In 1944 the Japanese sinologist and cultural critic Takeuchi Yoshimi (1910-77) published his seminal study, Rojin, on the life and work of the preeminent modern Chinese writer Lu Xun (1881-1936). In this book Takeuchi paints the portrait of a pugnacious man of letters, someone engaged in constant combat, contradicting all the dominant attitudes of his era, an “iron-willed personality” with the Nietzschean traits of a “lonesome wanderer,” a man whose characteristics Takeuchi sums up throughout his book with the word resistance. Takeuchi's 150-page work—slim but pregnant with meaning and seemingly not overshadowed by wartime ideology—became the cornerstone of Takeuchi's postwar career as an author and critic who anticipated the postwar. In my view, however, the true significance of Rojin lies with the book's deep entanglement in the wartime project to overcome modernity, and, first and foremost, in the writings of Nishida Kitarō (1870-1945) and the Kyoto School of philosophy. By regarding Takeuchi's Lu Xun and his resistance, and Takeuchi's central notion of the contradictory self-identity of literature and politics, in light of Nishida's dialectics of individual and world, I hope to illuminate more effectively than has been done so far Takeuchi's rather dark and enigmatic book and to revalorize its significance as arguably one of the most intriguing, and certainly most idiosyncratic, wartime contributions on the topic of philosophy and the political in wartime Japan.
Christian Uhl; Displacing Japan: Takeuchi Yoshimi's Lu Xun in Light of Nishida's Philosophy, and Vice Versa. positions 1 February 2009; 17 (1): 207–237. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10679847-2008-030
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