Constructing the Subjectivity of World History Narration

All along, in the pattern of globalization, Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America and other regions are looking for their own path to catch up or break through. In the extremely unstable period of the current world order, the possibility of rethinking the world pattern needs to actively absorb various ideological resources from different civilizations—especially the different civilizations in the process of modernization based on their own national traditions for the modern process. Thinking. In view of this, this journal will focus on the exploration of modern ideas by different civilizations that have been obscured by mainstream European and American modern thoughts.

In this issue, the topic of “Asian Thought” is published by the former editor of Japan’s “Ideology” magazine. Kojima discusses the subjectivity of the Japanese world history narrative by commenting on the late historian Uehara. Before the war, Uehara was an expert in the study of German medieval history. However, in the decades after the war, he stopped all professional studies on German medieval history and devoted himself to the post-war Japanese peace movement and the democratic movement. Kojima pointed out that on the basis of deep concern for real politics, Uehara gave up the historical research of the original profession and made a profound introspection on the situation in which Japanese society ignored the value of independence and lost the subject of thought. Uehara believes that thinking about world history must have a distinct “subjective consciousness”, and thus must contain reflections on “considering what you should be in the real world, what you can become” – for individual intellectuals, The same is true of a nation and a country.

1. Does Japan have original knowledge and ideas?

From 1977 to 2017, I worked in the Yanbo Bookstore for 40 years, most of which was done as an editor. From the 1980s to the 1990s, I was the editor of Thought magazine for about nine years, and was the editor-in-chief of the magazine from 1993 to 1999. Due to the recent dramatic changes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe during this period, it is precisely the period when capitalist globalization has rapidly promoted the development of the world to a unified pattern, and it is also a period of increased friction among ethnic, religious and ethnic issues around the world. This experience has especially made me Gained valuable experience in confronting the ideological and political issues of the times at the level of thought.

In the editorial life of more than 40 years, I have always had a question: Is there any original or not “borrowed” thought or learning in Japan? Almost all of Japan’s knowledge and ideas in modern times have been introduced from Europe, but this is not my problem. Whether thoughts or learning arises in foreign countries or in the homeland is not the most important for its originality. What is important is whether we have a problem consciousness, with our own subjectivity to know what kind of problems we are facing, what kind of nature these problems have, and what kind of structure or opposition they are forming. If we have such a sense of problem, then the ideas and theories we refer to are either foreign or indigenous, and they are not a problem at all. No matter what kind of knowledge or thought, if you use it, you can use it. If you don’t use it, you can discard it. That’s it. The question I have is: Is the modern Japanese really aware of the subjective attitude?

In the 1990s, when I edited the “Cultural Studies” album of “Ideology,” I was deeply impressed by the distinctive subjectivity of this British school in the face of its problems. The “Cultural Studies” school is regarded as the latest popular ideological trend after post-modern thinking in Japan, and it is popular in Japan along with post-colonial ideas. The “Ideological” organization of the album to introduce it is based on the academic trends of overseas and Japan at that time. Later, I had the opportunity to have a conversation with Stuart Hall, one of the founders of the “Cultural Studies” school. According to Hall, although “cultural studies” originated in the 1960s, the most important issue for them was how to counter the sharp reactionary trend in the political and cultural fields that emerged under the Thatcher regime in the 1980s. Therefore, they mobilized not only media analysis, mass culture research, but also post-structuralism, communication theory, and so on.

After talking to Hall, I realized that the distinctive mixed nature of the “cultural studies” school on the source of thought was brought about by its practicality. Moreover, Hall et al. have not been fascinated by the so-called original worship of the academic circles, and always maintain a strong subjective attitude towards understanding and practice, which is deeply impressed by me. Compared with Hall’s attitude, Japanese researchers and our publishers only treat “cultural studies” as new ideological commodities worthy of input. The problem consciousness and the subjectivity of thoughts are too weak. This gap makes me feel awkward.

Of course, not all scholarship in the world has or must have such practicality. What I want to say is that the “cultural studies” school, which has such a strong practical subjectivity in the birthplace of the United Kingdom, has only been regarded as an academic new trend after being introduced by Japan. That is to say, the common methods of work of Japanese scholars and intellectuals are not to first discuss issues from the historical and political realities of Japanese society, but to obtain new types of props from foreign countries, and then find out from Japanese society. The reality of this kind of props. This keeps me questioning in the process of doing editorial work. Can the Japanese really think about things by themselves?

