In this essay I underline the terms of the debate surrounding the relation between the political and philosophical discourse of wartime Japanese philosophy. I argue that discourses that emphasize the political at the cost of the philosophical not only demean the importance of the philosophical stakes of the text; they also fail to grasp certain important political mechanisms at work. Conversely, discourses that focus on the philosophical at the cost of the political too often fall into the trap of acting as apologists for the wartime philosophers. I propose a more integrated approach to this relation that is at once more philosophical and political.

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