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Before the Nation: Kokugaku and the Imagining of Community in Early Modern Japan (Asia-Pacific)

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Exploring the emergence and evolution of theories of nationhood that continue to be evoked in present-day Japan, Susan L. Burns provides a close examination of the late-eighteenth-century intellectual movement kokugaku, which means "the study of our country.” Departing from earlier studies of kokugaku that focused on intellectuals whose work has been valorized by modern scholars, Burns seeks to recover the multiple ways "Japan" as social and cultural identity began to be imagined before modernity.

Central to Burns's analysis is Motoori Norinaga’s Kojikiden, arguably the most important intellectual work of Japan's early modern period. Burns situates the Kojikiden as one in a series of attempts to analyze and interpret the mythohistories dating from the early eighth century, the Kojiki and Nihon shoki. Norinaga saw these texts as keys to an original, authentic, and idyllic Japan that existed before being tainted by "flawed" foreign influences, notably Confucianism and Buddhism. Hailed in the nineteenth century as the begetter of a new national consciousness, Norinaga's Kojikiden was later condemned by some as a source of Japan's twentieth-century descent into militarism, war, and defeat. Burns looks in depth at three kokugaku writers—Ueda Akinari, Fujitani Mitsue, and Tachibana Moribe—who contested Norinaga's interpretations and produced competing readings of the mythohistories that offered new theories of community as the basis for Japanese social and cultural identity. Though relegated to the footnotes by a later generation of scholars, these writers were quite influential in their day, and by recovering their arguments, Burns reveals kokugaku as a complex debate—involving history, language, and subjectivity—with repercussions extending well into the modern era.

Synopsis:

Exploring how theories of nationhood that continue to be evoked in present-day Japan emerged and evolved, Susan L. Burns provides a close examination of"

Synopsis:

Shows how a modern nationalism was constructed in Japan from existing notions of community, at a time before the idea of “nation.”

About the Author

Susan L. Burns is Associate Professor of History at the University of Chicago.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780822331728
Author:
Burns, Susan L.
Publisher:
Duke University Press
Editor:
Rey Chow
Author:
Burns
Author:
Chow, Rey
Author:
Huntington, Madge
Author:
Harootunian, Harry
Author:
Masao Miyoshi
Location:
Durham N.C.
Subject:
Asia - Japan
Subject:
Political History
Subject:
Kokugaku.
Subject:
Political Ideologies - Communism & Socialism
Subject:
General Political Science
Subject:
Politics - General
Subject:
Politics-Leftist Studies
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series:
Asia-Pacific: Culture, Politics, and Society
Series Volume:
03-127
Publication Date:
20031231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
296
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » Leftist Studies
History and Social Science » World History » Japan

Before the Nation: Kokugaku and the Imagining of Community in Early Modern Japan (Asia-Pacific) New Trade Paper
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Product details 296 pages Duke University Press - English 9780822331728 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Exploring how theories of nationhood that continue to be evoked in present-day Japan emerged and evolved, Susan L. Burns provides a close examination of"
"Synopsis" by ,
Shows how a modern nationalism was constructed in Japan from existing notions of community, at a time before the idea of “nation.”
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