Ethnicity and species

It has been long forgotten, since Japanʼs defeat and the loss of its empire, that during the Asia–Pacific war (1931–45) a large number of scholars, journalists and bureaucrats were eagerly engaged in academic and public discussions of racism and colonialism. In contrast to the overall poverty of the critique of racism and ethnic nationalism in postwar Japan, its copiousness during the imperial period is striking. While occupying a wide range of political stances, from the total irrelevance of ethnic differences within the Japanese nation (the Governorʼs Office in Korea1) to a national socialist insistence upon racial purity (Watsuji Tetsurô2 and Nishitani Keiji3), Japanese intellectuals invariably admitted that the issues of racism and ethnicity must be publicly addressed. It is as if the Japanese expeditiously lost interest in the critique of racism as they adjusted themselves to the domestic reality of American occupation and the emerging international order of the Cold War in East Asia. Today, few either in Japan or in North America or Western Europe acknowledge the existence of widely circulated public doctrines in the 1930s and particularly in the early 1940s which claimed that neither scientific racism nor ethnic nationalism was licit in the polity of the Japanese Empire, and that the nation-state of Japan was explicitly created against the principle of ethnic nationalism (minzoku shugi). [4] The myth of the mono-ethnic society or tanʼitsu minozoku shakai no shinwa – that, ever since the pre-modern era, Japanese society has been ethnically homogeneous because it is made up mostly of a single ethnic group – is an integral part of this postwar amnesia. [5]

This article presents an outline of a philosophical argument about ethnicity and subjectivity in what is often referred to as Logic of Species (Shu no ronri): a set of essays published in the early 1930s by Tanabe Hajime, a philosopher from Kyoto Imperial University who headed the Kyoto School of Philosophy after the retirement of his mentor and colleague, Nishida Kitarô. [6] It is a summary of a longer, more detailed reading. Let me introduce a warning disclaimer: I deliberately avoid framing Tanabeʼs texts in terms of a number of binary oppositions, such the West versus the East, and Christian versus Buddhist/Confucian values, because I believe that, by appealing to these binary oppositions in order to foreground oneʼs involvement in the discussion of ethnicity, colonialism, racism and nationality as presented in texts of the ʻnon-Westʼ, one has been solicited to abide by the postwar collective amnesia about wartime Japan. Prejudices and projection mechanisms associated with these binary oppositions inhibit us from calling into question the comfort and security induced by what we wittingly or unwittingly agree to forget for the sake of postwar Japanese national solidarity and the Cold War international configuration.

Race, ethnicity and subjectivity

The variable through which the universalistic nation of multi-ethnic diversity is distinguished from the particularistic nation of mono-ethnic exclusivity is the concept of minzoku, translated sometimes as ʻnationʼ, sometimes as ʻethnosʼ, ʻfolkʼ, or even ʻraceʼ. The myth of the mono-ethnic society cannot be sustained if this distinction between multi-ethnic and mono-ethnic nations is not established. In other words, of logical necessity, the myth must embrace an assumption that the unity of the ethnos/nation or minzoku must be not only countable but also accountable. In Japanese philosophical discourse of the 1920s and 1930s, which certainly did not take the myth of the mono-ethnic society for granted, the concept of the ethnos/nation or minzoku was far from self-evident. What was thematically discussed through Tanabe Hajimeʼs series of articles on social ontology, Logic of Species, was nothing other than the problematic nature of this concept of minzoku. The term species was called for because of the inherent ambiguity in such unities as Ethnicity and species On the philosophy of the multi-ethnic state in Japanese imperialism

Naoki sakai

state, nation, ethnos, folk and race, unities without which we cannot comprehend the desires for identity in modern social formations.

Tanabeʼs social ontology is significant because not only the aforementioned Kyoto School philosophers of world history – such as Kôsaka Masaaki, Kôyama Iwao and Suzuki Shigetaka – but also certain governmental policy-makers such as Murayama Michio, who were concerned with the management of the empireʼs minority population, [7] appropriated theoretical insights from Tanabeʼs Logic of Species. Logic of Species must have been attractive to the Japanese intellectuals of the day because it offered a philosophically rigorous socio-political account of what might have appeared to be the multi-ethnic social reality of the Japanese Empire. Furthermore, it declared itself to be an ethic for the construction of a state embracing political, economic and cultural diversity, an ethic against ethnic nationalisms (minzokushugi) and separatism. What I find in Tanabeʼs Logic of Species is the most consistent among the philosophical articulations, in the 1920s and 1930s, of an ethico-political thesis on which something like the idea of the Greater East Asian Coprosperity Sphere could be built.

However, let me issue two disclaimers here. First,

Tanabe started publishing articles on the logic of species much earlier than the inauguration in 1940 by the Japanese government of the idea of the Greater East Asian Coprosperity Sphere. So neither can one argue that Tanabe conceived of Logic of Species particularly for the large-scale regional transnational polity, nor that the policies of the Greater East Asian Coprosperity Sphere were formulated according to the theoretical design found in Logic of Species. In this case, too, the relationship between philosophy and politics is overdetermined and far from direct. Second, the vision of the multi-ethnic state one can discern in Logic of Species was neither the vision officially sanctioned by the government nor the consensus shared by the political and military leaders and bureaucrats. Reading Tanabeʼs essays, we gain some understanding as to how some scholar-bureaucrats at imperial universities wanted to design Japanese imperialist policies, but argumentations which guided Japanese imperial nationalism did not form a monolith: competing political stances and different debates refuse to be summarized in a single continuous narrative.

Probably the most direct link between the policies of the government and Tanabeʼs philosophy can be found in an incident that took place at the Second Imperial University – that is, Kyoto Imperial University – on 19 May 1943. As chair of the philosophy department, Tanabe delivered a lecture entitled ʻShi Seiʼ (ʻDeath and Lifeʼ, or ʻDeath in Lifeʼ), to an audience which included a large number of volunteer student soldiers who were about to depart for battle. [8] In this infamous lecture, Tanabe unabashedly spoke as a passionate patriot, as an individualist committed to the stateʼs mission, and offered a philosophical justification, in an exceptionally lucid – for Tanabe, indeed – language, for why ʻthe people [kokumin] have to devote themselves to the countryʼ. Yet we should note that, even in this exemplarily jingoistic lecture, the individualʼs devotion to the country is not limited to his participation in the concerted efforts to destroy the enemy and its facilities, and to the execution of his duty, even if it might result in the loss of his own life. ʻOneʼs devotion to the countryʼ is not merely the passive subjugation of the individual to the commands issued by the state.

