Publication: Nishida, Kawabata, and the Japanese Response to Modernity By Andrew Feenberg

November 23, 2019

Nishida, Kawabata, and the Japanese Response to Modernity explores the Japanese response to Western modernity in philosophy and literature. Throughout the 20th century, Japanese thinkers and writers were engaged in the paradoxical attempt to produce original works rooted in their own culture within forms adapted from the West. In the 1930s the founder of modern Japanese philosophy, Kitaro Nishida, proposed an innovative theory of multi-cultural modernity based largely on the Western philosophical tradition. After World War II, the Nobel prize winning novelist, Yasunari Kawabata, depicted the cultural conflict between West and East within Western literary forms. Were these and other Japanese thinkers discussed in this book successful in modernizing Japanese culture? Did their attempts to do so establish or refute the often claimed universality of Western modernity? These are the questions to which this book is addressed.

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