BK. Ezra Pound

53. ‘Ezra Pound Asks Scholars Here to Solve Issues: Japanese Intellectuals Can Discuss Them with Calm without Political Influence’. Japan Times and Mail, 4 March 1940, pp. 6-7.

  Reprinted in Ezra Pound and Japan.  

In 1939 and 1940 Pound was intermittently preoccupied with establishing for himself and for his readers a clear distinction between the cultures of Japan and China, and with the idea that much of the best of China had been ‘preserved’ in Japan (see 45f, 76b, and 82b6). Here, following notes about Fenollosa’s project of ‘telling the Occident that Japan is not merely an inferior form of China’, he contends that Japan has ‘continued to preserve some of the best Chinese skills and customs when China has fallen into her decadence’. Regarding what is specifically Japanese, he turns to Kumasaka (17g) and Kagekiyo (21a). In the former, ‘the ghost . . . carries admiration to every western romantic’, for ‘the gist of what three or more races have meant by chivalry, Ritterschaft, and bushido finds concentrated form in that Noh drama’, and Kagekiyo ‘contains the one Homeric passage in such part of the Noh as remains in the Fenollosa manuscript’. In advising Japanese intellectuals how they might best communicate with ‘Occidentals’, Pound suggests that they may ‘use Confucius and Mencius . . . to better advantage than . . . Buddhism’, though he hastens to add that he does not mean to detract from ‘the virtues of Zen’, about which he knows ‘very little’. Includes reference to Kume (Ap) and Kitasono (see D29). See also 49. Reprinted as ‘From Rapallo: An Ezra Pound Letter [5]’ in 82. .





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