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Title: Understanding creativity in East Asia: Insights from Confucius' concept of junzi
Authors: Tan, Charlene H. P. (Charlene Hwee Phio)
Keywords: Confucius
East Asia
The West
Issue Date: 2016
Citation: Tan, C. (2016). Understanding creativity in East Asia: Insights from Confucius' concept of junzi. International Journal of Design Creativity and Innovation, 4(1), 51-61.
Abstract: Research shows that East Asians generally value creativity when it brings about evolutionary changes and promotes moral and social values. With an aim to further understand the concept and cultural foundation of creativity in East Asia, this article focusses on Confucius’ concept of junzi (exemplary or paradigmatic person). It is argued that a junzi embodies creativity in three main ways. First, a junzi exercises creativity by actively interpreting experiences and constructing personal meanings within one’s sociocultural context. Secondly, the junzi’s creativity is grounded in and motivated by one’s moral duty to achieve humanity and social harmony. Thirdly, a junzi manifests creativity by seeking to bring about an intermediate rather than radical domain change in society. The article concludes with the key implications of an East Asian concept of creativity for design creativity and innovation.
Description: This is the final draft, after peer-review, of a manuscript published in International Journal of Design Creativity and Innovation. The published version is available online at
ISSN: 2165-0349 (print)
2165-0357 (online)
Other Identifiers: 10.1080/21650349.2015.1026943
Appears in Collections:Journal Articles

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