- Series: Weatherhead Books on Asia
- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Columbia University Press (September 14, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0231136218
- ISBN-13: 978-0231136211
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,722,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Contemporary Japanese Thought (Weatherhead Books on Asia)
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
An admirable, engrossing, and valuable collection. (Andrew Barshay International Journal of Asian Studies)
Important for making accessible to Western audiences not only the existence but the richness of the theoretical debates taking place within a non-Western society. (Chikako Endo, H-Net)
The book deserves to be widely read beyond (as well as within) the bounds of Japanese studies (Tessa Morris-Suzuki Japanese Studies)
[Calichman has] rendered us a tremendous service. This collection makes a powerful first step toward filling a definite need. (Michael K. Bourdaghs Philosophy East & West)
About the Author
Richard F. Calichman is assistant professor of Japanese studies at the City College of New York, CUNY. He is the author of Takeuchi Yoshimi: Displacing the West and the editor and translator of What Is Modernity? Writings of Takeuchi Yoshimi (Columbia). He lives in New York City.
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My chief complaint with this book is that the title promises much more than it delivers. The articles are all pretty much examples of Postmodern thought in its various permutations and staunchly left in political orientation, with a strong dose of French influence. (If you have a penchant for this stuff, this book is definitely for you). This is all fine and well as far as it goes, and the editor makes no bones about the criteria of selection so everything is all up front and honest. With this in mind, though, the title is misleadingly general--something more like "Postmodern Thought in Contemporary Japan" would have been more apropos, or perhaps "Derrida does Tokyo" if we are in a flippant mood.
For that matter, a little more balance might have improved the book. Several of the thinkers included argue against other contemporary Japanese thinkers vociferously, but since the latter are excluded from the selection for being insufficiently leftist, postmodern, or Francophile, the reader is prevented from seeing the debate in all its fullness--and nothing decontsructs reified preconceptions of a monolithic "Japan" & "Japanese Thought" like the firsthand spectacle of different Japanese thinkers involved in no-holds-barred debate. Presumably this was one of the aims of the book, after all.
One more thing: Calichman is a truly fine translator, but someone need to take him aside and explain to him that the purpose of an introduction is to make the inaccessible accessible and the unfamiliar familiar, not the other way around.