This book approaches the concept of tenkō (political conversion) as a response to the global crisis of interwar modernity, as opposed to a distinctly Japanese experience in postwar debates.
Tenkō connotes the expressions of ideological conversion performed by members of the Japanese Communist Party, starting in 1933, whereby they renounced Marxism and expressed support for Japan’s imperial expansion on the continent. Although tenkō has a significant presence in Japan’s postwar intellectual and literary histories, this contributed volume is one of the first in Englishm language scholarship to approach the phenomenon. International perspectives from both established and early career scholars show tenkō as inseparable from the global politics of empire, deeply marked by an age of mechanical reproduction, mediatization and the manipulation of language. Chapters draw on a wide range of interdisciplinary methodologies, from political theory and intellectual history to literary studies. In this way, tenkō is explored through new conceptual and analytical frameworks, including questions of gender and the role of affect in politics, implications that render the phenomenon distinctly relevant to the contemporary moment.
Tenkō: Cultures of Political Conversion in Transwar Japan will prove a valuable resource to students and scholars of Japanese and East Asian history, literature and politics.
Part 1: Conceptual Excursions
1. ‘Ideological Conversion as Historical Catachresis: Coming to Terms with tenkō’
2. ‘The Historical Origins of tenkō as an Intellectual and Social Issue: Marxism – Thought Control – Media’
3. ‘Tenkō in Korea: Revealing the Critical Threshold of Colonial Empire’
4. ‘Takeuchi Yoshimi and the Problem of tenkō’
Part 2: Literary Possibilities
5. ‘Literature and Affect: Proletarian Literature as Discovery’
6. ‘Common Tropes and Themes in Japan’s tenkō Literature’
George T. Sipos
7. "Doublethink" in Seisan bungaku Theory’
8. ‘The Problem of Literary "Truth": The tenkō of Nakano Shigeharu and Hayashi Fusao’
9. ‘The Disjointed Narratives and Fractured Subjects of Takami Jun’
10. ‘Crossing the Void: Shimaki Kensaku’s Search for Meaning in "Leprosy" and "Blindness"’
Jeff E. Long
11. ‘The Tenkō of Anarchist Poets: Agrarian and Cinematic Latencies’
12. ‘A Proletarian Writer in the Showcase Window: The Shifting Representation of "the Masses" in Sata Ineko’s Kurenai’
13. ‘Mythic Reality, Battlefield Survival and Psycho-social Conversion in Yoshida Mitsuru’s The End of Battleship Yamato’
"This is a welcome addition to scholarship on midcentury Japan. It brings a stellar group of historians and literary scholars together around an ambitious scholarly vision. The editors argue that the study of tenko¯—a juridical process of political conversion in the 1930s—offers a blueprint for interdisciplinary and comparative research into local expressions of the politics of affect, framed with reference to a theoretically nuanced concept of a global yet uneven capitalist modernity." - Adam Bronson, Durham University