IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Science of Symbiosis and Linguistic Democracy in Early Twentieth-century Japan


  • Sho Konishi

    () (St. Antony's College, University of Oxford)


Focusing on the early twentieth-century Japanese Esperantist and popular celebrity writer Miyazawa Kenji as an embodiment of a larger intellectual phenomenon of early twentieth century Japan, the essay delineates the scientific world view behind the Esperanto movement and corresponding internal logic that developed in the language movement's foundational years. It argues that Esperantism in Japan in its early years was not an isolated linguistic movement among a small number of leftist intellectuals, but part of a much larger intellectual, cultural, and social movement that reflected the particular scientific worldview of what I call 'anarchist science'. This worldview defied the conceptual bifurcations of 'modern vs. tradition' and 'nature vs. culture' in modern history. A history of its vision offers a fresh perspective on modern history, future visions of the past, and the historical meanings of Esperantism.

Suggested Citation

  • Sho Konishi, 2015. "The Science of Symbiosis and Linguistic Democracy in Early Twentieth-century Japan," Interdisciplinary Description of Complex Systems - scientific journal, Croatian Interdisciplinary Society Provider Homepage:, vol. 13(2), pages 299-317.
  • Handle: RePEc:zna:indecs:v:13:y:2015:i:2:p:299-317

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    natural science; Miyazawa Kenji; symbiosis; Esperanto; linguistic democracy; childhood; anarchism;

    JEL classification:

    • N35 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Asia including Middle East
    • O35 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Social Innovation


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zna:indecs:v:13:y:2015:i:2:p:299-317. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Josip Stepanic). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.