Second, the inspiration of Uehara’s special

“Is there a question of whether Japan is borrowing but original ideas and learning?” I was inspired by a historian who had died more than 40 years ago, Uehara, and I have been with him for more than 30 years. The “dialogue” gradually precipitated. Uehara Special (1899 ~ 1975) is an expert in German history. In the 1920s, he studied at the University of Vienna and became a full member of the famous European middle-aged historian Alfons Dopsch. He was subjected to rigorous academic training, which was rare among Japanese students at the time. In Japan under the state of the Second World War, he immersed himself in interpreting the original historical materials of the history of German Middle Ages, and forced the German scholars to correct his historical studies with empirical research. However, in the decades after the war, Uehara stopped all professional studies on the history of German Middle Ages and became a powerful promoter of the Japanese peace movement and the democratic movement after the war. His fierce criticism of Japanese politics and society received considerable attention at the time. This article is not intended to elaborate on the whole of Uehara’s thoughts, but only focuses on the fundamental criticism of Uehara on the spiritual structure of Japanese society. These critiques are both a critique of Uehara as a Japanese and a way to break free from it.

(1) Ignorance and indifference to “independence”

The first question that Uehara criticized was that the Japanese after the war showed surprising ignorance and indifference to the value of “independence.”

From the introspection of the Pacific War, Uehara believes that Japanese nationals after independence should have an independent understanding of world history, both as individuals and as nationals. They should be able to unite the world, Japan and themselves, and obtain a basis on this basis. An attitude of living in a subject. However, in the “San Francisco Peace Treaty” signed in 1951 to recognize Japan’s “independence”, the “Japan Peace Treaty” excludes the Soviet Union hostile to the United States and China, which is the biggest victim of Japan’s war, and only pro-American countries. The talks and treaties (the so-called “single talks”), and the “Japan-US Safeguards Treaty” is in exchange for Japan’s “independence”, agreeing that the US military stationed on all the land of Japan and can use it as a US military base. Free to use. Moreover, starting from the US military strategy, the “San Francisco Peace Treaty” does not recognize Japan’s sovereignty over the “inherent” islands such as Okinawa, Amami, and Ogasawara. The San Francisco conference gave Japan the so-called “independence” and could not even be an independent substitute. On the practice of giving Japan’s land to the US military for free use and handing Okinawa to the United States indefinitely, Uehara made a fierce criticism. He believes that a country that does not care about defending the territory of its own country will be equally arbitrarily invading the territory of other countries.

In view of this, we can understand why today’s researchers believe that this process is Japan’s “American satellite nationalization.” However, at that time, not only did the Japanese government unconditionally accept the two treaties, but countless Japanese nationals also welcomed them. Japanese nationals have never seriously discussed what such “independence” means for Japan and for the world. What is “independence” and what does “sovereignty recovery” mean?

Another test of the Japanese consciousness of “independence” is the conclusion of the new Japan-US security guarantee treaty of 1960. At that time, Japan’s unprecedented national-level opposition campaign broke out, but it was not the content of the new treaty in terms of content anger among the people in the various circles (that is, it further deepened Japan’s military and economic subordination to the United States and further violated Japan’s Independence), but this treaty was forcibly adopted by the government, which undermined “parliamentary democracy.” However, after the new treaty was finally approved by the National Assembly, the opposition movement was immediately terminated, and the propaganda of the annexed government quickly occupied the position of the speech, claiming that the new treaty improved the “right” between Japan and the United States. Equivalence.” Uehara had given some hope to this national-scale opposition movement, but when he saw that the new treaty was once again quickly accepted by the Japanese society, he was once again hit by the Japanese people’s indifference to “independence.”