At the time of emergency, of course, there should be no separation between the country and the individual. But we should at the same time acknowledge that the tendency for such separation exists even more strongly then. This is why [I claim the relationship between the individual and the state (= the country)] is dynamic. By removing separation, some could rather make profit for themselves in such a situation than sacrifice themselves to the country. In an extreme case, some may abhor the war and sympathize with the enemy countries. Knowing there are such facts, we cannot automatically presume that people always adhere to the state. As a matter of course, we must prevent separation from taking place, but, more importantly, we must aspire to create a situation where there is no need for separation, a situation where the state allows the individual to be fully himself and encourages him to act truly and righteously. As I mentioned above, the individualʼs devotion to the state is premissed on the absolute stance in which we can be with God. Returning from the absolute stance, we must act to make the state accord with the Way of God, and thereby prevent the state from deviating from truth and justice. We are called upon to destroy deception, untruthfulness and injustice within the state because these drive the nation to be alienated from the state and give rise to a separation between the nation and the state. But this cannot be accomplished unless one is determined to sacrifice oneself in this task just as one is in physical warfare. This is oneʼs duty which requires the anticipatory resolution towards oneʼs own death [kesshi].9

Operative here is Tanabeʼs basic formula, to which I will later return, according to which a man (the individual, ko) is with God (the genus, rui) by opposing the species or shu (the state). Through devotion to the state and by risking his own life, a man acquires a right to rebel against the state; what the individual aspires to realize even by staking his own life is not the factual content of the stateʼs order or rule, but an idea whose validity goes beyond the existing state, and which, at least in principle, is true and just for entire humanity. This is why the individualʼs act of devoting himself to the state must be understood to imply not only the movement of the individualʼs identification with the state but also the movement of the individualʼs act to pull the state toward some universal principle beyond the existing state. Thus, the idea that is true and just for entire humanity, or the dimension of the genus or rui, is indispensable in Tanabeʼs justification of the self-sacrifice of the individual for the country. This is to say that, for Tanabe, the individualʼs devotion to the country could possibly take the form of rebellion against the government at any time. It is in this sense that the individualʼs devotion to the state can be called a duty whose execution requires anticipatory resolution towards oneʼs own death (kesshi no gimu).

Tanabeʼs lecture ʻDeath and Lifeʼ was offered as the first in a series organized in order to deal with the anxiety over death felt by drafted or volunteer students who were about to go to war fronts. Many lectures, including Suzuki Shigetakaʼs and Kôsaka Takaakiʼs after Tanabeʼs, attempted to give a meaning to the probable death of those students by linking their devotion to the world historical mission of the Japanese state. Yet Tanabe also suggested the possibility that, once having anticipatorily put oneself on the side of death, and thereby secured oneʼs loyalty to the country, one could in fact act to transform or even rebel against the existing state under the guidance of the universal idea whose validity is not confined to the existing state. I find it hard to imagine what could have been done in order to ʻact to make the state accord with the Way of Godʼ in 1943 when many Japanese intellectuals began to recognize the imminent defeat of the Japanese Empire. As though wittingly overlooking that his philosophical argument could easily be distorted or appropriated to serve unintended political interests, however, Tanabe Hajime presented rather naively a fundamental principle which should regulate the relationship of the individual to the state.

Insofar as the relationship between the state and the individual is seen from the viewpoint of the individualʼs death, the lecture ʻDeath and Lifeʼ discloses a philosophical insight into the individualʼs subjectivity and his participation in the state, an insight that was repeated, perhaps unwittingly, seventeen years later in 1960, by Maruyama Masao in his thesis on loyalty and rebellion after the Defeat. [10] Here, it is important to stress that, in both Tanabeʼs and Maruyamaʼs observation, either the individualʼs identification with the state or rebellion against it would be inconceivable unless the nation-state for the individual is primarily and essentially something to which the individual chooses to belong. Let us keep in mind that the problem of loyalty and rebellion would dissipate were the individual thought to belong naturally – or in itself – to the country or to the ʻspeciesʼ in Tanabeʼs terminology. Yet, from this, does it not follow that the species can be divided into natural and non-natural ones? What is at stake in Tanabeʼs observations is that the individual is always able to posit an existing social grouping she belongs to as something not naturally inherent to her, as something for her choice. Her belonging to it is never her natural property.

Therefore, it is clearly stated that the individual belongs to a social grouping as a result of her wishing to belong to it and that the individualʼs belonging to the nation, for instance, must be ʻmediatedʼ by her freedom. One can identify oneself with the country because freedom is available for one not to do so. Only by giving up the possibility of not identifying with or of separating oneself from the nation can one gain oneʼs belonging to it. So, in order to belong to it, one must choose to give up the possibility of not belonging to it. It is a closing that must be intentional. It is an investment in a negative form, and as a reward for this investment the individual gains the ground on which to justify her act which would otherwise appear treasonable, an act ʻto make the state accord with the Way of God, and thereby prevent the state from deviating from truth and justiceʼ. The closing is a scheme to translate the fact of the individualʼs belonging to a social grouping into a matter of choice, and the freedom of separating oneself from it must be granted in order for this scheme to operate. Needless to say, separation from the nation need not be physical. Subsequently, one cannot belong to the nation naturally or without ʻmediationʼ. This is to say that no body among the Japanese nation is, naturally and immediately, Japanese.

Underlying Tanabeʼs emphatic stress on the individualʼs freedom and negativity is a philosophical thesis that neither nation nor ethnos could possibly be conceptualized as a particularity within the generality of humanity; that the arborescent taxonomy of the Linnaean type, of the species and the genus, is not only utterly inadequate to but also politically and morally misleading for an understanding of how humans form their collectivities and thereby divide humanity into many ensembles. Yet, strangely enough, Tanabe con-tinued to base his argument on the concepts of the species and the genus.

Outside the discipline of formal logic to which the name Aristotle is attributed, the term ʻspeciesʼ is most often used in biological taxonomies as a median term in the series: individual (ko), species (shu), genus (rui). Individuals are always members of some class, just as individual humans are also members of the subset, species, of that genus, and each subset distinguishes itself by its specific difference from other subsets. Because of its association with biological taxonomy, which in essence preserves the dictates of classical logic, Tanabe Hajime has to establish, in the domains of knowledge of the social and historical, a new use of the term ʻspeciesʼ which clearly differs from its uses in the botanical and zoological sciences and natural history. In a sense, Tanabe introduced his concept of species in his social ontology in order to disqualify the validity of the old Linnaean classification in the domain of the social. And in so far as the category of race is associated with the discourse of Linnaean taxonomy and eighteenthand nineteenth-century biology, it can be said that he introduced his concept of species in place of the racialized one. By no means, however, do I imply that Tanabeʼs Logic of Species is therefore outside racism. Rather, it is with the acknowledgment of the fundamental inadequacy of the logical taxonomy of the species and the genus that Tanabeʼs social ontology begins. Concurrently, let me note, the notion of the individual or kotai can no longer be conceived within the Linnaean classification, either. [11] This is to say that the term kotai, which I have to translate into ʻthe individualʼ for the lack of a more appropriate word, cannot be directly equated to the individual as an indivisible unit of life.

In applying a term that is widely accepted in the classical taxonomies of creatures to inquiries into the social, however, there are two main dangers to be warded off by deliberately demarcating the concept of ʻspeciesʼ from the classical comprehension of the term. The first danger is an obvious one, in that the social sense of belonging to a group must never be confused with the biological and physiological facts of some creature belonging to a specific class.

Going back to the issue of the minzoku (nation, ethnos, folk or race). Let me redefine it with regard to the question of taxonomy in general. First of all the minzoku is not an immediate given unless it gains its reality through the individual: only when an individual belongs to it does the minzoku acquire its own reality. But how can we define an individualʼs belonging to a specific minzoku? Does the belonging to a specific minzoku mean that the individual shares the habits and mores of other members of the same group? Does it mean the sharing of the same language, of the same tradition, of the same culture? Or does it imply that the individual is blood-related to other members, lives in the same region, or shares the same physiognomic features?

