Problems with Showa Criticism 1975-1989

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Azuma invited here three Japanese critics in their 40s or younger to examine the history of criticism in Japan after 1975. Three discussion are planned, with the present one covering the period from 1975 to 1989.

The discussion begins with Osawa’s proposal that the period under consideration be split into the time of Pre-New Academism and New Academism. During these periods Marxism began to lose its influence while criticism in Japan began to change from a practice that focused on single genres (ex. literature)into one that focused on interdisciplinary knowledge. Fukushima positions the Pre-New Academism as practiced by Masao Yamaguchi and Yoshihiko Amino as an activity that re-evaluated the importance of traditional communities in Japanese society. Ichikawa conjectures the movements toward rediscovering Japan were born from a sense of disappointment with the U.S. because of the Vietnam War.

New Academism after the appearance of Akira Asada and Shinichi Nakazawa was also a journalistic phenomenon unfurled through new magazines such as GS and Episteme. Azuma observes that the works of Asada and Kojin Karatani concur with global movements in which French contemporary philosophy was being localized. Simultaneously, their sectionalistic “politics” brought ideological binaries back to the criticism, making it both difficult to overview its history while also leading to a loss of diversity within Japanese criticism and philosophy.

This discussion is meant to be a critical successor to the group discussion held in 1989 by Asada and Karatani titled Criticism in Modern Japan.