These examples fully demonstrate how the Japanese are contemptuous of “independence” and how they feel about the independence of dignity and the seriousness of maintaining this dignity. This indifference to the issue of independence is also manifested in the lack of interest of the Japanese in the independent struggles of the Afghan countries in the 1950s, and the lack of attention to the impact of these struggles on world history. In the first half of the 1950s, Uehara realized that these movements had the important significance of rewriting the history of the world, but for most Japanese, the world at that time had only one color for the Soviet Union, and the independence struggle between the Asian and African countries was basically It is not within its line of sight. People in the countries of Asia and Africa must gain independence no matter how much sacrifice they make. Uehara believes that this will to gain independence is completely different from power struggle or resource competition. What he found in this will is the universality of “nationalism” that exists to shape human dignity. At this point, Uehara can be said to be one of the few intellectuals in Japan who can claim to be “nationalism”. However, most Japanese nationals who live in the “independence under US domination” are completely incapable of understanding this “Asian mood” (this is Uehara’s name for Asian nationalism).

From the struggle for independence between the Asian and African countries, Uehara also learned the necessary preconditions for “independence” to be “peace.” The politicians of the Asian and African countries, especially the Prime Minister of Nehru in India and the President Sukarno of Indonesia, initially thought of “world peace” on the condition of “independence”, but with the intensification of the Cold War in the 1950s. They found that “world peace” is the most important value of mankind; in order to realize it, the necessary condition is that the countries of the world cannot be subordinate to the big country and become their minions, but must ensure the freedom of action with the “independent” subject. In post-war Japan, peace exists as absolute value along with democracy. But for the majority of Japanese who don’t care or understand the value of “independence”, they simply don’t realize that to achieve true peace, they must first be independent, that is, they must abolish Japan’s not only belonging to the United States but also to the American world strategy. The security treaty of the active participants and the security treaty system. Especially after the 1960s, the new security treaty system also took root at the bottom of Japanese society, and even the peace movement has put aside the security treaty. When the peace movement lost its link to the real political dimension of the abolition of the security system, it became a conceptual movement based solely on Article 9 of the Constitution. Here, the consideration of the security treaty and the peace constitution as a whole, that is, the deceptive pacifism of Japan, which was criticized today as “one country pacifism”, was completely constructed at that time.

(2) Loss of subjectivity in the understanding of the modern world

The ignorance and indifference of “independence” led to the loss of subjectivity in the post-war Japanese when they knew the world, and the inability to understand the importance of seeing the world with their own eyes. This is the second critical point of Uehara.

As mentioned above, the “San Francisco Peace Treaty” was concluded under the “single talk”, which turned Japan into a “subsidiary state” of the United States (satellite country). Many Japanese intellectuals only grasp this point and believe that the “Japan Peace Treaty” and the “Japan-US Safeguards Treaty” have intensified the Cold War and raised the danger of Japan’s involvement in the war launched by the United States, that is, from the perspective of security. Starting to criticize; but Uehara believes that one of the greatest harms brought about by the “single talk” and the security treaty is that the Japanese have since “only seen the world with one eye.” In other words, what he criticized is that “single talk” and the security treaty have caused the Japanese to have a huge blind spot in their understanding of the world. For Uehara, the choice of “speaking alone” and the security treaty is not purely an international political act, but premised on Japan’s choice of a specific view of the world (that is, the views of the United States) and values. And by deeply deepening into the spirit and body of the nation, it has completely captured the subjectivity of Japanese nationals’ understanding of the world and their self-knowledge. The “single talk” and the security treaty are not only the failure of Japan’s independence, but also the Japanese being placed outside the subject of knowing the world.

This distorted understanding of the world (also a distortion of self-awareness) became a decisive trend between the years after the establishment of the new security treaty in 1960. At this time, the distortion is not even realized, and the Japanese imagination of the whole world has been rapidly reduced to the imagination of the relationship between Japan and the United States. As a result, the world’s understanding based on the US’s world strategy has been replaced by the Japanese in the unconsciously replacing the real world; the “subordinate to the world” that has continued to this day has been Become a decisive trend. The lack of subjectivity in the world of Japanese understanding, which was gradually deepened after the signing of the “Single Speaking” and the Security Treaty in 1951, has finally been completed.

On the other hand, this period is another period of high economic development in Japan. The university has been building and expanding in succession, and the unprecedented prosperity of journals and publishing industry has stabilized the status and income of scholars and intellectuals. In the 1960s, the US ambassador to Japan, Rasholl, also adopted a clever cultural strategy to improve the Japanese society’s understanding of the United States and consolidate the Japan-US alliance. At the same time, scholars and intellectuals have also “forgotten” the issue of independence. In Japanese society, they spread the “sublimation of beauty” in the air. They have to take certain responsibility for taking “resistance” and “principal criticism” from all Japanese society.

