Nitobe Inazô: Japan's Bridge across the Pacific

By John F. Howes | Go to book overview

1
Who Was Nitobe?

John F. Howes and George Oshiro

This book deals with the enigmatic Nitobe Inazô ( 1862-1933), a man who during his lifetime regularly made headlines throughout the world but was forgotten after Japan's disastrous defeat in 1945. Yet with the disappearance of the man from the public consciousness many of the causes for which he worked have become an accepted part of Japanese society. One of the first Japanese to learn English, he achieved a fluency only now being approached as Japan makes the mastery of English a major element in its educational planning. The first Japanese to attempt in one volume to interpret his people's culture to those outside Japan, his Bushido: the Soul of Japan became a best seller and spawned a host of similar works; their intellectual descendants continue to make frequent appearances. The first Japanese to achieve a responsible position as an international civil servant when he became the Under-Secretary General of the League of Nations, Nitobe founded what would become UNESCO. His unexpected death in Canada five thousand miles from home was world news; two days later 750 people in Vancouver attended a memorial service for this most international of Japanese individuals.

Nitobe's career, which spanned four decades and several continents, makes in itself fascinating reading but also illuminates broader ideas and topics. The operations of important twentieth-century institutions, such as the League of Nations or the Institute of Pacific Relations, both of which Nitobe served brilliantly, are two examples. The wide range of Nitobe's activities both within Japan and abroad makes his biography an ideal prism through which to view how pressing issues in prewar Japan impinged upon Japanese leaders.

Nitobe's historical importance extends to other areas. As a noted educator, he played a crucial role in the development of higher education for both men and women. He made an important contribution to both the theory and practice of Japanese colonial policy. And his articles on popular morality helped shape the ideals and aspirations of young people for decades.

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Nitobe Inazô: Japan's Bridge across the Pacific
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • About the Contributors xv
  • Editorial Conventions xvii
  • One - Introduction 1
  • 1 - Who Was Nitobe? 3
  • Two - Maturation 25
  • 2 - Roots 27
  • 3 - Graduate Student and Quaker 71
  • Three - Cultural Identity 77
  • 4 - Japann Watchers: 1903-1931 79
  • 5 - Bushido: Its Admirers and Critics 117
  • 6 - Philippine Bushido 130
  • 7 - Toward Remaking Manliness 155
  • Four - Japan in the World 157
  • 8 - Colonial Theories and Practices in Prewar Japan 159
  • Notes 174
  • 9 - The Geneva Spirit 209
  • Five - Evaluation 215
  • 10 - Journalism: the Last Bridge 217
  • 12 - The End: 1929-1933 272
  • 13 - Darkened Lanterns in a Distant Garden 301
  • 14 - Conclusion 315
  • About the Book and Editor 317
  • Index 319
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