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Michael Wachutka
Historical Reality or Metaphoric Expression?
Culturally formed contrasts in Karl Florenz' and lida Takesato's interpretations of Japanese mythology
Reihe: BUNKA - WENHUA. Tübinger Ostasiatische Forschungen. Tuebingen East Asian Studies
Bd. 1, 2001, 224 S., 20.90 EUR, 20.90 CHF, br., ISBN 3-8258-5239-3

Historical Reality or Metaphoric Expression? elucidates the differing interpretations on Japanese mythology by the German philologist and historian Karl Florenz (1865 - 1939) and the Japanese kokugakusha Iida Takesato (1828 - 1900) at the end of the 19th century.

Iida in his Nihonshoki-tsushaku and Florenz in his Japanische Mythologie approached a comparable endeavor from very different vantage points. It is shown how their distinct cultural formation, their education and upbringing within unlike academic discourses, and their life within a variety of intellectual, social and political milieus formed their different scholarly outlook and methodology in interpreting and commenting on the Nihongi-myths.

Comparing both scholars, their work and their mutual relation, we can find a very interesting interaction of cultural and scholarly traditions. Based on translations of both works, this study juxtaposes Iida's `emic' inner view on Japanese mythology with the `etic' outside view of Florenz, and at the same time provides the first portrayal of life and work of these two eminent scholars in English.

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