Podcast interview: Ronald P. Loftus, “The Turn Against the Modern”

Taoka Reiun (1870-1912) was a literary critic and thinker who was active from the early 1890s in Meiji period Japan. Not satisfied with the meaning of bunmei kaika (“civilization and enlightenment”), the trajectory that the government had mapped out for the modernization of the country, he called on his readers to question its premises and promises. He found himself drawn to the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer, but at the same time he turned to ancient Indian and Chinese thought, from the Upanishads to Zhuangzi’s essays. In The Turn Against the Modern: The Critical Essays of Taoka Reiun (1870-1912) (Association for Asian Studies, 2017), Ronald Loftus, professor of Japanese language and East Asian History at Willamette University, retraces Taoka Reiun’s personal and professional life from the point of view of the…
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