The Politics of Time in China and Japan: Back to the Future

Book Cover: The Politics of Time in Japan and China: Back to the Future
Viren Murthy. The Politics of Time in China and Japan: Back to the Future. Routledge, 2022.

Drawing on a wide range of texts and using an interdisciplinary approach, this volume shows how Chinese and Japanese intellectuals mobilized the past to create a better future. It is especially significant today given a world where, amidst tensions within Asia and the rise of China, East Asian intellectuals and governments constantly find new political meanings in their traditions. The essays illuminate how throughout Chinese and Japanese history, thinkers constantly weaved together nationalism, internationalism, and a politics of time. This volume explores a broad range of subjects such as premodern and early modern attempts to conjure a politics of Confucianism, twentieth-century Japanese Marxist interpretations of Buddhism, and Japanese and Chinese endeavors to imagine a new world order. In sum, this book shows us why understanding East Asian pasts are essential to making sense of ideological trends in contemporary China and Japan. For example, without understanding Confucianism and how modern intellectuals in China grappled with this body of thought, we would be unable to make sense of the Chinese government’s current promotion of the Chinese classics. This book will interest students and scholars of political science, history, Asian studies, sociology, and philosophy.

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