Democracy in Post-War Japan: Maruyama Masao and the Search for Autonomy

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It is often assumed that Japan passively accepted the Western notion of democracy imposed during the postwar Occupation. Rikki Kersten argues that in fact democracy was the subject of fierce debate in Japan. War and Occupation prompted critical re-evaluation of Japanese political identity; it also catalysed an appraisal of the workings of democracy. Rikki Kersten explores the debate through the writings of a man in the thick of this intellectual ferment: Maruyama Masao. Maruyama, credited with the establishment of the discipline of political science in Japan, defined democracy through the notion of personal autonomy - maintaining the distinction between the public and private realms - and social autonomy - allowing public engagement with the political sphere. The tensions between personal and social autonomy formed the kernel of postwar Japanese political culture. Following the Security Treaty crisis of 1960, and disappointed with the failure of autonomy to emerge as a significant force in Japanese political life, Maruyama retired from the democracy debate. He nonetheless remains an intensely controversial figure. Political thinkers even now make their mark by lauding or denouncing the work of Maruyama Masao. Democracy in Postwar Japan reveals the importance of the contribution made to democratic thought by Maruyama. It also sheds light on contemporary criticisms of Japan's political system.
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Editorial Reviews

Pivoting on writings by Maruyama, who founded Japanese political science, and his concepts of personal and social autonomy, examines the fierce debate, little known or understood outside Japan, over adopting western style democracy after World War II. Covers war responsibility, the Japanese past and national identity, Marx, modernization, fascism, pacifism, and the security treaty crisis of 1960. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Series editor's preface
1 Introduction 1
2 Defeat and democracy in postwar Japan: The war responsibility debate 13
3 The search for autonomy: Maruyama Masao and the Japanese past 49
4 Maruyama, Marx and the shutaisei debate 78
5 Modernisation: the acquisition of autonomy 109
6 Fascism: the antithesis of democracy 137
7 Pacifism, autonomy and the logic of democracy 164
8 Democracy in crisis: the security treaty crisis of 1960 199
9 Conclusion 231
Bibliographies 234
Maruyama Masao: critical Bibliography 260
Index 287
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