This contribution is centred on the journey that the Japanese philosopher Watsuji Tetsurō (1889-1961) made in Italy for a few months around 1927. The diary he wrote during that time was published in 1935 under the title Pellegrinaggio alle antiche chiese d’Italia ("Itaria koji junrei"). The relevance that this book gained went beyond the usual boundaries of travel literature and served as a premise to Fūdo ("Climate and Culture") and to Ningengaku toshite no rinrigaku ("Ethics as a Study of Human Being"), which were published shortly after. The pilgrimage focuses on Fascist Italy and the idea that the philosopher had of this country was the result of a mirror image with respect to the tradition of the travel writings looking from the Western to the Eastern world. The image that Watsuji had of Italy, or of Europe, was the expression of the trasforming imagination in reality, in which sensitivity and intellect melt together, and where he had discovered a deep relationship between aesthetics and ethics. This essay aims at investigating these aspects trying to highlight the "politicized" dimension of the journey and its inner speculative nature.
Keywords: Pilgrimage Japan