By Mark Driscoll
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Extra info for Absolute erotic, absolute grotesque : the living, dead, and undead in Japan’s imperialism, 1895-1945
His second axiom, then, is knowledge about and respect for the local, the most important aspect of which was Chinese customary law. Many elite males of Gotō’s generation (1857–1929) were taught the Chinese classics, inculcating a bias toward Chinese cultural forms. This willingness to incorporate aspects of the culture of the colonized was derived from his critique of European colonizers’ disposition to “impose their own culture” onto local conditions. ” For Japan to be recognized as the preeminent Asian leader, it had to continue with the “humanistic, enlightened colonial policy” that Gotō established in Taiwan (1944, 64–70, 62).
The state relied for its very existence on expropriating 8 I ntroduction the creativity of life. Although nation-state institutions concocted what he called “systems” (seidō), these systems were but a posteriori phenomena, parasitic entities that relied on the world-making capacity of lively others for their derived existence (1951–52, vol. 11, 201). Similar to the dialectic of “living labor” and “vampire capital” that Marx established in Capital, Minakata’s emphasis on life and its ontological primacy over and against the secondarily ontic mandala, totem, and generalized “system” was yet another source of disagreement with Yanagita.
Reassuring his readers that there was nothing mysterious about the historical fact of Manchuria’s being “conquered” and “colonized” initially by coolies, Adachi hypothesizes coolly, “No race known to history has ever beaten the Chinese in patience and persistence of striving for the thing their hearts desired” (1925, 42). This essentialist explanation of the coolie’s desire for the kinds of labor that no other race of people would do was self-evident, “as simple as it is apparent” (44). It was the ability of the Chinese coolie to live on cheap, coarse food— such food as is given to cattle in other lands.