Japan in Traditional and Postmodern Perspectives: Revolutionary War Soldier, Federalist Politician, and Mayor of New York

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Charles Wei-hsun Fu, Steven Heine, Professor of Religious Studies and Director of Asian Studies Steven Heine
SUNY Press, 1995 - History - 334 pages
In this book, each of the chapters offers an analysis of the origins and development of an important aspect of Japanese culture, including religion (Pure Land Buddhism and Zen, Shinto and folk religions, Confucianism and Tokugawa era ideology), philosophy (classical Buddhism and the contemporary Kyoto School), literature and the arts (medieval poetry and drama, modern fiction and films), and social behavior (family system, feminism, nationalism, and economic growth).

The central, underlying theme is the uniqueness and creativity of Japan as seen from twentieth century perspectives. One of the fascinating things about Japanese culture is that, on the one hand, it seems to have held onto its traditional foundations with a greater sense of determination and celebration than most societies and, at the same time, it appears to have attained a position at the forefront of international modernist and postmodernist developments. The authors explore several approaches to this issue. One school of thought is influenced by recent Japanese writers and intellectual historians such as Mishima, Tanizaki, Watsuji, and Nakamura. Another approach is influenced by Western poststructuralist commentators such as Barthes, Derrida, and Lyotard. A third approach is to argue against the thesis known as nihonjinron ("Japanism" or cultural exceptionalism), by suggesting that the notion of Japanese uniqueness is itself a cultural myth generated by nationalist and particularist trends originating in the Tokugawa era.

The volume features an essay by Kenzaburo Oe, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, entitled "Japan, the Dubious, and Myself."


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IeIsm Sacred Familism and the Discourse of Postmodernism in Relation to NativismNationalismNihonism
Intervals Ma in Space and Time Foundations for a ReligioAesthetic Paradigm in Japan
Lyricism and Intertextuality An Approach to Shunzeis Poetics
A Methodological Examination of the PostConfucian Thesis in Relation to Japanese and Chinese Economic Development
The Murky Mirror Women and Sexual Ethics as Reflected in Japanese Cinema
The Intertextual Fabric of Narratives by Enchi Fumiko
Tradition Textuality and the Translation of Philosophy The Case of Japan
The Kyoto School and Reverse Orientalism
Tradition Beyond Modernity Nishitanis Response to the Twentieth Century
Critical Reflections on the Traditional Japanese View of Truth
Japan the Dubious and Myself

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About the author (1995)

Charles Wei-hsun Fu is Professor of Buddhism and East Asian Thought at Temple University. He is the editor of several book series in America and Taiwan and has authored numerous books and articles and lectured extensively throughout East Asia.

Steven Heine is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and History at Pennsylvania State University. His other works include Existential and Ontological Dimensions of Time in Heidegger and Dogen; Dogen and the Koan Tradition: A Tale of Two Shobogenzo Texts; and A Study of Dogen: His Philosophy and Religion; all published by SUNY Press.

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