All these attempts to define the individual as belonging to a specific minzoku externally and objectively seem inadequate precisely because none of them meets the following criterion. [12] In a social formation, the individualʼs belonging to a group is an essential part of his self-awareness or jikaku, so that an individual can never be classified into a species unless he is aware of belonging to it. In other words, unless he identifies himself with a minzoku, he cannot be said to belong to it. Furthermore, this belonging is not a matter of epistemic consciousness but a mode of praxis in the social. ʻSelf-awareness is not a lived experience (taiken); it is a mediation.ʼ [13] Here, Tanabe uses the term ʻmediationʼ in the Hegelian sense of Vermittlung of the subjectʼs self-othering with itself. In social ontology, what one is, is simultaneously what one ought to be. Therefore, for Tanabe Hajime, the logical must ultimately be the ethical. Accordingly his social ontology is called the logic of species, which is at the same time the ethics of species.

As Tanabe reiterates, self-awareness should, in the first place, not be problematized with regard to understanding (verstehen) but in the context of inference, which involves the shift from one utterance to another, from one speaking voice to another, so that self-awareness must necessarily be conceptualized dialogically and dialectically. [14] In contrast, the biological taxonomy classifies an individual into a species without regard to the individualʼs self-awareness. This is to say that a subject (or shukan) who classifies the individual in a biological taxonomy does not return to the very individual that is classified. The fact of the individualʼs belonging to a species is established irrespective of its freedom, of the freedom for the individual to refuse to belong to it. In this conception of belonging which the supposition of a totemic community assumes, there is no inner relation between the individual and the species so that the individual does not exert any influence over the way the species is. In other words, the individual in this case is not a subject, or is without self-awareness, because of the lack of an inner split or negation which is an essential moment in mediation; this mode of belonging does not constitute a social praxis. Not being autonomous, the individual unwittingly would do what it is accustomed to doing. It would simply obey given dictates, without being conscious of a gap between what ought to be and what is. [15] For the individual, therefore, the species is not a reality but a transparent irrelevancy.

The second danger is also related to the individualʼs freedom. Tanabe has clearly to distance himself from such a conception of the species as follows:

The notion of moral or collective personality – in which ʻpersonalityʼ has proper analogical value – applies to the people as a whole in a genuine manner: because the people as a whole (a natural whole) are an ensemble of real individual persons and because their unity as a social whole derives from a common will to live together which originates in these real individual persons.

Accordingly, the notion of moral or collective personality applies in a genuine manner to the body politic, which is the organic whole, composed of the people. [16]

In this typically corporatist comprehension of national community and the state, heterogeneity or discontinuity hardly exists between the ʻreal individual personʼ and ʻthe body politicʼ. An assembly of ʻthe peopleʼ is supposed to form some communion and constitutes itself as an organic whole. Tanabe emphatically distances himself from the corporatist conception of the social whole or of the species, and insists on an essentially discordant relation between the individual and the species. In this respect, Tanabeʼs social ontology from the outset assumes the undecidability inherent in modern subjectivity that is caused by the disappearance of the body politic in modern social formations. [17] This undecidability is preserved – partially if not fully – in the term ʻnegativityʼ and, as we will see, it plays the central role in Tanabeʼs social ontology.

The individual does not belong to the species in the same way that a part is embraced by and absorbed into the whole. In the corporatist conception of the social, which is still under the spell of pre-dialectical and therefore pre-modern logic, Tanabe argues, the part and the whole are understood as a relationship between two terms which are continuous with one another – that is, the particular and the general. [18] Here, I must hasten to add that the individual is not the general that is most particularized; it remains essentially heterogeneous to the opposition of the general and the particular. A human individual does not belong to a nation, for example, just as a cat belongs to the genus of cats or as a potato does to the class of tubers. By no means can the species be conceived of in an analogy to an organism or in terms of an analytical relation between two terms. [19] So, how should we understand the state of affairs depicted in the statement ʻan individual belongs to a nation, an ethnos, a minzoku, and so forth, that is, a speciesʼ?

It is important to keep in mind that, in one phase leading to a further elaboration on the concept of the species, Tanabe refers to the discussion of totemic organization by Durkheim and Lévy-Bruhl and gives high praise to their insight that the reign of a society over an individual must be understood according to the logical relationship of the general and the particular. Yet, the point most forcefully put forth by Tanabe is – contrary to Durkheimʼs sociologization of Kantian ethics – that the individualʼs belonging to the species cannot be characterized by its conformity to the totemic belief of a given group, whether that group is clannish, ethnic or national;20 it must be premissed upon the negation of it. Tanabeʼs critique of French anthropological approaches to totemism shows that the supposition of the totemic community in which an individual immediately accepts its maxims without being aware of its belonging actually makes it impossible for an individual to act morally. Only where there is freedom on the part of the individual to negate and disobey the imperatives imposed upon it by the totemic beliefs can it be said to belong to it. In other words, only as a subject can the individual be said to belong to the species. Therefore, for the individual to be in the species is to be mediated by its negativity, and what is misleading about the corporatist conception of the species lies in the fact that it overlooks and suppresses negativity, without which the species would be a matter of no significance for the individual. What entails the transfer of the term from the domains of knowledge on natural beings to those on the social is that the social would be inconceivable without taking human negativity into account. So, if modernity is defined in terms of the negativity inherent in the constitution of a subject, the domain of the social itself is of modernity; the very possibility of thinking about the social is already marked by modernity. [21] Moreover, negativity could imply the discursive mediation of antagonism from the viewpoint of social practice, so the social would be incomprehensible once deprived of negativity and antagonism.

the individual, the species, the genus

Tanabe Hajime discerns two moments without which no relationship between the individual and the species can be thought, and outside of this relationship the recognition of oneʼs belonging to the species cannot ensue: the first moment is the individualʼs factual participation in the given species, and the second is its negation of it. The first moment can be said to be that of facticity, whereas the second is that of negativity. Indeed, this very splitting of the moments is facilitated by negativity and a process of the subjectʼs self-othering with itself or mediation. [22] At the same time, negativity opens up space not for a factual but for an active participation in the species. But, at this stage, that which the individual actively and wittingly decides to belong to does not remain the species as it used to be. For negativity and the first stage of mediation alter the nature of a social grouping in which one once was blindly and immediately placed.

Whereas, in immediacy, the individual would never constitute itself as a subject, it becomes a subject by returning to itself after reflecting upon and distancing itself from its immediate inheritance, through selfnegation. Tanabeʼs exposition of the self-negational contradictory and heterogeneous relation between the individual and the species is at the same time an attempt to construct a logic of social praxis by rearticulating the logical (not analytic but dialectical) relations among individuals, the species and the genus (ko, shu, rui) in terms of the Hegelian triplicity of individuality, particularity and universality. Yet, one must instantly note that, up to this stage of development, the individual has not returned to itself and that, therefore, mediation has not completed its circle.

