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Appearing for the first time in English, the writings in this collection reflect some of the most innovative and influential work by Japanese intellectuals in recent years. The volume offers a rare and much-needed window into the crucial ideas and positions currently shaping Japanese thought ( shiso).

In addressing the political, historical, and cultural issues that have dominated Japanese society, these essays cross a range of disciplines, including literary theory, philosophy, history, gender studies, and cultural studies. Contributors examine Japan's imperialist and nationalist past as well as representations and remembrances of this history. They also critique recent efforts in Japanese right-wing circles to erase or obscure the more troubling aspects of Japan's colonial enterprise in East Asia. Other essays explore how Japan has viewed itself in regard to the West and the complex influence of Western thought on Japanese intellectual and political life.

The volume's groundbreaking essays on issues of gender and the contested place of feminist thought in Japan discuss the similarities between the emotional bullying of women who do not accept traditional gender roles and teasing in schools; how the Japanese have adopted elements of Western orientalism to discredit feminism; and historical constructions of Japanese motherhood.

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