On Armando Martins Janeira

Okutama, Japan, 1954.

Alpbach, Austria, 1982.

Armando Martins Janeira was a diplomat and a writer, a sociologist and an essayist, a playwright and a poet, a man of the world and of the universe. He dreamt of uniting civilizations he has always known as divided. He denied all social and cultural borders. Men for him are one and only, despite their race, language, religion or culture. From his first book – Três Poetas Europeus (Camões, Bocage, Pessoa) [Three European Poets (Camoëns, Bocage, Pessoa)]published in 1947, to 1985, when he published his last book – Japão, A Construção de Um País Moderno [Japan, The Construction of a Modern Country] –, coupled with his diplomatic career, Janeira reveals an extraordinary creative and critical ability, and sometimes publishes more than one book in the same year. His comparative studies about the East and the West are remarkable and are considered the most important part of his works. His relationship with Japan, its people and its culture for more than ten years leaves him completely fascinated and conquered by the East. This immense attraction for the Japanese society was also felt by Wenceslau de Moraes, whom Armando Martins Janeira deeply admires and respects. Wenceslau de Moraes wanted to entirely absorb the Eastern culture and identify himself with it. Janeira received from Japan the whole experience of a people, but he never forgot his roots. Besides, the Eastern world made him more universal and brought him nearer Wenceslau de Moraes’ ideal of a planetary civilization.

But Janeira’s works don’t limit themselves to his experience in Eastern soil: he wrote several essays and critical studies on Novel, Poetry and Theatre in Portugal, and he is the author of several short stories, plays and poems. He also wrote studies on Philosophy, History, Sociology and Law, namely Consular Law. He left us many unpublished works.

Armando Martins Janeira was a wanderer through the world, and he always took with him his Portuguese roots that inspired all his steps in the pilgrimage of life. He was a Portuguese man longing for universality. And as a man, as a writer and a diplomat, he has fulfilled that ambition. For can somebody who loves the human being as Armando Martins Janeira has loved be other than a complete and universal man?