Uehara has never used the term “high growth period” in his work, but has consistently used the “new security treaty system.” I speculate that this is because in order not to forget how many voices of rapid economic development, we are always firmly bound by the iron and steel system of the security treaty system.

From the 1970s to today, consciously and even unconsciously attributed the problems of Japan’s ideological problems after the war to the critical remarks of subordinates to the United States, whether in the political left or the right. However, they have not been able to get rid of “the subordination of the United States” because the United States has become a privileged object of criticism, and the real problem is not “to the United States” but to “subordinates”, that is, the lack of subjectivity. This is missing from the critics’ vision. What Uehara criticized was that he placed himself outside the subject in world cognition, and this is not only a form of subordination to the United States. In post-war Japan, many intellectuals recognized the world of the Soviet Union or China as the real world. Their “subordinate to Su” and “subordinate to the subordinate” are also as unconscious as “subordinate to the United States.”

(3) Absence of “Political Meaning of Politics”

The third critique put forward by Uehara is that the “peaceful politics” in Japan is absent. In other words, there is a lack of “free political consciousness” or a lack of “political awareness of human dignity.” In Japan, of course, there are also technologies of power and interest distribution, “friendship and enemies”, specific systems for the formation of social order, and so on. What Uehara sees is that the consciousness that freedom has irreplaceable value and that freedom is the core of human dignity are very weak in Japanese society.

The “deep sense of politics” that Uehara said is not special, whether in ancient Greece or in modern Europe, especially in the independence movements of his Asian and African countries, those who built specific political systems. The struggle, at the root of it, has such a “deep sense of politics” is pushing. Uehara said that “independence” is “the problem of restoring the rights that should have been” and “establishing the issue of authority as human beings”, but he also wants to show that “independence” is closely related to “politics of deep meaning”. It can even be said that “independence” should be the basis of “politics of deep meaning.”

The Japanese people’s awareness of the value of freedom is very weak, and it is also integrated with its ignorance and indifference to the value of “independence”. In Japan, the word “freedom” often means “cozy”, so Uehara rarely uses it, and he often uses “subject” and “autonomous”, which are actually synonymous with “freedom.” “Freedom to live”, of course, does not mean a state of life that is not bound by anything, but rather a subjective commitment to the current situation, autonomously and positively corresponding to the situation and involved in the situation. Therefore, a society that does not respect freedom and does not respect human dignity is hard to produce strong social changes.

Uehara saw that Japan, a defeated country in the Second World War, failed to build a “dignified society” despite the rare economic development in history from the 1950s to the 1960s. The reason is that the Japanese failed. The attempt to “the politics of deep meaning” has been conscious, and the attempt to create the subject of “the politics of deep meaning” has also failed. After 1960, Uehara paid great attention to the issue of “national formation”, and it was precisely to overcome the problem of the “deep sense of politics” in Japanese society. However, in the final stage of his life, Uehara’s self-reporting struggle was a failure. The weight of this sentence is very heavy. Today, after more than forty years after the death of Uehara, we still have not been able to achieve “independence.” Even so, we can say that we are getting farther and farther away from “independence.”

Here, I would like to discuss some of Uehara’s thinking about “the politics of deep meaning” and the relationship between democracy. Those who live today can take it for granted that the most effective way to ensure individual freedom and dignity is democracy in political and social systems. However, Uehara pointed out that historically, the so-called “democratic” form, whether traced back to ancient Greece or modern Europe, has diversity due to time. In other words, the concept and practice of democracy are the products of history. But today, a particular form of democracy has been selected from the diversity of democracies to be standardized and universal in the world. This is not the result of truth or justice, but the result of world political mechanics. It is based on this understanding that Uehara did not put aside the issue of democracy. Although he was one of the few intellectuals who struggled to make real democracy take root in post-war Japanese society, he did not easily join the democratic chorus after the war. This is precisely because he is well aware of the historic nature of democracy and therefore opposes the abstraction and absolute treatment of democracy.

