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Historical Reality or Metaphoric Expression?
Culturally formed contrasts in Karl Florenz' and lida Takesato's interpretations of Japanese mythology
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.