Although tokutomi himself later renounced his formal

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Unformatted text preview: and should seek to acquire the remainder as speedily as possible. The principal challenge to the views of Tokutomi and the Min’yûsha came from the Seikyòsha (Society for Political Education), founded in 1888 by another group of young writers and critics. Publishing the magazine The Japanese (Nihonjin) in competition with the Min’yûsha’s Friend of the People, the Seikyòsha people attacked Westernization and called for “preservation of the national essence” (kokusui hozon). Their general position was perhaps best presented in the book Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Japanese (Shin-zen-bi Nihonjin) by Miyake Setsurei (1860–1945). Miyake, a student of philosophy who remained a rival of Tokutomi throughout their long, concurrent careers, asserted that although a Spencerian type of struggle among nations was unavoidable during the course of historical progress, the process of modernization did not lead inevitably to a universal kind of state. On the contrary, nations competed best by utilizing those special qualities that distinguished them from others. Like many members of the Seikyòsha, Miyake was much interested in physical geography and placed great store in the effects of geography and climate on the molding of racial characteristics and national cultures. To his thinking, diversity among peoples and nations was fundamental to progress in the world, and any attempt to reject national customs and indiscriminately adopt the ways of others could only be harmful. It was, in any event, clear that the Western countries were clinging tenaciously to their own particularistic national cultures, even while commonly pursuing modernization. The advocates of preserving the national essence made many effective points in their arguments against the Westernizers, and, in theory, they provided the Japanese with a much-needed feeling of cultural worth 252 Encounter with the West after some two decades of breathtaking change within the ever-present shadow of the more advanced and “superior” West. A concomitant to the Seikyòsha movement, for example, was a renewal of interest in Japan’s classical literature even at a time, as we...
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at UBC.

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