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Uchimura Kanzo's Love-Hate Relationship with the Word "Love"

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Title: Uchimura Kanzo's Love-Hate Relationship with the Word "Love"
Authors: La Fay, Michelle Browse this author
Keywords: Christian love
Issue Date: Mar-2009
Publisher: Graduate School of Letters, Hokkaido University
Journal Title: Journal of the Graduate School of Letters
Volume: 4
Start Page: 77
End Page: 85
Abstract: As a Christian, Uchimura undoubtedly thought about, analyzed and discussed the concept of love. However, he recognized the difficulty in translating the word and the concept into Japanese. Uchimura stressed the importance of taking into account the close relationship between language and systems of thought. In this paper, Buddhist and Confucian history and culture surrounding the Japanese character and character complexes for love are introduced. The Buddhist character complex "katsuai「渇愛」 is shown to be fundamentally human-centered whereas Christian love embodies a transcendent element since love is seen as coming from God. The author also demonstrates that Uchimura's negativity towards "emotional love" shows that he may have been influenced by the negative meaning of the Buddhist character complex "katsuai「渇愛」." Uchimura uses several different variations on the Japanese character for love "ai「愛」" to try and encompass the nuances in the Christian sense of the word love. In trying to distance himself from "emotional love," he adopted what he called "rational love" and in the end, this becomes strongly connected to morals but loses some of the transcendent nuance. In conclusion, Uchimura's treatment of love has both positive and negative aspects but those aspects are the result of an attempt to bring new meaning into an existing Japanese term.
Type: bulletin (article)
Appears in Collections:Journal of the Graduate School of Letters > Volume 4

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