Cover: The Failure of Freedom: A Portrait of Modern Japanese Intellectuals, from Harvard University PressCover: The Failure of Freedom in E-DITION

The Failure of Freedom

A Portrait of Modern Japanese Intellectuals

Available from De Gruyter »

Product Details


$65.00 • £54.95 • €60.00

ISBN 9780674280113

Publication Date: 01/01/1969

296 pages


Related Subjects

Harvard University Press has partnered with De Gruyter to make available for sale worldwide virtually all in-copyright HUP books that had become unavailable since their original publication. The 2,800 titles in the “e-ditions” program can be purchased individually as PDF eBooks or as hardcover reprint (“print-on-demand”) editions via the “Available from De Gruyter” link above. They are also available to institutions in ten separate subject-area packages that reflect the entire spectrum of the Press’s catalog. More about the E-ditions Program »

An excellent introduction to Japanese intellectual history in the first third of the twentieth century, this is a study of the intellectual atmosphere that made the development of a constitutional form of government difficult. As heirs to the Meiji Restoration, modern Japanese intellectuals were trapped by the historical paradox that modern Japan was born not so much of the victory of the new forces over the old, as of the skillful self-transformation of the old forces themselves. To reject parts of new Japanese society often meant to reject the whole of it.

Tatsuo Arima examines the period’s philosophical and religious writings and the main literary figures and groups and their works and theories about literature. He finds a widespread anticonstitutional mentality and relates it to the intellectuals’ political behavior. In particular, he analyzes the reasons why prewar Japanese intellectuals, who seemed to be so opposed to the rise of nationalism, took no socially effective action to prevent its emergence and subsequently became its victims.

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket: An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns, by Bruno Latour, translated by Catherine Porter, from Harvard University Press

Honoring Latour

In awarding Bruno Latour the 2021 Kyoto Prize for Arts and Philosophy, the Inamori Foundation said he has “revolutionized the conventional view of science” and “his philosophy re-examines ‘modernity’ based on the dualism of nature and society.” Below is an excerpt from An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns. For more than twenty years, scientific and technological controversies have proliferated in number and scope, eventually reaching the climate itself. Since geologists are beginning to use the term “Anthropocene” to designate the era of Earth’s history that follows the Holocene