Northeast Asia

Organized Panel Session

4 - Hotta Yoshie: Critiquing Colonialism and Nationalism

Saturday, July 7
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Gulmohar, First Floor

    Central to the definition of a Pan-Asian ideology and Japan’s dominant role within it was the issue of modernity and culture and how to overcome Western dominance. Japanese intellectuals sought to define their uniqueness through reinterpreting and grafting myths of origin to a modern nationalism to underline simultaneously their difference and modernity, but how did those not working within this tradition understand the issues facing Japan and the countries in this region?


  In this paper I look at the writings of Hotta Yoshie, a scholar of French literature and a poet who worked for the Society for International Cultural Relations in China, to consider how his critique of Japanese colonialism laid the basis of a wider regional solidarity that was not based on a reactive nationalism.


   Hotta lived in Shanghai from 1945 to 1946, and this transformative experience led him to confront the colonial experience in his postwar writings and to question nationalism. He also wrote one of the earliest works on the occupation of Nanjing in 1937: Time (1953-1955), critiquing  Japanese miltarism and its brutal occupation. In works such as Loss of Homeland (1948-1950) and The Solitude of the City Square (1951) Hotta examined Japanese colonialism and linked it to the postwar period. Hotta worked with the Asian-African Writers’ Conference in the mid-1950’s. and came to India for their meeting and wrote a book, Thoughts from India (1957). His ideas provide a way of thinking about regional solidarity built on a critique of Japanese colonialism.

Brij Tankha

University of Delhi, India

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