The Emergence of Confucianism in Indonesia in the Twentieth Century

Prof. Dr. Lasiyo, M.A., M.M

The Chinese religion which is grounded in the teaching of Confucius has been observed by the Chinese in Indonesia for a long time. Confucian teaching was visible in the ancestral altars in Chinese homes and in various rituals and customs of the Chinese community, notwithstanding its Indonesian acculturation concerning the ceremonies for marriages and funerals and the modes of address towards relatives and elders (Coppel, 1986: 22). In the twentieth century, the development of Confucianism in Indonesia can be divided into two eras: before and after the proclamation of Indonesian independence. This study will concentrate on the latter.
Before independence, the Confucian movement was launced in Indonesia during the Dutch colonialisation at the beginning of the twentieth century. It was linked to the Confucian reform movement in China, promoted by K’ang Yu-wei and Liang Ch’i-ch’ao in the 1890s, which quickly spread to other countries, particularly in Southeast Asia, for example Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. There, the movement were relatively vigorous. Yen Ching-Hwang (1979:35) mentions that the movement in Singapore and Malaysia was an important part of the overall Confucian revival movement. Its importance lay not so much in supporting the movement in China, as in the stimulation and influence it had on the overseas Chinese communities in those Southeast Asian countries.

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