International Gramsci Society Newsletter
Number 9 (March, 1999): 27-29 < prev | tofc | next >  

Gramsci in Japan

The symposium that was held at the Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Tokyo in November 1997 to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of Gramsci's death helped bring to light the vitality of Gramscian studies in Japan. It also provided the participants with the impetus to reinforce their ties with one another and to embark on new collaborative projects.

The most important and ambitious new project proposed at the symposium was the preparation of a complete Japanese critical edition of the PrisonNotebooks. The preliminary work is already under way, thanks in large measure to the initiative of Hiroshi Matsuda, a vicepresident of the IGS and Professor of Sociology at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto. Most recently, Hiroshi Matsuda edited a special issue of Yuibutsuron Kenkyu [Materialism Studies] (vol. 23, n. 67; Winter 1999), that is dedicated entirely to issues and problems associated with the Quaderni. The special issue contains the following articles:

Hiroshi Matsuda, "'Gokucyu Noto' Kenkyu No Igi To Kadai" [The Value and the Problems of the Critical Edition of the Prison ] Minoro Tabata, "Guramusi No Yuibutsuron Hihan" [The Gramscian Critique of Materialism]

Koichi Ohara, "'Gokucyo Noto' Shohan No 'Genkaito Futsugosa'" [The Limits and Inconveniences of the Old Edition of the PrisonNotebooks]

Atusi Fukasawa, "'Gokucyu Noto' Furansugohan Ni Tsuite [On the French Edition of the Prison Notebooks]

Kyoichi Samesima, "Rironkano Katei To Ronri" [The Process of Theorization and Theory in Gramsci]

Satoe Kawakami, "Guramusi Ni Okeru Rekishisyugi No Keisei" [The Development of Historicism in Gramsci]

Nobuaki Kurosawa, "Hegemoni To Kyoiku" [Hegemony and Education]

Hiroshi Matsuda also organized a workshop on the critical edition of the Prison Notebooks that was held in Kyoto on 13-14 March, 1999. Participants in the workshop included members of the Kyoto Gramsci Society and Japanese members of the IGS.

Another important development has been the formation of the Tokyo Gramsci Society that was founded on April 26th, 1998. Established as a "forum of free cultural exchange" by some twenty younger and older scholars and activists living and working in the vicinity of Japanese capital, the Tokyo Gramsci Society has already grown to around a hundred members. The main goals and activities of the Tokyo Gramsci Society (TGS) are: [END PAGE 27]

1. Regular publication of the TGS bullettin, La Città Futura.

2. Development of exchanges with international research organizations and institutes (including the IGS) as well as foreign scholars engaged in Gramscian studies

3. Organization of courses or study meetings, providing TGS members with opportunities for the exchange of ideas

4. Organization and coordination of a study group devoted to the analysis of the Prison Notebooks, thus contributing to the development of a national collaborative project designed to produce an integral critical edition of the Prison Notebooks in Japanese

5. Promoting and encouraging cultural initiatives taken by TGS members that are in keeping with the purposes of the TGS.

The Prison Notebooks study group started its activities by discussing the overall structure of the text. Mr. Kaoru Kataghiri, a member of the TGS and reporter at the first meeting, underlined the importance of understanding the fundamental characteristics of the whole text of the Prison Notebooks taken in its entirety, rather than picking up and interpreting single notebooks or individual items in isolation. At the second meeting of the study group, Mr. Koichi Ohara dealt with Valentino Gerratana's introduction to the critical edition of the Notebooks, in which Gerratana referred to the "incoveniences and limitations" of the first (thematic) Einaudi edition. Comparing the critical edition with the earlier thematic edition, Ohara pointed out the problematic omission from the first thematic edition of items or paragraphs related to Leonida Repaci, Trotsky, and Engels. He observed that Togliatti and Platone consolidated their anti-Trotskyist position (as verified in the preface to the first edition) and were responsible for some important distortions that hindered a correct understanding of Gramsci's attitudes toward Trotsky and the Third International. Younger members of the TGS have successfully organized another study group for developing a better understanding of the life and work of Antonio Gramsci. For their basic textbook, they have adopted the Japanese edition of David Forgacs's An Antonio Gramsci Reader. This study group has attracted a number of young scholars and students who have participated in the discussions.

On November 14th, 1998, the TGS (in collaboration with the Trotsky Research Institute) held a symposium at the Italian Culture Institute on "Trotsky and Gramsci: Rethinking Their Historical and Intellectual Crossing."

The Tokyo Gramsci Society has already brought out five issues of its bulletin, La Città Futura. Here is the "Table of Contents" of each issue:

#1 (June 1998): Report on the Founding General Assembly; For an Intensified Study of the Critical Edition of the Prison Notebooks in Japan; Some Editorial Directions of the TGS Bulletin; Rules of the TGS Adopted by the Assembly [END PAGE 28]

#2 (August 1988): Gramsci and the Twentieth Century (1); Book Review: Cultural Studies Front/"Gendai Siso" and Rethinking Gramsci/"Kiho Yuiken"; Q&A: What is the IGS?; First Steps for the Study of the PrisonNotebooks.

#3 (October 1988): Gramsci and the Twentieth Century (2); Trotsky and Gramsci; Piero Gobetti and Gramsci (by Katumi Nakamura); Video Theater: An Italy I Discovered in "La Strada"

#4 (December 1998): Gramsci and the Twentieth Century (3); Successful Symposium: Historical and Intellectual Crossing Between Trotsky and Gramsci; Mr. Mnetaka Kurusu on an International Symposium on "The 20th Century and the Sorge Affair"; Debates on Blair Government Policies (from special edition of Marxism Today); Piero Gobetti and Gramsci; Video Theater: "Il Novecento"--Homage to Italian Film History; Book Review: Trotsky Studies no. 27: "Gramsci and Italian Communism"

#5 (February 1999): Gramsci and the Twentieth Century (4); Forgacs's Gramsci Reader Study Group Invites You To Take Part in the Discussion; Thinking of the Translation; Gramsci and His Pictures; Video Theater: "Padre Padrone".

The editor of the IGS Newsletter wishes to thank Hiroshi Matsuda and Koichi Ohara for regularly supplying information about Gramscian studies in Japan.   ^ return to top ^ < prev | tofc | next >