The Russian cultural presence in Japan after the Meiji Revolution was immense. Indeed, Japanese cultural negotiations with Russian intellectuals and Russian literature, art, theology and political thought, formed an important basis for modern Japanese transnational intellectual, cultural, literary, and artistic production. And yet, despite the depth and range of “Japan’s Russia,” this historical phenomenon has been markedly neglected in our studies of modern Japanese intellectual life. This absence may be attributed to the fact that “Japan’s Russia” as idea and cultural expression developed outside the logic of Western modernity. There has been an interconnected logic behind this ignorance, a systematic lacuna in our historiography that tied method to historical actors, concept to theory.
Olga V. Solovieva and Sho Konishi's Japan's Russia: Challenging the East-West Paradigm (Cambria, 2021) seeks to depart from this logic in order to identify thoughts and practices that helped produce a dynamic transnational cultural phenomenon that we identify as “Japan’s Russia.” It does so by orchestrating case studies from cutting-edge scholarship originating in multiple disciplines, each with its own methodological and theoretical implications.
Jingyi Li is a PhD Candidate in Japanese History at the University of Arizona. She researches about early modern Japan, literati, and commercial publishing.