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The Aesthetics of Japanese Fascism$
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Alan Tansman

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780520245051

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520245051.001.0001

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. The Rhetoric of Unspoken Fascism: The Essence of the National Polity

. The Rhetoric of Unspoken Fascism: The Essence of the National Polity

(p.150) 4. The Rhetoric of Unspoken Fascism: The Essence of the National Polity
The Aesthetics of Japanese Fascism

Alan Tansman

University of California Press

This chapter focuses on the book The Essence of the National Polity (Kokutai no hongi), one of the most widely disseminated ideological tracts in the 1930s. This book presents itself as being beyond all ideologies—as merely asserting a “natural” truth. Running through it, therefore, is an exhaustion, shared by intellectuals across the political and aesthetic spectrum of the time, with all “isms” and a weary complaint that the great confusions in Japan were caused by the influx of too many ideas: idealism, democratism, socialism, anarchism, communism, and, most recent, The Essence of the National Polity insists, fascism. But that is not “our” concern, the book claims; the concern of the nation is to recover Japan's pure state by clarifying its “eternal and immutable” (banko fueki) essence by dispensing with all those outside elements that have been imported to build a new and modern Japan.

Keywords:   The Essence of the National Polity, Japanese fascism, ideology, fascism

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