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|Other Titles:||Chinese Aristocracy and "Fengjian"|
|Author's alias:||WATANABE, Yoshihiro|
|Abstract:||Chinese aristocracy was a status system organized on the basis of the authority of the emperor and was neither a bureaucratic system nor one based on the concept of fengjian. It is therefore difficult to term periods of history when the aristocracy prevailed as periods of aristocratic "society." Aristocrats monopolized the cultural capital that formed the foundation of their existence, but this is likely due to fact the aristocracy was determined by its proximity to imperial authority. In order to advance the study of aristocracy, it is necessary to distinguish the aristocrats who were formed from a representation of a social status from the aristocracy that existed as a state-created social status. The aristocracy created by the state was a national system constructed by the emperor based on five ranks of nobility and the distinction between officials and commoners. The aristocracy could therefore be transformed by the authority of the emperor. In the Southern Dynasties the Tianjian reform of Emperor Wu of Liang and in the north the determination of surnames by Emperor Xiao of Northern Wei, as well as the compilation of the Zhenguan zhizuzhi by Taizong in the Tang are representative examples of this power. After the initial establishment of an aristocratic system with its five ranks of nobility in the Western Jin, the aristocracies of the two Jin dynasties and the Northern and Southern Dynasties were legitimatized through the concept of fengjian. This was due to the fact that in terms of social decentralization, the content of the concept of fengjian was appropriate in decentralizing the authority of the ruler but in preventing the decentralization of power of the entire central state. However, the aristocracy of the Tang dynasty departed from the standard of an aristocracy in which noble ranks could be inherited, and this clearly denied the principle of fengjian. On the other hand, among the three pillars of political policy promoted by the Confucians, i.e. the concept of fengjian, the well-field system, and schools, it was permanent fields for officials, which although it retained some elements related to fengjian, advanced the system of prefectures and districts 郡縣 more than the well-field system. The periods of Chinese history when the concept of fengjian has been most contested are the Wei-Jin, late Ming, and late Qing. Among these, the use of fengjian to legitimize the aristocracy is closest to the example of Western Europe. The fengjian of China that denied the apportionment of land cannot serve as a marker of the "medieval" as a period in world history. Fixing the significance of the political system of China in terms of the concepts of fengjian and junxian, the system of prefectures and districts, is a task that remains to be addressed.|
|Appears in Collections:||69巻1号|
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