Sokendai Review of Cultural and Social Studies


The Orientation of Yone Noguchi’s
thinking in the latter half of the 1920s:
Observations on his articles for Kokuhon.

Madoka, HORI

(The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, School of Cultural and Social Studies,
Department of Japanese Studies

Key words:

Kokuhon (magazine title), Kokuhon-ism, Minpon-ism, Nature-Apotheosis, Shinto-ism, Anarchism, Modernism, Mysticism, George Meredith(1828-1909), Paganism

This paper examines the direction of Yone Noguchi’s thinking in the latter half of the 1920s, taking as its focus the articles he contributed to Kokuhon (a Japanese magazine published from 1921 to 1936). In the period of 1910s-1920s, the English-language articles written by Noguchi for British and American magazines had established his presence in the field of Western Modernist literature. Furthermore, he was highly respected in the Japanese literary world, and he contributed to such important poetry magazines as Nihon-shizhin and Shisei. From a general overview of his literary contribution and activity set squarely in literary modernism, his contribution to such a right-wing magazine as Kokuhon seems quite out of character for Noguchi. However, examination of his writings in Kokuhon gives us insight into the complex problems confronting Noguchi in the 1940s.

This paper takes up the issues of Noguchi’s cognition of thought and his controversial arguments, by comparing them to the predisposition of Kokuhon which came represent ‘‘the fundamental characteristic of the nation’’. Noguchi advocated the ‘Nature-Apotheosis’ as an international and universalistic way of thinking without any of the pious attitudes directed to the Japanese Imperial structure or Shinto-ism. However, his thought process, which stands in contrasted to the Western thought of writers such as Meredith, presents a complex and unsure context. This paper discusses this ambiguous stance taken by Noguchi in the period of Taisho-Democracy and of the period that lead to the formation of Nationalistic Ideology.