HISTORICKÁ SOCIOLOGIE
HISTORICKÁ SOCIOLOGIE

Interdisciplinary journal focusing primarily on sociological, political science and historical perspectives on the issue of long-term social processes and trends, modernization, globalization tendency and impacts.

The journal creates a broader platform for researches in the historical social sciences. Epistemological field is not strictly bounded, it is also meant to overlap with civilizationalism, cultural sociology and other related fields.

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Published by Charles University in Prague, Karolinum Press, cooperated with Faculty of Humanities, Charles University in Prague.

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HISTORICKÁ SOCIOLOGIE, Vol 13 No 2 (2021), 83–104

The Symposium on Overcoming Modernity and Discourse in Wartime Japan

John W. M. Krummel

DOI: https://doi.org/10.14712/23363525.2021.19
announced: 29. 11. 2021

abstract

The symposium on overcoming modernity (kindai no chōkoku) that took place in Tokyo in 1942 has been much commented upon, but later critics have tended to over-emphasize the wartime political context and the ideological connection to Japanese ultra-nationalism. Closer examination shows that the background and the actual content of the discussion were more complicated. The idea of overcoming modernity had already appeared in debates among Japanese intellectuals before the war, and was always open to different interpretations; it could indicate Japanese ambitions to move beyond Western paradigms of modernity, but in other cases it referred to more radical visions of alternatives to modernity as such. Some versions linked up with Western critiques of existing modernity, including traditionalist as well as more future-oriented ones. These differentiations are evident in the symposium, and associated with diverse schools of thought. An important input came from representatives of the Kyoto school, the most distinctive current in twentieth-century Japanese philosophy. Despite the suppression of Marxist thought, the background influence of the unorthodox Marxist thinker Miki Kiyoshi was significant. Another major contribution came from the group known as the Japan Romantic School, active in literature and literary criticism. Other intellectuals of widely varying persuasions, from outspoken nationalists to Catholic theologians, also participated. The result was a rich but also thoroughly inconclusive discussion, from which no consensus on roads beyond modernity could emerge.

keywords: modernity; Westernization; nationalism; war; Kyoto School; Japanese Romanticism

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The Symposium on Overcoming Modernity and Discourse in Wartime Japan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

230 x 157 mm
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print price: 120 czk
ISSN: 1804-0616
E-ISSN: 2336-3525

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