The (Post) Modern of the Defeated

Table of Contents

In this report, Norimatsu reflects upon contemporary Russian thought through comparison with various statements on Japan’s (post) modernity. Japan and Russia both initiated modernization through the recognition of defeat by Europe. Moreover, that modernization resulted in the experience of defeat by the United States—Japan
in World War II and Russia in the Cold War—and both Japanese and Russian postmodernities are products of defeat by America. Both of these (post) modern movements are littered with calls never to forget their original defeat, the starting point of the modernization process, and to turn defeat into victory.
However, post-World War II Japan and post-Cold War Russia also exhibit differences. Post-World War II Japan was heavily protected by the United States during the Cold War. Under that protection, Japan was isolated from international politics and instead aimed for success in economic terms. Conversely, post-Cold War Russia lacked that protection and fell into social chaos due to the “shock therapy” of sudden economic liberalization. Consequently, the liberalism induced by America was reviled as economic libertarianism, and Russia today aims for victory not in economic terms, but in international politics governed by Schmittian relations of “Friend–Enemy.”
Based on this understanding of circumstances in contemporary Russia, Norimatsu explores the impasse of liberalism, the rise of nationalism, and the recycling of Soviet memory in the anti-authoritarian use of nationalism by New Leftist thought.