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From Ideological Literature To A Literary Ideology: "Conversion" In Wartime Japan

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Chapter Summary

This chapter articulates a conception of conversion that transcends the boundaries of the &t;will to truth&t; that Nietzsche cursed. It examines two thinkers in parallel patterns of conversion. The two conversion trajectories, the "Return to Japan" movement and the rejection of Marxism for alternatives, are in a sense both responses to a realization that the model of world history Japan had inherited was unable to account for the historical moment. The chapter suggests that while the formation of some alternative to modernity may have been impossible to realize, in some corners it was still within the realm of the imaginable. The reason that Japan could have one foot fully in the modern mindset and yet still envision an alternative was that the conversion to modernity from whatever came before it had happened so quickly that vestiges of the "not-modern" remained in the mental landscapes of some individuals.

Keywords: conversion; Marxism; modernity; Nietzsche; Return to Japan movement



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