The species is not an entity, like a human body, a tree or a book, and one cannot designate it unless one mistakes its representative, or symbol or schema for it (I will return to this point). In order to deal with the reality of the species, therefore, we must start with the process of thematization in which its reality is brought into awareness. One comes to an awareness of its existence by negating and calling into question what has been taken for granted in oneʼs own behaviour and customs. The thematization of the species is accompanied by a self-awareness on the part of the individual that it has been nurtured and cultivated in that substratum which it now wants to abandon. For the individual, the species is its own past and an other at the same time. In so far as it is a past from which the present is distinguished, the past is an other to and of the present. In this respect, the individual sheds its past and objectifies and distances itself from it. [23] But, as it recognizes the past as its own, it must subsume the species in itself. Accordingly, for the individual the species is constitutive of its facticity or thrownness (Geworfenheit), in Heideggerian terminology, in Daseinʼs ʻprojective existenceʼ (Entwurft) into the future. The thematization of the species is intertwined with the self-transcending or ekstatic jikaku or selfawareness as geworfener Entwurft, which is a mode of social practice by which to project oneself into the future and to bring about something which does not exist yet, rather than a mere epistemic recognition. [24]

Thus, the reality of the species is an institutional reality par excellence. It manifests itself as an assemblage of the universals which regulate individualsʼ behaviours, and can by no means be ascribed to the whimsy of an individual. It is a reservoir not of the individual but rather of collective habits. It is always of trans-personal and publicly habituated rules just like a language. Yet it is not ubiquitous or general in the sense of the genus that every member of humanity should be subsumed under the definition ʻhomo sapiensʼ. It is at this stage that Tanabe introduces the concept of rui or the genus and thereby indicates how oneʼs belonging to the species inevitably leads to a participation in the genus of humanity.

Unlike the individual and the species, which possess reality in their respective senses, the genus is not a positive institutional reality. It follows that it is pointless to talk about the individualʼs refusal or disobedience of the genus. If the genus is discussed in this manner, as if it constituted a positive institutional reality, it invariably suggests the absolutization of a particular species, of which ethnocentrism is the best example, and leads to denying the individual its negativity. In other words, the genus is not the positive reality one could revolt against or disobey. Rather it exists as something like a problematic. Nonetheless, it signifies an infinitely open society for the totality of humanity, the only society which encompasses every member of humanity. Yet To dissolve [into the genus] particular societies which oppose one another is to neglect the concreteness of social being. It amounts to erasing the problems for social beings rather than solving them. History has proven how disrupting for the progress of humanity and how numbing to oneʼs conscience it is to entrust all to religionʼs absolute affirmativeness. [25] (History would prove this point again, in Tanabeʼs own career in the late 1930s and 1940s. Can you think of a better example of ʻreligionʼs absolute affirmativenessʼ than his lecture ʻDeath and Lifeʼ?) The genus is an essential moment in mediation between the individual and the species. The genus is not the general that underlies a specific difference between one particular species and another as in Aristotelian logic. The genus is called for in the individualʼs refusal and disobedience of the edicts of the given social institutions which have been internalized by individuals. The individual negates and deviates from the species by appealing to something higher than the rules whose validity is specific and limited.

If I lived in a community in which, for instance, the locality of my residence is predetermined by my racial status, I could either take such a state of affairs for granted or call it into question, thereby risking fragmenting and dividing the putative unity of that community. According to Tanabe, my belonging to that community becomes an issue for my self-awareness only when I act to disagree or disobey such a custom, thereby risking fragmentation and division of that community. In other words, I do not belong to that community naturally because of my birth or another innate accident, but only when I try to negate and change it will I begin to belong to it. Yet my belonging to it is potentially a divisive moment which might result in a schism in the putative coherence of the community. So, I would have to appeal to an authority beyond the dictates which are immediately sanctioned by that community in order to call that custom into question. I can act to change it only by introducing and adhering to an imperative, whose execution is impossible within the given dictates of that community, and the implementation of which will bring about something that does not exist as yet. Nevertheless, the imperative thus introduced cannot be my own; even if I am absolutely alone in my commitment to it, the imperative I volunteer to abide by must be collectively valid. I would have to postulate the principle of equality, which I believe to be not only higher than the dictates of the community but also acceptable by everyone in the world in principle. [26] In the name of this principle, I would engage in an antagonistic relation with the members of the community who refuse to agree with the transformation of the community in this direction. This is a struggle in which one can be destroyed by the majority of the community or can destroy it. It can be a struggle of life or death. Yet, one has to postulate beyond this given community a collectivity for whom this principle of equality is a rule to live by. But, as we can realize instantly, this collectivity is not a positive reality because we cannot find any factually existent community of people which actually lives according to it anywhere in the world. Perhaps this is why Tanabe felt justified in using such terms as God, for instance, in ʻDeath and Lifeʼ when he said ʻwe must act to make the state accord with the Way of God, and thereby prevent the state from deviating from truth and justice.ʼ [27]

A collectivity defined by the dictate which one engages in to change the species does not exist positively; it is the genus. The genus is not a positively existing institutional reality; it exists in the individualʼs struggle with the species. Furthermore, if each dictate positively demands a different collectivity, different dictates beyond any community could postulate different genera which could be the totality of humanity at the same time. In other words, the genus must be mediated by the individualʼs negativity, but it cannot be a positive reality such as the species. The totality of humanity is inexpressible in any institutional form, and, consequently, often called God by Tanabe.

It is in relation to the genus that the individual is independent of the species.

Unlike the species it [the genus] does not directly oppose the individual; instead, it liberates the individual from the constraints of the species and lets it assume a free stance as an individual. Thereby the genus comes into being, mediated by the negativity of the individualʼs relation to the species. [28]

So the genus is neither a generalization of many species, nor an ideal representative of them. Simply, the genus is in the element not of generality but of universality. Again the term ʻgenusʼ betrays the conceptual economy of the particularity–generality framework which many of us take for granted. It is the absolute totality which is expressed in human historical action but which cannot be represented conceptually. For it is an idea. Tanabe agrees with Max Scheller in that the individualʼs moral action expresses the eternal absolute and, therefore, that historical practice based upon the individualʼs autonomous will can be understood as an action contributing itself teleologically toward the absolute totality. [29] In this respect, too, we cannot think of the genus as commensurate with differences and commonnesses among species. The genus cannot be posited in the register of conceptual opposition or what Gilles Deleuze calls ʻdifferenciation.ʼ [30] By virtue of the fact that the genus is radically heterogeneous with and negative to the species, every individual can be recognized as equal under the genus (equality only in the negative sense – that is, of the absence of a hierarchical ordering), irrespective of its factual belonging to a particular species. For this reason, the ultimate totality of humanity must be mu in the sense of being an absolute negativity. [31]

Thus the individual returns to itself only when it also participates in the genus and distances itself from the species. But it does not follow that the individual would then cease to belong to the species. Negative mediation also transforms the species, so that the individualʼs negativity indicates the basic mode of social practice by which to work on social reality. ʻPraxis [jissen] whereby the species is renewed puts the individual and the species in correlation.ʼ [32] (The liberal notion of voting in a general election which allows the individual to participate in the process of transforming a social formation might fit this idea of praxis, but Tanabe does not specify it.) Accordingly, the sense of oneʼs belonging must be altered. Through social praxis, which is negative in regard to the given formation, the individual belongs to the species by actively transforming it, according to the dictates of universal humanity. Thus, only as a practical subject or jissen shutai can the individual belong to it. At the same time, though, the species which the practical subject works to transform cannot remain immediate.

Here, too, Tanabe recognizes two moments inherent in the mediation of self-negational contradiction, this time from the viewpoint of the species: one concerning the ethnic and factual constraints from which no individual can escape; and another which mediates both antagonisms among the individuals within the same species, and contradictions between the individual and the species. These two moments are explained in a variety of ways: for example, in reference to Tönniesʼ distinction of Gemeinschaft (shuteki kyôdô shakai) and Gesellschaft (koteki keiyaku shakai) and the Bergsonian opposition of the closed society and the open society. According to Tanabe, in this process a clear distinction is made possible between the substratum as that on which the individual is, and the subject which acts socially towards other individuals. But this distinction applies only within mediation. This is the point to be remembered in the following exposition.