The “deep sense of politics” and democracy that Uehara said are different levels of things. The most fundamental problem in him is that democracy is also good, and other political ideas are good. As long as it is related to politics, it is necessary to consider how they relate to “deep-meaning politics” and to what extent Deep sense of politics.” Uehara believes that democracy is not a measure of politics, and that “the politics of deep meaning” is the measure of democracy.

After the war, the Japanese were ignorant and indifferent to “independence”, and the lack of real world understanding and lack of “deep sense of politics”, and they were not conscious of these issues in general. These three points of insight into the inner weakness of Japan’s post-war thoughts have given me important inspiration. In view of this, the prescription that Uehara opened in the 1960s was to create a national in the Japanese society that can understand the world and understand the history of the world. This method seems to be roundabout, but today, it is necessary to fundamentally eradicate the influence of the security treaty system on the deepest part of the Japanese spirit and body. There is a limit to political struggle. Therefore, Uehara believes that the struggle must begin with the creation of the most fundamental place that has the subject of understanding the world and the history of the world.

Third, as a world history of practice

There are a few ways to go to enter the concept of Uehara’s world history. The first is the necessity of questioning the history of the world. Why does Uehara think that a world history different from the existing world history is necessary? The second is the methodological problem of world history. If new world history is necessary, what method should Uehara think should be used to grasp it? The third is the question of the significance of world history. For Uehara, what kind of problems can the new world history finally reveal to human beings?

Uehara’s conception of world history began in the early days of his academic research and continued to evolve and expand with his scholarly career. After entering the 1960s, he successively put forward the idea of ​​”the starting point of world history”, the difference between world history and human history, and the world regional theory in the study of world history, but these were all interrupted by the sudden death of Uehara, so It is not easy to understand the whole picture today. Below, I will only discuss a little about the formation of subjectivity in the understanding of world history.

Uehara believes that world history is not a unified knowledge system that can be taught and studied in schools. The view that world history is a systematic way of arranging the human trajectory from the beginning of human civilization and today, and can isolate its own life reality and problem consciousness, is that modern people are thinking about the world. The illusion that is the easiest to fall into. Behind this thinking is an understanding of Uehara – all world history is a world history. [1] This understanding is obtained through his research on the narrative of various world history of ancient and modern things. According to the understanding of Uehara, all world history is a certain subject of life in a particular society. In order to seek ways to open the problem, by placing the reality of life in history, special It was created by the examination of the dynamic mechanism of world history. In other words, world history is the “knowledge created” that leads to practice. No matter what kind of world history image is not an objective existence, it is closely related to the problem consciousness of the subject. It can even be said that understanding the subject’s problem consciousness is the basic axis and core of the world history image. On the other hand, although world history is like “created knowledge” produced by the subject, it is by no means subjective and arbitrary; it should arise from the objective and inevitable problems in the era in which the subject of the mind is located and in the society in which it is located. awareness. By creating our own world history, we can face the urgent problems that need to be solved in the real world in which we live, and thus gain the freedom to overcome difficulties in a subjective manner.

Uehara once said that world history is equivalent to “specifically grasping the perspective of one’s own methods”, which is equivalent to “specifically grasping what is in itself in the real world, what should be what you should be, and what you can become.” Related issues.” This unique definition of world history may be confusing to many people, but the original intention of Uehara is to remind people not to regard world history as an objective body of knowledge that is isolated from itself. A person’s thinking about world history actually means that he considers “what should he be and what he can become” in the real world, and through this kind of thinking, he will plunge into the real world and create new ones along his own problem consciousness. s things. I call this “the history of the world as a practice.”

Uehara’s theory of world history also has a distinctive feature: it attaches great importance to the existence of the nation and regards it as a medium for the consciousness of personal problems leading to world history. The “nation” that Uehara said is not necessarily related to race, but more likely to refer to a human community that has a close relationship with history, culture, politics, economy, and society. If the nation is defined in this way, then the “problem consciousness” that is the cause and motivation of the formation of the world history image can only be produced in the life field of such a nation. In other words, if humanities cannot internalize the deep sense of belonging to the nation, they cannot become the subject of “problem consciousness.” This sense of belonging is, in the words of Montesquieu, “the love for the nation.” For Uehara, the problem consciousness can only lead in the right direction to the world history image that can solve the problem through the medium of love and responsibility to the nation.