chapter
9 Pages

Introduction

February 27th, 1925, the day after the ratification of the Japanese-Russian Treaty, I find myself writing the introduction to my history of the thought of the early Tokugawa period.1 How strange! The present government of Russia is a Soviet government. It is a Red government. The Japanese Empire, the fundamental national character [kokutai 国体]2 of which is unique in the world, requires great self-confidence in order to sign a treaty with such a country. Concretely, it requires us to assume that regardless of the resumption of relations we need not be afraid of infection by Russian Redness or of infiltration by Russian Communism. Can we be confident that the Japanese masses will under no circumstances be moved by the incursions of other kinds of thought? I have no hesitation in strongly declaring in the affirmative. The development of a unique Japanese thought [capable of resisting external ideas] dates from the foundation of Japan itself. But if we enquire as to the recent diffusion of this unique outlook among the masses, we must say that this dates from the thought of the Tokugawa period.3