In this regard, let me note the complexity of the term ʻsubjectʼ or shutai as Tanabe adopts it here, since this term was used by many at that time in slightly different ways. In history, an individual acts to transform the given community by believing in the universality of a certain idea. Therefore, in so far as an individualʼs action can be regarded as a historical practice (rekishiteki jissen) that embodies the conviction that its action will be justified not because it is an action based upon its particular whim but because it ought to be sanctioned by the genus – that is, the totality of humanity (which does not exist positively) – it is also an action of that idea. Thus, an individual acts in history to constitute itself as a subject, but the same historical practice is the process in which the idea realizes itself as a Subject or Spirit. Therefore, in historical practice, the subjectʼs will to act is already and always the Subjectʼs will, [33] just as ʻThe labour of the individual for his own needs is just as much a satisfaction of the needs of others as of his own, and the satisfaction of his own needs he obtains only through the labour of others.ʼ [34]

As the individual in his individual work already unconsciously performs a universal work, so again he also performs the universal work as his conscious object; the whole becomes, as a whole, his own work, for which he sacrifices himself and precisely in so doing receives back from it his own self. [35]

Even if one is not sanctioned by anybody in the positive sense and has to act alone and in absolute isolation, as was the case with Jesus, historical practice is the action of the Subject whereby the individual returns to itself. [36]

Thus the individual comes across the genus only when it cannot abide by the imperatives of a given species. In relation to the genus, the individual is singular and independent of the species as substratum in which it is supposed to be embraced. In other words, the individual is then alienated from the immediate community and stands alone. It is in this solitude that the individual is able to encounter the genus, and this insight is consistently emphasized throughout Tanabeʼs writings. Thus Tanabe argues that his concepts of the individual, the species, and the genus correspond to the Son, the Holy Ghost and the Father, respectively, in the Holy Trinity. [37] As an isolated singular abandoned by the Father, the individual is the Son. The individual as the Son encounters the genus as the Father precisely in the absence of the Father. And through the anticipatory resolution towards its own death – as we have already seen in Tanabeʼs lecture ʻDeath and Lifeʼ – the individual can work to change the species.

Thus the reality which the individual obtains through negativity and historical practice is at the same time a species and a work as the Subject. Tanabe calls this reality the ʻkitai soku shutaiʼ, or ʻsubstratum that is Subjectʼ. Through the participation of the genus, a society – or an ethical substance in Hegelian terminology – which is called the minzoku kokka or nation-state emerges, and this society is not directly the species because it embodies the dictates of universal humanity. It is the synthesis of the individualʼs factual belonging to a given community of customs and mores and its belonging to universal humanity. Therefore, the state in the nation-state in this formulation implies the moment of the agent as a Subject, [38] while the nation in the nation-state means the unity of the work as a community which individuals create collectively by transforming the given social reality. Thus it was possible for Tanabe to argue: ʻTo be a member of the state is the highest right [and obligation] for the individual.ʼ If the subject of this proposition simply means that any individual is born and dies within the state or that the life of the individual becomes possible only when it is incorporated into the variety of state organizations, the proposition would not be able to take the predicate ʻthe highest right.ʼ That it is thus predicated should mean that the proposition does not state a mere [observable] fact but that it refers to the state of affairs which has to be realized by the individualʼs will and action. In other words, it implies that, while the individual could will to refuse it, the individual is obliged to will and, following such a will, to promote the realization of such a state of affairs.… Therefore, membership in the state should not demand that the individual sacrifice all its freedom and autonomy for the sake of the unity of the species. On the contrary, the proposition would not make sense unless the state appropriates into itself individual freedom as its essential moment. [39]

Therefore the view which equates the nation-state with one ethnic community cannot be accepted at all. Hence, Tanabe criticizes Hegel for his ethnocentricity: ʻHegel never completely rid himself of the tendency to regard the State as the ethnic spirit of an ethnic community.ʼ [40] The claim that to be a member of the state is the highest right and obligation for the individual would not be accepted unless the individual negates the ethicality (Sittlichkeit) of a specific community and actively endorses the morality (Moralität) for the individual to transcend the particularity of a specific community toward the universality of generic humanity. Absolute loyalty to the state can be legitimated only when the state is an actualization of the universalistic logic of mediation which goes beyond the ethnically specific and towards the state that grounds the individuality of the individual returning to itself through universality. One might suspect a complicity between universalistic nationalism and cosmopolitan individualism in Tanabe Hajimeʼs Logic of Species.

IN place of a conclusion

As we have seen above, Tanabeʼs Logic of Species was intended to refute and dissuade Minzoku-shugi or ethnic nationalism, which was perceived to be the most immediate menace to Japanese imperial nationalism in the 1930s, by taking into account the historical conditions that drove people to ethnic nationalism and the social antagonisms that made ethnic nationalism so attractive to the people under colonial rule. [41] If seen from the viewpoint of ethnic nationalism, Logic of Species would appear to comprise a series of meditations that attempt to undermine any political and philosophical discourse that would legitimate a particularistic rebellion against universalism in the name of which imperialism dominates. Tanabeʼs argument is conspicuous for its almost obsessive emphasis on negativity and for its rather religious notion of universal humanity, which, one can sense, must have had a certain appeal to Marxist activists and other leftists, many of whom in fact supported ethnic nationalism and separatism in Japanʼs annexed territories and who later had to undergo the traumatic experience of conversion or what is known as tenkô. [42] On the other hand, as the term shu clearly indicates, he was also concerned with the particular historical and cultural conditions of the time. Given these cursory observations and the outline of his philosophical project, how should we understand the connections between his philosophy and nationalism?

In the 1920s and 1930s, the Japanese Empire covered many overseas territories, including Hokkaidô, Taiwan, Korea, the southern part of Sakhalin, Manchuria, the Pacific Islands, and so forth. The population under the jurisdiction of the Japanese state could not be viewed as linguistically and culturally homogeneous by any account. Although I have serious doubts about the validity of the distinction between mono-ethnic and multi-ethnic societies, we may use the term ʻmultiethnicʼ in order to draw attention to the composition of the Japanese Empire at that time. It was simply impossible to assume a simple overlapping between the state and the ethnos or any ʻnaturalʼ community, although those minorities in the Empire were rendered somewhat invisible. The state had to represent and incorporate a multitude of the populace which did not share any single national language or ethnic culture in so far as ʻlanguageʼ or ʻcultureʼ is understood to be a closed unity.

Tanabe never neglected this historical situation: his conception of the state in the nation-state reflected his awareness of it in the following:

The opposition of a species against another species necessarily contains a duality: it is the exclusionary relationship between plural species on the one hand, and the opposition of the individual to the species on the other hand. The state is the synthesis of the individual and the species. Therefore it must necessarily mediate the opposition between the conquering species and the conquered species and thereby sublate that opposition into a generic synthesis by recognizing the freedom of the members of the conquered species to a certain extent and by appropriating the former enemy. [43]

Thus, Tanabe seeks the historical origin of the state in the conquest of one species over another. ʻThough not related to the conquered through blood ties, the conquering species allows the conquered to survive, and unifies it into itself through the mediation of the shared land. [44] Ethnic conflicts are mediated by the stateʼs recognition of a minorityʼs freedom just as it recognizes the individualʼs freedom that facilitates collaborative economic activities among those opposing groups. Or, since the species could signify the social class, inter-specific conflict could be a class conflict. But this recognition must be limited; it is permitted only nanrakano teidono or to a certain extent because the ethical substance is also a political sphere where struggles cannot be absent.

