Kuki Shūzō’s Temporal Aesthetics: Finding Japanese Identity in Art and Literature


The objective of this paper is to analyze two works of Kuki Shūzō: Propor sur le Temps (1928) and Bungaku no Keijijōgaku (The Metaphysics of Literature) (1940). The question we hope to answer is: Can we identify in Japanese art and literature a characteristic expression of time? What temporality is this?
In Propor sur le Temps, Kuki distinguishes the Oriental time as produced by an ignorant will. Kuki is basing this notion of time in Indian Buddhism in which transmigration is the source of time as an undefined reborn, repeating itself eternally. However, he also identifies a method to free oneself from this periodic and identical time, he calls it the immanent, willing releasement, which is born from the Bushido idealistic spirit. Through this same idealistic spirit, Japanese art seeks to express the infinity on the finite.
In The Metaphysics of Literature, Kuki identifies the present as the temporality of literature in opposition to the past and future as, respectively, natural sciences and morality's temporality.This present Kuki understands as a qualitative duration that flows, namely an intuition of pure duration.

Author Information
Diogo Cesar Porto da Silva, Kyushu University, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: ACAH2013
Stream: Arts & Humanities

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