The political philosophy of Maruyama Masao : cosmopolitanism from the Far East

Izumi, Takashi
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [December 2013]
This study aims to draw more attention from Western audiences to the political insight and philosophy of Masao Maruyama (1914--1996), the most prominent political thinker in twentieth-century Japan. My study concentrates on introducing Western readers to his style of universalism and his unique cosmopolitan ideas. In this study, I present some of the most interesting aspects of his political thought, such as the thesis of the vicious cycle between false universalism and ethnocentrism, cosmopolitanism as the sense of neighbors, and democracy as a permanent revolution. Some recent important studies have successfully reconstructed Maruyama's theory of modern subjectivity from the side of his theory of others. These previous studies, however, might misguide the reader about the development of Maruyama's political thought; it appears that some think that, over time, Maruyama gradually shifted his focus from the theory of modern subjectivity to that of otherness. This study reveals that Maruyama was, in fact, presenting his cosmopolitan ideas in preliminary sketches even in his early works. Using his well-known essay "Theory and Psychology of Ultra-Nationalism" (Maruyama 1946 [1969]), this study demonstrates the early emergence of his universalist and cosmopolitan ideas. Concurrently, it attempts to prove that Maruyama was consistent in his primary concern with the nurture of the active and self-standing human agent of the Japanese and the establishment of modern individualism in Japan. My work also provides an introduction to Maruyama's epistemology on universality and particularity, the "universalist standpoint on ideals," which has the theoretical potential to encourage political scientists to reconsider the self-evident use of the concept of indigeneity. This study concludes that Maruyama's cosmopolitanism appeared from within a psychologically introverted society and through his long-term dissension with the Japanese social trend of compulsory homogenization. His cosmopolitanism looks similar to the cosmopolitan multiculturalism of Western political theory. However, his theory has a different background from its counterpart of Western cosmopolitanism, which has developed in more culturally diverse societies. The dominance of collectivism and valuing of homogeneity in Japanese society overwhelmingly pressures the Japanese to comply with authority and conform to the social majority. In this regard, it is presumed that the emergence of the cosmopolitan thinker is an exceptional case in Japan. The following study offers a good preparation for the East-West comparison in political theory, including, but not limited to, the topics of otherness, cosmopolitanism, and the political uses of culture.
Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2013.
Includes bibliographical references.
Masao Maruyama, universalism, cosmopolitanism, ethnocentrism, philosophy
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