It is evident that the species is not an ahistorical entity. It is a moment in mediation which goes on in world history. But the individual belonging to the conquered species can continue to negate a given social reality and work for its transformation. In this respect, it is not the immediate species but the state that provides the individual with opportunities for justice that is valid beyond the confines of a specific community. For the species, in so far as it is the ethical substance which is mediated by the genus – that is, kokkateki minzoku or state nation – is always in a dialectical process in which it continues to split itself and appropriate other specific communities. But, by the same token, the existence of the state already implies that the society reigned over by the state consists of a plurality of specific communities. [45] Unless there is ethnic or class conflict, the state would not be called for, so there the state would never be. Internal antagonism dialectically gives rise to the state just as the individualʼs negativity invites the moment of universal humanity into the species. In the ambivalent hyphenation between the nation and the state, one thing is certain: there is no necessity for the state unless the nation is multi-specific (or multi-ethnic). Where there is no multiplicity of species in the state, that state cannot exist in the modern world. In order for the nation-state of Japan to exist, therefore, the Japanese nation must be multi-ethnic – though what is signified by multi-ethnicity in this instance is far from clear. A logical corollary of this insight, which Tanabe Hajime would never have pronounced publicly, was that no modern nation-state could possibly exist except as a trace of colonial violence that necessarily gave rise to social antagonism among the species.

Since I have to omit a detailed examination of how Logic of Species could have served and justified Japanese colonial rule and total mobilization policies during the Asia–Pacific war, let me state the following in place of a conclusion to this article. When seen from the viewpoint of the minority population in the Empire who were mobilized for Japanʼs war efforts, Logic of Species was nothing but an endorsement of colonial violence. Because of its universalistic aspiration and the sense of national mission, it was exceptionally aggressive and violent. Just as it was one of the sources for the philosophy of world history, it also gave rise to the philosophy of world war.


1. ^ For instance, Naisen ittai no rinenn oyobi sonogugen housaku yôkô (The Idea of Japanese–Korean Synthesis and its Policies) Defense Headquarters, Korean League for the Total Mobilization of the Nation, 1941. For the Japanese–Korean synthesis, see S. Miyata, I. Kim and T.

Ryao, Sôshi Kaimei (The Creation of Surname and the Change of First Name), Akashi Shobô, Tokyo, 1992.

2. ^ For instance, Watsuji Tetsurô, Fûdo, Iwanami Shoten,

Tokyo, 1934 (English translation, Climate and Culture, trans. Geoffrey Bownas, Japanese Ministry of Education,

Tokyo, 1961); or his Ethics II, Iwanami Shoten, Tokyo, 1942 (reprinted in Watsuji Zenshû, Vol.

11. ^ See also Naoki Sakai, Translation and Subjectivity: On ʻJapanʼ and Cultural Nationalism, chs 3 and 4, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis and London, 1997, pp. 72–152.

3. ^ In his Philosophy of Primordial Subjectivity (Kongenteki shutai-sei no tetsugaku), originally published in 1940, Nishitani Keiji stressed the purity of race and advocated the introduction of the Hitlerian spirit to Japan. Philosophy of Primordial Subjectivity is reproduced in Nishitani Keiji Chosakushu, Sobun-sha, Tokyo, 1986.

For his involvement in Nazism, see its first volume, pp. 144-50, in particular.

4. ^ For instance, Tomoo Odaka, Kokutai no hongi to naisenittai (The Essence of Nationality and the Japanese–Korean Synthesis), Defence Headquarters, Korean League for the Total Mobilization of the Nation, 1942; Kôsaka Masaaki, Nishitani Keiji, Kôyama Takao and Suzuki Shigetaka, Sekaishi-teki tachiba to nihon.

5. ^ See Oguma Eiji, Tanʼitsu minzoku shinwa no kigen (The Origins of Monoethnic Myth), Shinyô-sha, Tokyo, 1995; see also Tomiyama Ichirôʼs critique of Oguma. For a critical review of Ogumaʼs theoretical sloppiness, see my ʻIntroductionʼ to T. Iyotani, B. deBary and N. Sakai, eds, Nashonarithi no datsukôchiku (Deconstruction of Nationality), Shinyôsha, Tokyo, 1996 (English translation forthcoming in Cornell East Asia Monographs Series).

6. ^ The philosophy department at Kyoto Imperial University was recognized as one of the intellectual centres in Japan from the 1920s until the early 1940s. The department developed under the leadership of Nishida Kitarô (1870–1945). In the 1910s, when Tanabe Hajime (1885–1962), who taught philosophy of science and mathematics (Whitehead, Russell, Frege, modern mathematics, quantum mechanics, theory of relativity, in addition to Neo-Kantianism) at Tôhôku University, joined the faculty at Kyoto, the philosophy department began to attract many talented students, who would later form the leading intelligentia of the Japanese public sphere in the 1920s and 1930s. They included Miki Kiyoshi,

Tosaka Jun, Tsuchida Kyôson, Nakai Masakazu and Hanada Kiyoteru (Hanada was in the English department at Kyoto), Kuno Osamu and others. Included in the faculty were Tomonaga Sanjûrô, Hatano Seiichi, Watsuji Tetsurô (who taught at Kyoto for a short period of time, and moved to Tokyo Imperial University in 1934), Kuki Shûzô, Kôsaka Masaaki and Kôyama Iwao. In the 1920s Nishida published a series of articles in which he began to conceptualize the notion of mu no basho (the place of nothingness). Around the same time, Tanabe became interested in the ontology of social being and began to write about Kantʼs Third Critique, Bergsonʼs social philosophy, Hegelian dialectic in reference to modern mathematics, particularly Riemann geometry and Minkovskyʼs theory of space and time.

7. ^ Murayama Michio, Daitôa Kensetsu-ron, Shôkô Gyôsei-sha, Tokyo, 1943. Murayama was the secretary to the Governmental Planning Agency headed by Kishi Nobusuke, the Minister of Commerce and Industry in the Tojô Hideki cabinet (from 18 October 1941 until 18 October 1943) and then one of the ministers of the newly formed Ministry of the Great East Asia (from 18 October 1943 until 22 July 1944). From 1936, Kishi was de facto the chief administrator for the construction of Manchûkuo. After the defeat of Japan, Kishi was arrested as an A-class war criminal by the Allied Powers, but in 1948 he was released from prison; through the enthusiasitic endorsement of the United States, he became the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Ishibashi Tanzan cabinet (23 December 1956 until 25 February 1957), and then formed his own cabinets for two successive terms (25 February 1957 until 19 July 1960).

He is known for his work as the political collaborator of United States policies in East Asia. Kishiʼs case, as well as the case of the Kyoto School philosophers of world history, Kôsaka Masaaki, Kôyama Iwao, Nishitani Keiji, and Suzuki Shigetaka, who wrote vehemently in support of the United Statesʼ collective security policies in Asia during the 1950s and early 1960s, strongly suggest the continuity of prewar/wartime Japanese imperial nationalism and postwar American imperial nationalism.

8. ^ Its outline was published in Kyoto Teikoku Daigaku Shinbun (Kyoto Imperial University News) on 5 June 1943. See ʻShi Seiʼ (Death and Life), in Tanabe Hajime Zenshû, vol. 8, Chikuma Shobô, Tokyo, 1964.

