Nakamura Mitsuo's Modern Thought (kindaishugi) Literary Criticism as by pharmphresh34

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									           Nakamura Mitsuo' s Modern Thought (kindaishugi):
                        Literary Criticism as Social Revolusion: Part 2.


                                                                                  IWAMOTO Shin'ichi

     As we saw in my previous paper, in 1931 Nakamura Mitsuo was referring to proletarian writers as
"us", but in 1935 he began instead to use "them." It would thus appear that between 1931 and 1935 he
abandoned his earlier political beliefs. This paper discusses to what extent Nakamura' s views actually
changed during this period.
     As I showed in my previous paper, Nakamura was attracted to the proletarian literary movement by
"realism as method." At that time, the movement was being called on to maintain absolute unity in order
to resist suppression by the establishment, yet Nakamura played an active part in a group that was
critical of the movement' s leaders. He did so because discussions of Marxism as an ideology had no
meaning for him. However, when faced with the prevailing hostile environment he began to realize that
he could not achieve his ideal of realism within the proletarian literary movement. As a result, he broke
away and left Tokyo.
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     In 1933, Nakamura read a critique of the shishosetsu ("I-novel") by Kobayashi Hideo which gave
a certain amount of recognition to proletarian literature. He felt himself vindicated by this critique,
which he interpreted as recognizing his own belief in realist literature. In other words, Nakamura' s shift
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from proletarian literature to criticism of the shishosetsu was not due to Kobayashi' s influence; rather,
his own realist stance caused him to leave the proletarian literary movement, and he then engaged with
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the issues posed by Kobayashi' s criticism of the shishosetsu.
     At the same time, Nakamura was aware that his point of view differed from Kobayashi' s in that the
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latter was able to criticize both proletarian literature and the shishosetsu from an unequivocal position of
modernism, while Nakamura himself was a product of the Japanese ie system, the traditional family
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system that had nurtured the shishosetsu, and he had also participated in the proletarian literary
movement. It was this self-awareness that made Nakamura unique.
     Nakamura had originally aspired to write fiction, but in order to develop this unique point of view
he turned to literary criticism. He produced a close analysis of proletarian literature, thereby distancing
himself from it. His analysis drew criticism from the proletarian writer Nakano Shigeharu and gave rise
to a debate. While it is true that Nakamura attacked proletarian literature in this debate, he did so not as
an outsider, but from an insider' s point of view that included self-criticism.
     Although Nakamura' s actions can, in some ways, be seen as a repudiation of his former beliefs, his
orientation toward realist literature remained consistent throughout, and in that sense there was no
"conversion." Nakamura suffered deeply due to his experience as an "apostate," and it was as a result of
this suffefing that he succeeded in internalizing his thinking. In other words, the key question is not
whether he should be considered to have renounced his beliefs, but what he gained from the experience
that is so described. Nakamura himself viewed this experience as the crucial factor in the development
of his thinking.
IWAMOTO Shin'ichi

								
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