Poetry and Decadence: Reading Nietzsche with Karaki Junzō

How to Cite

Marinucci, L. (2021). Poetry and Decadence: Reading Nietzsche with Karaki Junzō. Scenari, (15). Retrieved from https://mimesisjournals.com/ojs/index.php/scenari/article/view/1567


This essay explores the original, cross-cultural interpretation of Nietzsche’s work and of the philosophical problem of “decadence” through a still little discussed text, Karaki Junzō’s Poetry and Decadence (Shi to dekasansu, 詩とデカダンス, 1952). Following Karaki’s insights on “perceptual self-consciousness”, and the complex relationship between decadence on one side, and temporality and nothingness on the other, we will first attempt a reading of Nietzsche as a “decadent”, which stresses the atmospheric, and even olfactory quality of his thought. I will suggest how this perspective offers a new way of understanding the idea of eternal return, in particular. In the last sections of the essay, we will instead observe how Karaki retraced a similar pattern of thought-poetry also in premodern Japanese culture: here I have focused on Karaki’s reading of Matsuo Bashō’s work.