While the Japanese sinologist Takeuchi Yoshimi is frequently mentioned in discussions of “alternative modernity” on the part of Asia, people have not sufficiently addressed the asymmetrical relationship between literature and politics in Takeuchi's thinking, as his literary analysis is oftentimes associated with a Hegelian reading of subjectivity. Through a reading of Takeuchi's “What Is Modernity?,” published in 1948, this article examines Takeuchi's discourses on politics from a literary standpoint that is radically nondialectical and “powerless” with regard to “politics” as he understands it. Takeuchi's critique of modernity as well as his idea of Asian nationalism cannot do without his idiosyncratic understanding of literature, especially his reading of Lu Xun, and his insistence on the powerlessness of literary resistance. Takeuchi's literary reshuffling of the political, the article argues, opens up a horizon where the very historico‐political condition of possibility of existing political institutionalizations can be put into reexamination—it helps us reconsider the concepts of relation, otherness, and equality, which are still in operation to frame our understanding of the world.

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