Pilgrimages to the Ancient Temples in Nara
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224pp. December 2011
Pilgrimages to the Ancient Temples in Nara
Author: Watsuji Tetsuro; Translator: Nara, Hiroshi;
Watsuji’s Koji Junrei is a book of impressions of a trip he took in 1918 to Japan’s ancient capital of Nara, where he saw a number of Buddhist temples. By then, Watsuji had already published influential, groundbreaking books on Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard and the book Gūzū saikō (Resurrection of Idols).

Koji Junrei is significant in that it began a modern literary trend of “travel writing” about ancient temples and shrines in Japan and elsewhere. While the genre had existed for centuries, it was Koji Junrei that almost singlehandedly resurrected it.

illus.

Distributed for MerwinAsia
“Although a number of works by the celebrated Japanese philosopher Watsuji Tetsuro (1889–1960) have been translated into English, the publication of his Pilgrimages to the Ancient Temples in Nara (Koji junrei), first published in 1919, now makes available his most accessible and beloved work to an international audience. Written after Watsuji had immersed himself in European philosophy, and written a book on Kierkegaard in 1915, this account of his trips to Nara and the surrounding area serves both as a travelogue and a moving account of the interior spiritual journey of a man who, like so many of his generation, wished to grasp the early roots of his own culture, now so influenced in this century by the Western example. This book remains a perennial favorite among Japanese readers and has never been out of print. A modern classic of Japanese cultural history, Pilgrimages makes absorbing reading in this elegant translation, particularly when accompanied with so many striking photographs of the sites that Watsuji describes. This book is a major contribution to modern Japanese cultural studies and should find a wide audience.” —J. Thomas Rimer, professor of Japanese literature, University of Pittsburgh (emeritus)
Author: Watsuji Tetsuro; Translator: Nara, Hiroshi;
Watsuji Tetsuro (1889–1960) taught ethics at the Kyoto Imperial University beginning in 1925, and taught at Tokyo Imperial University from 1935 to 1949. He wrote a number of important books on Japanese cultural history, religion, and ethics. His prewar work was considered to be very influential in forming the emperor-centric ideology.



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