The Japanese Philosophy Blog

News and discussion of ancient and modern Japanese philosophy

New History Thesis on the Kyoto School

Jeremy Hurdis at the University of Ottawa has published an MA Thesis entitled “Modernity and the Idea: Liberalism, Fascism, Materialism in Showa Japan.” I haven’t had a chance to look at it yet, but the abstract makes it look interesting:

After the Meiji Restoration of 1862, Western philosophy was imported and infused into Japanese culture and its intellectual climate. By the early 20th Century, Kyoto School philosophers and romantic authors sought to reaffirm Japanese culture, believed jeopardised by the hastened development of Western capitalist modernity. This movement became politically charged, and is not without fascist allegations. After the Second World War modernism again became a primary intellectual concern, as modernists and Asianists alike attempted to struggle with the idea of fascism in Japan. Works of Nishida Kitaro (1870- 1945) and Watsuji Tetsuro (1889-1960), and the prewar contexts within which they were written, will be compared to the postwar thinkers Maruyama Masao (1914-1996) and Takeuchi Yoshimi (1910-1977). The purpose of this thesis is to examine how Japanese thinkers before and after the Second World War understood and responded to the global process of modernity, and how it relates to such political movements as liberalism and fascism.

Download it for free from the University of Ottawa website.

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