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Tosaka Jun: A Critical Reader

168 Tosaka Jun: A Critical Reader
Ken C. Kawashima, Fabian Schaefer, Robert Stolz, eds.
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Tosaka Jun (1900-1945) was one of modern Japan’s most unique, urgent, and important critics of capitalism, Japanese imperialism, the emperor system, “Japanism,” and everyday life in imperial Japan. A philosopher trained at Kyoto University, Tosaka made major contributions to the advancement of Marxism and historical materialism in Japan, most notably as the central figure at the Yuibutsuron kenkyūkai. His writings reveal a true renaissance thinker, moving from the history and philosophy of science to profound and brilliant studies of everyday life, media, fascism, militarism, and what Tosaka called “The Japanese ideology.” His Marxist philosophy especially sought to move beyond a mechanistic Marxism, and to criticize the diverse ways in which cultural productions of the nation, the empire, and “Japan,” were deeply implicated in capitalist exploitation, imperialist domination in Asia, and fascist war.

This volume brings together for the first time in English translation some of Tosaka’s most important texts on everyday life, film, media, the police, technology, science, and more. What these essays reveal is a unique and urgent voice of protest and prescient critique amidst modern Japan’s darkest political years in the 1930s. Using Tosaka’s thought his critique is further expanded in essays by contemporary scholars of modern Japanese history, philosophy, culture, and economy. | 360 pages


Preface | Introduction: The Darkness of the Lived Moment H.D. Harootunian

Part One: The Texts

  • The Principle of Everydayness and Historical Time trans. Robert Stolz
  • On Space (Introduction and Conclusion) trans. Robert Stolz 
  • The Academy and Journalism trans. Chris Kai-Jones 
  • Laughter, Comedy, and Humor trans. Chris Ahn 
  • The Fate of Japanism trans. John Person 
  • Theory of the Intelligentsia and Theory of Technology trans. Takeshi Kimoto
  • Liberalist Philosophy trans. John Person 
  • The Police Function trans. Ken C. Kawashima
  • Film as a Reproduction of the Present trans. Gavin Walker
  • Film Art and Film trans. Gavin Walker

Part Two: Critical Expansions

  • Here, Now: Everyday Space as Cultural Critique Robert Stolz
  • The Actuality of Journalism and the Possibility of Everyday Critique Fabian Schäfer 
  • The Dialectic of Laughter and Tosaka’s Critical Theory Katsuya Hirano
  • Immaterial Technique and Mass Intelligence: Tosaka Jun on Technology Takeshi Kimoto 
  • Filmic Materiality and Historical Materialism: Tosaka Jun and the Prosthetics of Sensation Gavin Walker 
  • Notes towards a critical analysis of chronic recession and ideology: Tosaka Jun on the “Police Function” Ken C. Kawashima
  • The Multitude and The Holy Family: Empire, Fascism, and the War Machine Katsuhiko Endo
  • Index

  • Ken C. KAWASHIMA is Associate Professor, Department of East Asian Studies, University of Toronto. He is the author of The Proletarian Gamble: Korean Workers in Interwar Japan (Duke University Press, 2009), and the English translator of Uno Kozo’s Theory of Crisis (forthcoming, Brill and Haymarket presses). Currently, he is researching the history of recorded sound and music.
  • Fabian SCHÄFER is Professor of Japanese Studies at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. He is the author of Public Opinion, Propaganda, Ideology: Theories on the Press and its Social Function in Interwar Japan, 1918-1937 (Brill, 2012) and editor of Tosaka Jun: Ideology, Media, Everydayness (in German; Leipziger Universitätsverlag, 2011).
  • Robert STOLZ is Assistant Professor of Modern Japanese History, University of Virginia. He is the author of Bad Water: Nature, Pollution, and Politics in Japan 1870-1950 (Forthcoming, Duke University Press). His current research is on the relationship between ecology, capitalism, and politics. He has published in Japan Forum and The Asia-Pacific Journal.



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