1st Edition

The Politics of Time in China and Japan Back to the Future

By Viren Murthy Copyright 2022
    186 Pages
    by Routledge

    186 Pages
    by Routledge

    Drawing on a wide range of texts and using an interdisciplinary approach, this volume shows how Chinese and Japanese intellectuals mobilized the past to create a better future. It is especially significant today given a world where, amidst tensions within Asia and the rise of China, East Asian intellectuals and governments constantly find new political meanings in their traditions. The essays illuminate how throughout Chinese and Japanese history, thinkers constantly weaved together nationalism, internationalism, and a politics of time. This volume explores a broad range of subjects such as premodern and early modern attempts to conjure a politics of Confucianism, twentieth-century Japanese Marxist interpretations of Buddhism, and Japanese and Chinese endeavors to imagine a new world order. In sum, this book shows us why understanding East Asian pasts are essential to making sense of ideological trends in contemporary China and Japan. For example, without understanding Confucianism and how modern intellectuals in China grappled with this body of thought, we would be unable to make sense of the Chinese government’s current promotion of the Chinese classics. This book will interest students and scholars of political science, history, Asian studies, sociology, and philosophy.

    Introduction: Back to the Future—Rethinking Politics and Time

    1. The Politics of the Past in China and Japan

    2. Japanese Critiques of Linear Time in Global Context

    3. Umemoto Katsumi, Subjective Nothingness, and the Critique of Civil Society

    4. Tianxia and Postwar Japanese Sinologists’ Vision of the Chinese Revolution: The Cases of Nishi Junzō and Mizoguchi Yūzō

    5. Toward a New World Order: Reading Tianxia with Hegel and Marx

    Coda: Futures of Chinese Politics of the Past


    Viren Murthy teaches transnational Asian History and researches Chinese and Japanese intellectual history in the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.