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Title: Ultra-Nationalism & Socialism-from-Above in the Early Kita Ikki
Authors: Howard, Nicholas Gregory
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis argues that pre-war Japanese intellectual history has been fundamentally misunderstood in English language scholarly literatures hitherto – especially in relation to the critical importance of political concepts of ‘left’ and ‘right’ in Japan reaching back to the Meiji era (1868-1912). To clarify the validity of such concepts in Japan and beyond, this thesis offers a new treatment of early 20th century political thinker, Kita Ikki, to resolve, in particular, the controversial question of whether he hails from the right or the left on the political spectrum, whether he was an ultra-nationalist or a leftwing socialist. Kita is famous as one of the most important ‘radicals’ of the pre-Second World War era and has been ascribed various status: fascist, ultra-nationalist, militarist, imperialist, Pan-Asianist, national or state socialist, and leftist-socialist (Martin 1959; Wilson 1969; Maruyama 1969; Tanaka 1971; Matsuzawa ed. 1977; Tankha 2006; Hagihara 2011). He is also often seen as an ‘enigma’ (Szpilman 2002) or as expressive of how right and left ‘hardly apply’ in Japan (Wilson 1966). Breaking with standard accounts, this thesis critiques the idea that the early Kita stemmed from the left of the political spectrum (Martin 1959). A careful and close reading of salient early texts by Kita (from 1903 and 1906) firmly suggests he expounds a concept of socialism stemming from the far right. This thesis argues that Kita’s early anti-internationalist and explicitly anti-Marxian national socialism (kokka shakaishugi) from late Meiji is key to understanding his overall thought, which is also steeped in an early Platonic statist socialism bound up with his Sino-Japanese Mencian-statist rebellion. The thesis concludes by comparing Kita’s early ultra-nationalist (but non-fascist) socialism-from-above with late 19th and early 20th century European extreme nationalisms – e.g., Barrès, D’Annunzio, Corradini, and Mussolini – and helps to clarify similarities and differences between ultra-nationalism and fascism generally, using an original political scale developed herein. Keywords or key orientations: Kita Ikki; left and right in Japan; socialisms; ultranationalism; fascism; political scales; Hegel-Marx; East Asian and black radicalism as method; deep inclusion versus varieties of exclusion; complex, mediated, transnational, overlapping universalities contra both abstract static universalisms & purist, absolute relativisms
Description: Ph. D. Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

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