By Ikuho Amano (auth.)
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170 With its proximity to introduction / 31 Romanticism, Antiquarianism, Parnassianism, and Naturalism, Decadence held a distinct position. 171 Part of Baudelaire’s aesthetic program, artificial paradise was meant to explore the unconscious realm of individuality through the use of narcotic substances such as wine and hashish. Such recourse was eagerly sought, precisely to secure one’s private realm from the commotion of social realities. In regard to the private sphere, we can trace the interplay between society and the individual in European Decadence at large.
There is an assumption in his view that human beings have an innate sense of guilt and conscience. 147 During the post-World War II years, Decadence (daraku) signified moral downfall and corruption, endorsing also a future-bound dynamism of Japanese people. Even before the war, the word, “dekadansu” (decadence), had frequently been used in poetry, fiction, and non-fiction in lieu of the indigenous Japanese noun, “daraku” (moral degeneration, imbecile disposition). “Dekadansu” was already being used interchangeably with indigenous Japanese words including daraku (corruption, depravity), taihai (degeneration), and hōtō (debauchery, dissipation).
Even though Italy and Japan followed paths that differed from those of other developed countries, their engagement with the European cultural movement was no less important than the local social and cultural conditions. Japanese writers of the time, such as Ueda Bin and Nagai Kafū, were deeply fascinated with fin-de-siècle Decadence, primarily for its exaltation of beauty through linguistic sensation. 170 With its proximity to introduction / 31 Romanticism, Antiquarianism, Parnassianism, and Naturalism, Decadence held a distinct position.