This book presents the first collection of essays on the philosophy of Ueda Shizuteru in a Western language. Ueda, the last living member of the Kyoto school, has fostered the East-West dialogue in all his works and has helped to open up the Western image of philosophy by engaging the Zen tradition. The book reflects this particular trait of Ueda’s philosophy, but it also covers all thematic fields of his writings. Contributions from both young and established scholars and experts from (...) Japan, Europe and the U.S. make this a unique introduction to and reception of Ueda’s philosophy. Readers will discover discussions of mysticism in the East and West, and consideration of modern philosophy topics including self-awareness, nature and poetic language. The book also presents a focussed look at language and nothingness, considering silence and nihilism. Chapters allow the reader to understand the timeliness of a thinking that mediates and transcends the dichotomy of East and West. This volume will appeal not only to scholars of Nishida, Japanese philosophy, mysticism and religious experience in Japan, but also to scholars of Western philosophy, especially those interested in Meister Eckhart, Martin Heidegger and Martin Buber. It makes an ideal introduction to Zen philosophy and presents important contributions to scholarship on language and experience. (shrink)
Since its inception, analytic philosophy has failed to attain dominance in Japan. However, the 21st century has seen analytic philosophy gain traction among Japanese philosophers. This paper, which examines the status quo of analytic philosophy in Japan since 2000, consists of two parts. The first part deals primarily with organizations—specifically, relevant associations, journals, conferences, universities, and publishers are illustrated. The second part explores key works in each area—namely, philosophy of science, philosophy of language, philosophy of logic and mathematics, philosophy of (...) mind, and metaphysics. Key works in other areas are also briefly addressed. (shrink)
Chief amongst the issues Toshihiko Izutsu broached is the philosophisation of Zen Buddhism in his book Toward a Philosophy of Zen Buddhism. This article aims to critically compare Izutsu’s reconstruction of Zen metaphysics with another metaphysical tradition rooted in Descartes’ cogito ergo sum. Putting Izutsu’s terminological choices into the context of Zen Buddhism, we review his argument based on the subject-object distinction and establish a comparison with the Cartesian cogito. A critical analysis is conducted on the functional relationship between subject (...) and object in Izutsu’s metaphysics of Zen. This is examined step by step from the perspective of Descartes’ Meditations. On the one hand, we focus on prima facie similarities in meditative and reflective methodologies used by the Zen and Cartesian approaches. On the other, we highlight some unequivocal differences in the metaphysical role of the subject: an indubitable foundation for the epistemological access to objective reality, and an introspective apprehension of the egoless void or absolute reality. (shrink)
This contribution provides a transcription and translation of, and a commentary on, a letter of the German-Dutch-Japanese polymath Peter Hartzing to Gerhard Wolter Molanus, abbot of Loccum and famous collector of coins and medals. In the commentary, a survey of the life and intellectual endeavours of Hartzing is provided.
