Wednesday, November 12, 2008



・ Masao Maruyama, Denken in Japan, Frankfurt, 1988, p. 29.

・ ジョセフ・S・オリリー、「新渡戸文献の神学的検討」、『キリスト教をめぐる近代日本の諸相』、オリエンス宗教研究所、20008年所収。

‘That thought does not accumulate into a tradition and that the “traditional” thought re-enters in a scarcely graspable and unsystematic way, are at bottom two sides of the same thing. There is a tendency, faced with the ideas that came to Japan in a determined temporal sequence, to rearrange them merely spatially in the individual’s interior and let them co-exist timelessly so to speak, whereby they lose their historical structuredness’ (Masao Maruyama, Denken in Japan,\[Frankfurt 1988], 29; quoted, Liederbach, 37). ‘The Japanese likes to interpret as benevolent broad-mindedness his readiness to appropriate the best from whatever quarter. Yet despite the modesty that distinguishes the Japanese in civil life, this attitude is not free from vanity and even arrogance’ (Karl Löwith, quoted, Liederbach, 49). Nitobe’s willingness to recognize the best in Europe is what Maruyama calls a ‘selective reception’. The selected European best (chivalry and imperialism) boosts the selected Japanese best (bushido), short-circuiting a true pluralistic and dialectical encounter of cultures. Maruyama gives an example of what he means, from Inoue Tetsujiro, who claimed that the ethics of German Idealism, ‘though people have seen it as a novel foreign teaching, is close to what the school of Zhu Xi [Chu Hsi 1130-1200] have taught from of old’ (Liederbach, 48). Nitobe’s book would provide Maruyama with many more examples of the same hermeneutical vice of ‘dehistoricizing, i.e. decontextualizing the foreign element’ (48) in order to assimilate it to something already present in Japanese tradition.
Joseph S. O'Leary

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