PILGRIMAGES TO THE ANCIENT TEMPLES IN NARA, by Tetsuro Watsuji, translated by Hiroshi Nara. Merwin Asia, 2012, 252 pp., $35.00 (paperback)

In the Japanese original, “Koji Junrei” (1919), this book is a classic, much imitated and still quite widely read, although it has also been sometimes controversial. Tetsuro Watsuji (1889-1960), renowned as a thinker, was 29 when he made the journey it records, and had already published books on Western philosophy, notably on Friedrich Nietzsche. With this volume he turned in a different direction.

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