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Maruyama Masao (1914–1996)

Wolfgang Seifert

Subject Sociology » Sociology of Knowledge
Government, Politics, and Law » Political Sociology

Place Eastern Asia » Japan

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


Maruyama Masao, historian of Japanese political thought and political scientist, was the son of the prominent political journalist Maruyama Kanji, who worked for the Ôsaka Asahi and Ôsaka Mainichi newspapers. After graduating from the First Higher School in Tokyo in 1934 he studied the history of western political thought at the Law Faculty of Tokyo Imperial University. In 1937 he became a graduate assistant, and in 1940 assistant professor at the same faculty. In the meantime he was persuaded by his teacher Nanbara Shigeru to delve into the texts of the Japanese tradition. Before he was drafted into the army in 1944 and posted to Pyongyang and later to Hiroshima, he had written three treatises on the development of political thought in premodern Japan for the academic Kokka gakkai zasshi (Journal of the Society of State Science). Appointed professor in 1950, he held the Chair in History of Political Thought of East Asia at Tokyo University. Compiled from the treatises mentioned above, Studies in the Intellectual History of Tokugawa Japan was published in 1952. When his essay “Theory and Psychology of Ultra-Nationalism” appeared in May 1946 in the opinion journal Sekai , it created a sensation. Maruyama decoded the emperor system ( tennôsei ) in an unprecedented way by focusing on the “magic power” its main ideas exerted on the thought and behavior of the Japanese. In 1956–7 ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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