Die Gedichte Ōishi Seinosukes – Zum Verhältnis politischer Anschauungen und ästhetischer Ideale
This paper examines the correlation between political thought and poetic expression by introducing the literary work of Ōishi Seinosuke (1867–1911), a Japanese socialist and physician who was executed during the High Treason Incident of 1910/11. It shows that personal opinions regarding society and government do have a strong influence on the individual style of an author, not only in the matter of content, but also concerning the chosen language and the mode of expression. However, Ōishi himself, who studied in the United States from 1892 to 1895, seems to have been aware of several discrepancies between his own political ideals and the reality of literary creation. In fact, he suddenly abandoned his efforts in Japanese short poetry at the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War in 1904 and thenceforth conveyed his political message to the audience via the more conservative way of writing essays. This change of medium indicates that Ōishi no longer thought of poems as an appropriate means to fight the injustice of society and the destructive foreign policy of the Japanese authorities.