Abstract Intellektuellenkritik und Utopie

Postwar Japanese critics lament the lack of a utopian as well as critical conscience among Japa­nese intellectuals, which is mirrored in reflections over failures committed during World War II. In their search for an earlier intellectual model, postwar intellectuals rediscovered the early modern utopian thinker Andō Shōeki 安藤昌益 (1703–1762). In his writings, Andō Shōeki draws the picture of an egalitarian and agrarian community without social hierarchies and class differences. This is why he was particularly popular among Marxist intellectuals, who saw him as a precursor of Marxist thought. Shōekis thinking does show parallels to orthodox Marxist theories of the intellec­tual. As a substantial number of Marxists both inside an outside Japan criticized the intelligent­sia as watchdogs of the bourgeoisie and parasites, Shōeki in turn attacked Confucian and Buddhist “sages” as parasites exploiting common people in order to make a critcism of scholarship as a whole. This paper draws parallels between Andō Shōeki’s criticism of the sages, and Marxist theories of the Intellectual in inter- and postwar Japan, focussing on a specific interpretation of Andō Shōeki’s work by the Sinologist and literary critic Takeuchi Yoshimi 竹内好 (1910–1977).