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The Emperor and the left in interwar Japan

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Chapter Summary

This chapter argues that it was the political aspect of Rōnō thought that led them to their particular reading of the emperor in modern Japanese history. It suggests that theoretically marginalizing the emperor can be considered as a viable oppositional strategy. The chapter considers the background of the Kōza and Rōnō dispute in the context of the emergence of organized Marxism in Japan, including an examination of the influence of Comintern pronouncements (Theses) on Japanese Marxism, particularly their perspective on the emperor. It examines the debate between two representative thinkers, the Rōnō theorist Inomata Tsunao (1889?1942) and the orthodox, Kōza analyst Noro Eitarō (1901?1934), before drawing some conclusions concerning the locus of the emperor in interwar leftist thought.

Keywords: Inomata Tsunao; interwar; Japan; Kōza; Marxism; Noro Eitarō; Rōnō



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