confucian scholars let their hair grow long. This curious item of history is highly significant.(Chapter XXIII THE BREAKDOWN OF FEUDALISM p.505)


 戦乱の時代が終わり、新しい政治思想として朱子学が登場したのです。これを幕府が奨励したことにより、新たな日本漢文の文化が隆盛に向かいます。サンソム卿は、藤原惺窩が五山僧出身であったことや、林羅山が幕府の政治顧問になったことを重視していますが、羅山が頭髪を蓄えたというのは実は誤りで、逆に彼は家康から剃髪を命じられ、道春と法号まで付けていたのです。このことは彼の儒者としての誇りを傷つける屈辱だったに違いないのですが、そこまで妥協してでも幕府において儒学の地位を築こうとする執念には恐れ入ります。羅山の念願通り幕府において儒学の地位が高まり、儒者が再び髪を蓄えるようになったのは、彼の孫・鳳岡のときのことです。

  Fujiwara, the first great exponent of Chu Hsi, said: "Shinto and Confucianism are the same truth under different names." Hayashi Razan said: "Shinto is Odo (Loyalty to the Sovereign) and Odo is Confucianism"; and as scholars all over Japan continued their researches into the history and literature of their own country, it became evident that the Tokugawa Shoguns, by usurping the Imperial power, had committed an offence against all those codes. It may therefore fairly be said that by attempting to found its rule upon Confucian ethics the Bakufu contributed to its own destruction.(Chapter XXIII THE BREAKDOWN OF FEUDALISM p.512)

 幕府が保護した朱子学が神道と結びつき、さらに歴史研究へと発展して、皇室を尊重する風が広まり、倒幕の理論的主柱となっていったのは、皮肉な結果でした。朱子学の導入は、江戸幕府にとって両刃の剣であったのです。

 以上、ほんの一部分だけを引用しましたが、本書は何度読んでも、読みながら膝を打つところが多いのです。このような日本文化史が、戦前に、しかも外国人の手によって書かれていたことには、全く驚嘆のほかありません。本書は、1931年(昭和6年)の初版出版以来、日本の文化史を論ずる上での必読書とされてきたものですが、今日においてもなお、その価値は失われておりません。

日本:その文化のあゆみ―JAPAN:A Short Cultural History (TUTTLE CLASSICS)
2012年4月30日公開。

ホーム > 本の紹介 > JAPAN:A Short Cultural History(Sansom)

ホーム > 本の紹介 > JAPAN:A Short Cultural History(Sansom)