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Shimada Kenji, a Japanese scholar of China’s intellectual history who died in 2000, is endearingly represented in this short, incisive and, at times, personal book. In bringing together examples of Kenji’s writing with an interview and other critical texts, it provides a comprehensive, albeit brief overview of major themes from his work — particularly his interest in Neo-Confucianism.

Shimada Kenji, by Shimada Kenji
Translated by
Joshua A. Fogel
194 pages.
Merwin Asia, Nonfiction.

The reader gets firsthand accounts of Kenji’s character, scholarly vision and intellectual development. The result is an effective balance between academic writing and casual conversation. Without some prior knowledge of Chinese history or Kenji himself, however, the book’s merits may pass the reader by.

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