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Japanese Cultural Identity And Nineteenth-Century Asian Nationalism: Okakura Tenshin And Swami Vivekananda

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Chapter Summary

Okakura Tenshin wrote many books on traditional Japanese culture but they were written mainly for foreign readers. In the early years of the formation of the modern nation-state, the Japanese intelligentsia tried to reconstruct the country so that it could compete with the Western world in all spheres of life. For Nivedita, as a disciple of Swami Vivekananda, Okakura's discourse was important to underline the centrality of Indian culture in Asia, to wake up the sleeping people of India, and to give the colonized people a sense of national pride. The common concept for these two Asian nations was the spirituality of Asian culture as an antipode to the materialism of Western culture. For Vivekananda, Goddess Kali is a symbol of life and death, the giver of life and the destroyer; that is the great mother of the universe, the womb of the earth of India.

Keywords: Asian nations; Goddess Kali; Indian culture; Japanese culture; Nivedita; Okakura Tenshin; Swami Vivekananda; Western culture



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