9. ^ ʻShi Seiʼ, p. 261.

10. ^ Maruyama Masao, ʻChûsei to hangyakuʼ (Loyalty and Rebellion) in Chûsei to hangyaku (Loyalty and Rebellion), Chikuma Shobô, Tokyo, 1992 [1960], pp. 3–109.

11. ^ The notion of the individual had undergone a theoretical revision with Tanabeʼs mentor, Nishida Kitarô. Normally, in Japanese philosophical discourse of the 1920s and 1930s, the term kobutsu or kotai is a translation of ʻthe individualʼ, but the originalʼs sense of indivisibility or individuum is not necessarily emphasized. Nishida conceptualized kobutsu or singular-individual thing as that which is in a discontinuous relationship with any generality. For this reason, I translate his kobutsu into the individual-singular thing. Tanabe adopts the term kotai instead of Nishidaʼs kobutsu. Kotai is still closer to the individual, yet Tanabe is aware that kotai or individual is not a generality or the most particular of generality: it is discontinuous with any generality, so it cannot evade being something like a singular point in mathematics.

12. ^ For correlations between the concept of race and natural history, see Michel Foucault, Les Mots et les choses, Gallimard, Paris, 1966, pp. 137–76; George L. Mosse, Toward the Final Solution: A History of European Racism, University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, 1978, pp. 1–34; Mary Louise Pratt, Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation, Routledge, London and New York, 1992. From the outset, Logic of Species is aware that the taxonomy of natural history is utterly irrelevant in the discussion of the social. In this sense, Tanabe was most interested in the destructive effects of Darwinʼs On the Origin of Species with regard to the classical Linnaean taxonomy and Aristotelian logic of creatures.

Tanabe attempted to conceptualize the species in the aftermath of Darwinian critique (see Kôyama Iwaoʼs testimony, in the monthly supplement to Tanabe Hajime Zenshû, July 1963, pp. 3–4). In this respect, Logic of Species is most critical of the classical and static notion of race which Darwinʼs evolutionism effectively undermined. As goes without saying, it is hardly possible to dissociate the disintegration of the static taxonomy of creatures from the constant rearrangement of social relations by capitalism. There is no doubt that Logic of Species was a philosophical response to the development of Marxist scholarship on Japanese capitalism in the 1920s and 1930s. It is important to keep in mind that Japanese imperial nationalism too transformed itself in producing an argument to destroy the static concept of race. Yet, we must also remember that there is a racism with universalistic orientation which differentially reproduces a racial hierarchy by constantly rearranging static racial categories. It is from this perspective that racism in Logic of Species must be investigated, and as long as we continue to regard the Kyoto School philosophy as an ideology for particularistic ethnic nationalism, we will never be able to expose the racism inherent in it.

For an attempt to analyse relationships between ʻraceʼ and colonialism from a dynamic viewpoint, see Robert Young, Colonial Desire: Hybridity in Theory, Culture and Race, Routledge, London and New York, 1995.

13. ^ Tanabe Hajime, ʻShu no ronri to Sekai Zushikiʼ, in Tanabe Hajime Zenshû, vol. 6, Chikuma Shobô, Tokyo, 1963 [1935], p. 185.

14. ^ Tanabe insists that the essentially dialogical structure of inference haunts all logical argumentation: just as every enunication is inevitably open to another enunciation, a proposition is intelligible only insofar as it is in relation to another proposition. What he pursues in the logic of species, therefore, must be located in the chain of inference and cannot be contained within a proposition or the synthetic unity of apperceptive predication. On the contrary, hermeneutics confines its investigation of understanding within a proposition, within a synthesis of predication, totally ignoring the inferential dimension of philosophical demonstration. From this observation,

Tanabe concludes that hermeneutics (the zenith of which Tanabe found in his contemporary, Martin Heidegger) lacks the fundamental aspect of social praxis. Just as every proposition is open to another proposition in inference, the logic of species must be the logic of mediation in which an enunciation constitutes itself in relation and opposition to another. But, this process of mediation cannot be complete since every enunciation is always open to an additional enunciation. Hence, Tanabe argues that the logic of social praxis must be absolutely endless, and this absolutely endless nature of the logic of social praxis he called ʻabsolute mediationʼ. In the sense that there cannot be a terminal point or an end to mediation, the logic of species must be the logic of absolute mediation. See ʻShu no ronri to Sekai Zushikiʼ.

15. ^ ʻWe are born into a society where already many maxims regulate the will and action of the individual, so we regulate our own will and action according to the generally accepted maxims before we experience our action and its consequence.ʼ ʻHegel tetsugaku to benshôhôʼ (Hegelian Philosophy and Dialectic), in Tanabe Hajime Zenshû, vol. 3, Chikuma Shobô, Tokyo, 1963 [1931], p. 214. However, Tanabe argues, following Kant, that those maxims cannot be moral maxims for the individual. Moral maxims are moral laws only for the autonomous subject who institutes these laws by itself (ibid. pp. 195–210).

16. ^ Jacques Maritain, Man and the State, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1951, p. 16 This corporatist notion of the body politic is inherently incompatible with the modern notion of equality: ʻWhatever may be said about it, Rousseauʼs reference to a “moral and collective body composed of as many members as there are votes in the assembly, produced by the act of association that makes a people a people,” is not the revival but the antithesis of the corporatist idea of the corpus mysticum (theologians have never been fooled on this point). The “double relationship” under which the individuals contract also has the effect of forbidding the fusion of individuals in a whole, whether immediately or by the mediation of some “corporation.”ʼ Etienne Balibar, ʻCitizen Subjectʼ, trans. James B. Swenson Jr, in Eduard Cadava, Peter Connor and Jean-Luc Nancy, eds, Who Comes After the Subject?, Routledge, New York and London, 1991, p. 52, italics in the original.

17. ^ See Claude Lefort, ʻThe Logic of Totalitarianismʼ, and ʻThe Image of the Body and Totalitarianismʼ, trans. Alan Sheridan, in his The Political Form of Modern Society, ed. John Thompson, MIT Press, Cambridge MA, 1986, pp. 273–306.

18. ^ As to continuity and discontinuity, see Nishida Kitarô, ʻSekai no jiko-dôitsu to renzokuʼ (The Self-identity of the World and Continuity), in Nishida Kitarô Zenshû, vol. 8, Iwanami Shoten, Tokyo, 1965 [1935], pp. 7–106. Although Nishida Kitarô differentiates generality (ippan-sei) from universality (huhen-sei), Tanabe adopts Hegelian terminology which does not distinguish generality from universality. This is rather odd, as, being a philosopher of mathematics himself, Tanabeʼs argument owes much to modern mathematics, particularly Riemann geometry – subsequently also to Neo-Kantians and Bergson who philosophically responded to the emergence of the notion of discontinuity and infinity in nineteenth-century mathematics – and the issues of singularity and universality with regard to discontinuity occupy central positions in his philosophy. So, I introduce the terms generality and universality here as they are distinguished from one another and conceptualized by Gilles Deleuze.

19. ^ Tanabe Hajime, ʻShakai sonzai no ronriʼ (The Logic of the Social Being), in Tanabe Hajime Zenshû, vol. 6, Chikuma Shobô, Tokyo, 1963 [1934–5], pp. 55f.

