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Literature, Japanese philosophy in modern

DOI
10.4324/9780415249126-G111-1
DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-G111-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved September 22, 2017, from https://www.rep.routledge.com/articles/thematic/literature-japanese-philosophy-in-modern/v-1

Article Summary

Since the last quarter of the nineteenth century, virtually all major lines of Western thought and the works of both major and minor Western philosophers have been explored and used by Japanese writers in an effort to forge a modern Japanese literature. The history of translation alone reveals a concern to bring over synoptic summaries of Western philosophy, as well as the primary works of specific thinkers. Academic philosophy as a discipline of advanced study was established in the 1880s, the decade which corresponds to the beginnings of widespread literary reform and the often-cited creation of the first modern Japanese novel, Futabatei’s Ukigumo (Floating Cloud) in 1889.

However, Japanese novelists, dramatists, poets and critics did not assimilate philosophical influences naïvely or passively, nor was Japanese literature made over in the shape of specific Western ideas regarding the nature and function of the self, society or literary aesthetics. Indeed, the avid translation and discussion of Western ideas frequently provoked a nativist reaction or modification. The revival of traditional tropes, the language of Confucian ethics, Buddhist practice and Shintō legends), itself often reflects the pervasive presence of Western ideas on the modern literary scene.

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Citing this article:
Anderer, Paul. Literature, Japanese philosophy in modern, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-G111-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis, https://www.rep.routledge.com/articles/thematic/literature-japanese-philosophy-in-modern/v-1.
Copyright © 1998-2017 Routledge.

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