In this book, each of the chapters offers an analysis of the origins and development of an important aspect of Japanese culture, including religion (Pure Land Buddhism and Zen, Shinto and folk religions, Confucianism and Tokugawa era ideology), philosophy (classical Buddhism and the contemporary Kyoto School), literature and the arts (medieval poetry and drama, modern fiction and films), and social behavior (family system, feminism, nationalism, and economic growth).
The central, underlying theme is the uniqueness and creativity of Japan as seen from twentieth century perspectives. One of the fascinating things about Japanese culture is that, on the one hand, it seems to have held onto its traditional foundations with a greater sense of determination and celebration than most societies and, at the same time, it appears to have attained a position at the forefront of international modernist and postmodernist developments. The authors explore several approaches to this issue. One school of thought is influenced by recent Japanese writers and intellectual historians such as Mishima, Tanizaki, Watsuji, and Nakamura. Another approach is influenced by Western poststructuralist commentators such as Barthes, Derrida, and Lyotard. A third approach is to argue against the thesis known as nihonjinron ("Japanism" or cultural exceptionalism), by suggesting that the notion of Japanese uniqueness is itself a cultural myth generated by nationalist and particularist trends originating in the Tokugawa era.
The volume features an essay by Kenzaburo Oe, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, entitled "Japan, the Dubious, and Myself."
Charles Wei-hsun Fu is Professor of Buddhism and East Asian Thought at Temple University. He is the editor of several book series in America and Taiwan and has authored numerous books and articles and lectured extensively throughout East Asia. Steven Heine is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and History at Pennsylvania State University. His other works include Existential and Ontological Dimensions of Time in Heidegger and Dogen; Dogen and the Koan Tradition: A Tale of Two Shobogenzo Texts; and A Study of Dogen: His Philosophy and Religion; all published by SUNY Press.
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Table of ContentsIntroduction: From "The Beautiful" to "The Dubious": Japanese Traditionalism, Modernism, Postmodernism Steven Heine And Charles Wei-Hsun Fu
1. Derrida and the Decentered Universe of Ch'an/ZenBuddhism Steve Odin
2. Ie-ism ("Sacred Familism") and the Discourseof Postmodernism in Relation to Nativism/Nationalism/Nihonism Steven Heine
3. Intervals (Ma) in Space and Time: Foundations for a Religio-Aesthetic Paradigm in Japan Richard B. Pilgrim
4. Lyricism and Intertextuality: An Approach toShunzei's Poetics Haruo Shirane
5. A Methodological Examination of the"Post-Confucian Thesis" in Relation to Japanese (and Chinese) Economic Development Charles Wei-Hsun Fu
6. The Murky Mirror: Women and Sexual Ethics as Reflected in Japanese Cinema Sandra A. Wawrytko
7. The Intertextual Fabric of Narratives by Enchi Fumiko S. Yumiko Hulvey
8. Tradition, Textuality, and the Trans-lation of Philosophy: The Case of Japan John C. Maraldo
9. The Kyoto School and Reverse Orientalism Bernard Faure
10. Tradition Beyond Modernity: Nishitani's Response to the Twentieth Century Dale S. Wright
11. Critical Reflections on the Traditional Japanese View of Truth Masao Abe
12. Japan, the Dubious, and Myself Kenzaburo Oe