20. ^ The most important aspect of totemic belief is that it consists of a set of generalities according to which members of a tribe are classified and determined as particulars.

What is most clearly demonstrated by the example of the totemic belief is that the basic mode in which the social group such as the state rules its members is reducible to the logical relation of the general and the particular, a relation in which the general subsumes the particular under it. Ibid. pp. 53–56.

21. ^ Tanabe, ʻShakai sonzai no ronriʼ, pp. 74–128; ʻRinri to ronriʼ (Logic and Ethics)ʼ, in Tanabe Hajime Zenshû, vol. 7, Chikuma Shobô, Tokyo, 1963 [1940] pp. 173–209.

22. ^ Alexander Kojèveʼs reading of Hegel, with its emphasis on negativity, is well known. Almost simultaneously in two places, Paris and Kyoto, Hegel was read in a characteristic way. For negativity and mediation in Hegel, see Alexander Kojève, ʻLʼIdée de la mort dans la philosophie de Hegelʼ, in Introduction à la lecture de Hegel, Gallimard, Paris, 1947, pp. 529–75.

23. ^ Ibid. pp. 25–8.

24. ^ Ibid. pp. 11–18. Tanabe believes that Heideggerʼs reading of Kant successfully captured the aspect of the individualʼs indebtedness to the species as part of Daseinʼs thrownness. However, he claims, the Heideggerian Entwurft lacks in a practical aspect and essentially remains speculative, since Heidegger failed to recognize the spatiality of social practice. To overcome this shortcoming, Tanabe proposes to introduce the schema of the world. A similar critique of Heidegger was offered by Watsuji Tetsurô about Heideggerʼs neglect of spatiality, but Watsujiʼs reading, where the temporality of Dasein is completely eliminated, is no match for Tanabeʼs in terms of rigour, and these two critiques of Heideggerʼs Kant Book must not be confused. This explains why Watsujiʼs static conception of the national community could legitimate postwar Japanese cultural nationalism successfully, whereas Tanabeʼs social ontology was fast forgotten after the loss of the Japanese Empire in 1945.

25. ^ Tanabe, ʻShakai sonzai no ronriʼ, p. 69.

26. ^ Here we might note that Nishida Kitarô, for example, tried to introduce two different conceptions of universality: fuhen, in the sense of the universality of the Kantian idea, and ippansha, generality in the sense of the universality of the Kantian concept.

27. ^ Tanabe, ʻShi Seiʼ, p. 261.

28. ^ Tanabe, ʻShu no ronri to Sekai Zushikiʼ, p. 198.

29. ^ Tanabe, ʻHegeru tetsugaku to benshôhôʼ, p. 124.

30. ^ For the distinction between differenciation and differentiation, see Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, trans. Paul Patton, Columbia University Press, New York, 1994.

31. ^ The term mu was introduced by Nishida Kitarô in the context of the ontology of self-awareness or jikaku. It has often been translated as ʻnothingnessʼ. But it primarily designated the undecidability of the transcendental subject in opposition to the decidability of the empirical ego in the Kantian formula. See Nishida Kitarô, ʻBashoʼ, in Nishida Kitarô Zenshû, vol. 4, Iwanami Shoten, Tokyo, 1965 [1926], pp. 208–89; and Mu no jikaku-teki gentei (Self-determination of Mu), in Nishida Kitarô Zenshû, vol. 6, Iwanami Shoten, Tokyo, 1965 [1930–32].

32. ^ The most obvious case is Watsuji Tetsurô, who followed Tanabeʼs argument in his Ethics to a great extent, but he deliberately eliminated negativity between the individual and the state, so that the state is positively immanent in the individual. In other words, the nation is continually the state without the mediation of the individualʼs negativity. In this respect, in Watsujiʼs Ethics, the state does not guarantee the individualʼs right of refusal to accept the dictates of a given community. See Naoki Sakai, ʻReturn to the West/Return to the Eastʼ, in Masao Miyoshi, ed., Boundary 2, vol. 18, no. 3, Fall 1991, pp. 157–90; also in Translation and Subjectivity.

33. ^ Tanabe explains this relationship between the subject and the Subject in reference to Pure Land Shin Buddhism established by Shinran (1173–1262). Perhaps the most explicit reference to Shin Buddhism can be found in his ʻZangedô no tetsugakuʼ, Tanabe Hajime Zenshû, vol. 9, Chikuma Shobô, Tokyo, 1963 [1946] (English translation, Philosophy as Metanoetics, trans. Takeuchi Yoshinori, Valdo Viglielmo and James W. Heisig, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1986).

34. ^ G.W.F. Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. A.V.

Miller, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1977 [1807], p. 213.

35. ^ Ibid. For a detailed account of work and individuality in Hegel, see Jean Hyppolite, Genesis and Structure of Hegelʼs Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. Samuel Chernick and John Heckman, Northwestern University Press,

Evanston IL, 1974, pp. 296–318.

36. ^ Cf. Hegelʼs Philosophy of Right, trans. T.M. Knox, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1967, p. 279.

37. ^ Tanabe repeatedly referred to the Holy Trinity in order to explain schematically the relationship between the individual, the species and the genus. See, for instance, his ʻKokka sonzai no ronriʼ (The Logic of the State Being), in Tanabe Hajime Zenshû, vol. 7, pp. 42–4.

For a critique of Tanabeʼs obsession with Christianity, see Tosaka Jun, ʻGendai yuibutsu-ron kôwaʼ (Lectures on Todayʼs Materialism), in Tosaka Jun Zenshû, vol. 3, Keisô Shobô, Tokyo, 1961 [1936], p. 309.

38. ^ Hegel called this work ʻspiritual essence as ethical substance.ʼ See Phenomenology of Spirit, p. 264.

39. ^ ʻShakai sonzai no ronriʼ, p. 157.

40. ^ Ibid. p. 155.

41. ^ One has to be extremely sensitive to the political function of an ethnic identity. The ethnic identity must not be essentialized or spatialized, but it is very important to note that, in certain contexts, it might be the only means to resist the imperialist manoeuvre. In this respect, we find the most rigorous critic of Tanabeʼs logic of species in Takeuchi Yoshimi, who valued the significance of minzokushugi or ethnic nationalism as an indispensable means by which to resist imperialisms, but who endorsed it only as an inevitable moment in imperialist domination, a moment which would be utterly meaningless outside an imperialist hegemony although he could not totally avoid the essentialization of ethnic identity in ethnic nationalism. See Takeuchi Yoshimi, ʻKindai towa nanikaʼ (What is Modernity?), in Takeuchi Yoshimi Zenshû, vol. 4, Chikuma Shobô, Tokyo, 1980 [1948].

42. ^ Tosaka Jun, for example, criticizes Nishida Kitarôʼs philosophy as a typical form of bourgeois idealism. Yet his critique of Nishida seems to coincide with Tanabeʼs critique of him in many respects. Tosaka was very sympathetic to Tanabeʼs Logic of Species except for Tanabeʼs emphasis on religions and, particularly, Christianity. See his Nihon ideologî-ron. For Tanabeʼs political activities in the 1930s and early 1940s, see Ienaga Saburô, Tanabe Hajime no Shisô-teki Kenkyû, Hosei University Press,

Tokyo, 1974.

43. ^ ʻShakai sonzai no ronriʼ, p. 160, my emphasis.

44. ^ Ibid.

45. ^ ʻThe nation-state contains within it the conquering ethnos [shuzoku] and the conquered ethnosʼ, ibid.