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Maruyama Lectures Occasional Papers

Two Lectures by Tetsuo Najita, April 2000

Occasional Papers

Maruyama Lecture & Seminar 2000
CJS Occasional Papers 1

Lecture: On History and Politics in the Thought of Maruyama Masao

Of the many roles Maruyama took on as postwar Japan's preeminent advocate of democracy, perhaps one of the most important was that of a translator. For Maruyama, translation was the means by which ideas from vastly different times and places were related to the present-day politics of resisting ideological domination. Tetsuo Najita, as a fellow historian of Japanese thought, offers a sensitive discussion on the importance of translation to Maruyama's "problem-oriented" approach to history. As Najita shows, Maruyama was always translating the thought of his country's past into the present in the hopes of overcoming geographically limited history and the nationalization of political ideas.

Click here for an excerpt from Tetsuo Najita's lecture.

 

Seminar: Some Comments on the Theme of Translation in Ogyu Sorai (1666-1728) and Ogata Koan (1810-1863)

Najita speaks of his own experiences in translating the intellectual work of Tokugawa-era thinkers and the difficulties of "translating the untranslatable." He explains how, in translating the work of Ogyu Sorai, he approached this seemingly insurmountable task by "listening" for patterns of thought in the repetition of themes in Sorai's texts. Najita illustrates how the translator's interpretation of this repetition has an enormous influence on how we interpret ideas belonging to a different time and place.

Click here for an excerpt from Tetsuo Najita's seminar.