The first English translation of a remarkable book on modern aesthetics that clarifies a distinctively plebeian Japanese sensibility based on a unique category of taste, iki. The work anticipates directions in postwar thought, structuralism in particular, through its opposition of high and low culture. The only version of Kuki's text -- including those in Japanese -- to provide full interpretive notes (many based on Kuki's own sources and manuscripts), this book is essential reading for studies in Japanese culture.
Kuki Shuzo was a cosmopolitan member of an early twentieth-century modernising elite in Japan. During his long residence in Europe in the 1920s, Kuki studied under Husserl and was acquainted with Heidegger, Bergson, and the young Sartre. He was one of the first Japanese thinkers to found a Japanese aesthetics, bridging European and Japanese traditions in philosophy. John Clark teaches modern Asian art at the University of Sydney, Australia.