Politics and Sinology: The Case of Naitō Konan (1866-1934)
Council on East Asian Studies, Harvard University, 1984 - History - 420 pages
Naito Konan's periodization of Chinese history is responsible for shaping the twentieth-century Western view of China. Naito was a journalist in the vibrant Meiji press for twenty years, during which he became recognized as Japan's leading Sinologist. He then assumed a chair in China Studies at Kyoto University, where he taught for twenty years, remaining all the while a prolific writer on public affairs. Joshua Fogel's biography treats Naito holistically, pointing up the intricate connections between his Sinological and political interests.
As a part of an ongoing tradition based in jitsugaku (concern with the practical applications of knowledge), Naito focused on what he took to be Japan's mission, after its own Meiji reforms, to help China implement comparable reforms. His emphasis on Chinese history and culture as the central influence in East Asia strengthened his Pan-Asian political convictions.
Fogel's study offers a penetrating look at a scholar-journalist whose influence, fifty years after his death, is still powerful.