Progressive representations of the nation: Early post-war Japan and Beyond

C. A. Gayle*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


This paper compares Maruyama's Masao's concept of kokuminshugi, or'civic national consciousness', and the Rekishigaku Kenkyukaîs version of minzokushugi, or 'ethnic national consciousness'. During the late 1940s and early 1950s, both Maruyama and members of the Rekiken such as Ishimoda Shō, Inoue Kiyoshi and Tōyama Shigeki, articulated their respective conceptions of nationhood as being ontologically separate from the domain of the post-war state. Yet, while Maruyama's liberal nationalism sought a 'healthy' sense of nationhood through the construction of a democratic revolution, the public sphere, and the notion of politics and culture as fictions, the Rekiken focused upon how to 'liberate' the ethnic nation in Japan and thereby emulate national liberation movements in Asia. In so doing, the Rekiken's approach denied any theoretical or historical legitimacy for the Japanese state and ignored the interrelated problems of national inclusion for those not scripted into their 'discovery' of Japanese 'ethnic culture', as well as specific forms of political organization and institutionalization for their 'new' ethnic nation. Some recent conceptualizations of the Japanese ethnic nation have been used on both the left and the right in similar revisionist critiques of the post-war constitution and political institutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalSocial Science Japan Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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