The Japanese Romantics’ interpretations of Okakura Tenshin’s philosophy during war time have often been seen as a distortion from a postwar point of view. However, their discovery of Tenshin is important because it stimulated the development of their distinct ideas.
This paper focuses on the view of Tenshin in the writings of Yasuda Yojūrō(a representative figure of the Japanese Romantics). There, we can see that Yasuda emphasizes the idea of continuation on three levels. This idea suggests the methodology represented in his famous 1936 essay “Japanese Bridges. ”
First, Yasuda emphasizes that “the world” Tenshin discovered as “Asia is one”, was an extension of the discovery of “the history” in which the exchanges of Asian cultures were very active. Second, Yasuda understands “the spirit of Showa” as directly connected with “the spirit of Meiji” embodied by Tenshin, discounting “the spirit of Taisho” between the two eras. Finally, Yasuda pays attention to the connection between the two worlds of Tenshin’s performance; “the heroes’ world” and “the poets’ world”. Yasuda then connects these worlds by relating them to the history of Oriental will, which blends the heroic accomplishment of Meiji restoration with the poetic heart of a lonely samurai.
In this way, we can conclude that the image of Tenshin, which Yasuda described as synthesizing every quality of Meiji’s genius, was shaped by three aspects of “bridging”, which brought different realms together.
The translation of “Fujino Sensei” by Takeuchi Yoshimi marks one of the postwar attempts to search for a new interpretation of the story. The reason he started working on a new translation was because he found himself disagreeing with Masuda Wataru and others, who had glorified Lu Xun’s life in Sendai as a foreign student. Takeuchi also disagreed with the interpretation in “Sekibetsu,” a novel by Dazai Osamu.
Before Takeuchi’s interpretation appeared, previous interpreters valued Lu Xun’s affection for Fujino Sensei to a disproportionate degree. However, Takeuchi did more justice to the dark side which appears throughout Lu Xun's work and to the agonies and despair Lu Xun suffered while in Sendai. Those experiences are implicitly expressed in “Fujino Sensei.” Through his translation, Takeuchi intended to make explicit this dark side and the great writer's agonies. One can clearly see his intention in the translation of the descriptions of the “Gento—jiken.”
Unreasonable importance had been placed on Fujino Sensei, but Takeuchi treated him as a figure who shows the dark side of the situation surrounding Lu Xun. His intention to emphasize this element can be found in the translations of “性格” in “他的性格是偉大的.” The translation of “Fujino Sensei” by Takeuchi differs from previous interpretations in that his translation,shedding light on the source of Lu Xun's agonies, gives a keener and deeper insight into them. This also indicates that he paved a new way toward the interpretation of "Fujino Sensei."