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July 21 , 2010

Tradition and Modernization in Japanese Culture


Essays on the Iwakura Embassy, the realistic painter Takahashi Yuichi, the educational system, and music, show how the Japanese went about borrowing from the West in the first decades after the Restoration: the formulation of strategies for modernizing and the adaptation of Western models to Meiji culture. In the second half of the volume, the darker side, the pathology of modernization, is seen. The adjustment of the individual and the effects of progressive modernization on culture in an increasingly complex, twentieth-century society are recurring themes. They are illustrated with particular intensity in the experience of such writers as Natsume Soseki and Kobayashi Hideo, in the thought of Nishida Kitaro, and in the millenarian aspects of the new religions.

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Originally published in 1971.

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