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Old 02-16-2011, 07:26 AM   #7
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 19

Fred Little wrote: View Post
Hello Peter,

I've finished drafts of the introduction and the first three chapters and have time blocked for the fourth next month. Then come the corrections from the committee..... But inasmuch as a good bit of the third deals with Minakata and Yanagita and their heated disagreements at the inception of minzokugaku, it looks like a trip to the Inter-Library Loan desk for a copy of Oguma's book is in order.

Without giving away the store, and possibly of some use here, there were four major points in those disputes: 1) Yanagita's refusal to accept Darwin 2) Minakata's refusal to accept the positivist notion that change = progress 3) Yanagita's fastidiousness and refusal to allow publication of articles about traditional sexual practices in the countryside & 4) Minakata's emphasis on heterogeneity in general, one example of which was his opposition of hentai as a more accurate mirror of the natural world to kokutai.

I haven't yet found anything more to substantiate the duration or particulars of the relationship between Ueshiba Morihei and Minakata, but the second and fourth of may be relevant to the question highlighted above, and there is a reasonably sound basis for believing the Ueshiba was exposed to these ideas between his service in the Russo-Japanese War and his departure for Hokkaido.

I better hit send before the battery goes....Sorry for the abrupt finish.


Hello Fred,

The chapter on Yanagita in Oguma's book is Chapter 12: "The Birth of an Island Nation's Folklore". Here are the first three paragraphs of the chapter:

"On Christmas Eve, 1919, the year after the March First Independence Movement erupted in Korea, a high ranking bureaucrat resigned. His last government post was Chief Secretary of the House of Peers, but his original area of speciality was agricultural administration. He had also been decorated for his achievements at the time of the Korea annexation. This individual was Yanagita Kunio (1875-1962), who was then 44 years old.

"There is an enormous amount of research on Yanagita, the founder of Japanese folklore studies. (1) However, most of the studies to date have focused solely on Yanagita, and there is little research that satisfactorily locates his thought within the context of the entire Japanese discourse on ethnicity of this period.

"The aim of this book is not to examine the thought of individual theorists, such as Yanagita, but to shed light on and analyze the the national consciousness of Japan as a whole. Yanagita was one of the few writers who moved, contrary to the general tendency of the empire of the period, from the mixed nation theory to the theory of the homogeneous nation. An analysis of Yanagita thus constitutes a valuable case study for understanding the myth of ethnic homogeneity. At the same time, he provides a model case that sheds light on how the 'Japanese' portrayed themselves against a background where Japan was caught between Asia and Europe." (Oguma, A Genealogy of 'Japanese' Self-Images, p. 175.)

The footnote (1) lists 27 Japanese scholars writing after 1978,when Irokawa's book on Yanagita was published. Oguma briefly mentions the dispute with Minakata on p. 186.

So your thesis will obviously fill an important gap. I will consider Oguma's books in detail in TIE 20.

Best wishes,


Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 02-16-2011 at 07:31 AM.

P A Goldsbury
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