Why would a philosopher choose to convey his ideas in the form of Manga? This discussion between Masahiro Morioka, author of Manga Introduction to Philosophy, and the translator of its French edition, Pierre Bonneels, shows how philosopher and artist Morioka became acquainted, through images, with fundamental abstract notions. After a short historical analysis of the aesthetic advantages of Manga, consideration is given to this unique way of provoking thought. On this basis, theoretical aspects of “time” and the “I” proposed by (...) Ōmori Shōzō are compared with Morioka’s Manga presentation. Although the questions raised are universal, the authors note that the use of Japanese metaphors enables these two thinkers to draw on a concrete understanding of notions like temporality and identity. (shrink)
In American universities, even Asian Philosophy is still often taught following methods adapted from European universities of the nineteenth century. Whether or not this approach is well-suited to philosophy as it was conceived in that era, it is inadequate if the aim is to develop a deep appreciation of Japanese philosophy. To limit what we consider Japanese philosophy to only what bears a distinct resemblance to academic Western philosophy, and accordingly to approach Japanese philosophy purely theoretically, is to risk missing (...) the greater part. Much of Japanese philosophy is applied philosophy, or in other words, what Pierre Hadot calls a “way of life,” and to appropriate it meaningfully requires practice rather than mere intellectual study alone. Thus, I contend that a proper means for introducing Western students is a more holistic method grounded in practicing traditional arts, such as composing haiku. I argue that the seventeenth century poet Matsuo Bashō can serve as a valuable resource in this process. I conclude with a description of the methods that I use in my efforts at teaching Japanese philosophy to undergraduate university students in South Texas. (shrink)
John Maraldo’s Crossing Paths with Nishida assembles the life’s work of one of the leading voices in Nishida scholarship. Spanning over three decades, this brilliant collection of essays charts the path not just of Nishida’s philosophy, but also the path of deep inquiry of one of his most incisive commentators. In thirteen insightful essays, each reprinted with a new introduction by the author, Maraldo delves into the most critical issues in Nishida scholarship while rendering his philosophy germane to a host (...) of contemporary issues, such as environmentalism, nationalism, cognitive science, and phenomenology. A variety of systematic topics are explored, ranging from Nishida’s notions of “absolute nothingness” and “enactive intuition” to questions of religion, politics, and Nishida’s relation to Heidegger. This volume is essential reading for the specialist and for any reader with an interest in the most important thinker of the Kyoto School of Japanese philosophy. (shrink)
_Concepts of Philosophy_ challenges received conceptions of philosophy by way of critical engagement with Chinese and Japanese sources. Built on philologically sound readings of specific texts, the book lifts the discussion on the concept of philosophy to a global plane.
In tackling the question of what is Japanese philosophy, the paper discusses: philosophy in general, the issue of Japanese philosophy, and the relevance of both philosophy and Japanese philosophy in our present age of globalization. Examining the definitions of philosophy provided by Kant, Hegel, and Heidegger, and looking at the philosophies of Nishida and Nishitani among others, I argue the source of philosophy—its originary and universal motivation—to be the question of meaning of existence. Japanese philosophy is no exception. I then (...) discuss whether there is something unique to Japanese philosophy in particular and look into the question of the essence of Japanese philosophy. Furthermore, I argue that in order to be true to the original motivation of philosophy, the study of Japanese philosophy, if it is itself to be considered philosophy, cannot be reduced to biography, history, or philology. It must be relevant to our life. I then conclude with a discussion of the relevance of Japanese philosophy and the philosophical study of Japanese philosophy to our life today. (shrink)
Dynastic politicians, defined as those whose family members have also served in the same position in the past, occupy a sizable portion of offices in many parts of the world. We develop a model of how dynastic politicians with inherited political advantages affect electoral outcomes and policy choices. Our model predicts that, as compared with non-dynastic legislators, dynastic legislators bring more distributions to the district, enjoy higher electoral success, and harm the economic performance of the districts, despite the larger amount (...) of distributive benefits they bring. We test the implications of the model using data from Japan between 1997 and 2007. (shrink)
Transnational labour migration has recently returned to the spotlight in Japan, due to its rapidly declining population and labour force. This paper argues that the tension between the (self-)illusion of Japan as a homogeneous nation-state and trans-border labour-importing to ensure the continued supply of the workforce has inherently characterized the process of Japan’s modernity since the Meiji Restoration of 1868. In doing so, it seeks to demonstrate how the synchrony of such ostensibly conflicting interests makes eminent economic sense to recruit (...) migrant workers in order to ameliorate chronic labour shortages while keeping their labouring and living condition perpetually insecure and vulnerable. (shrink)
The paper provides an overview of the rise of Japanese philosophy during the period of rapid modernization in Japan after the Meiji Restoration (beginning in the 1860s). It also examines the controversy surrounding Japanese philosophy towards the end of the Pacific War (1945), and its renewal in the contemporary context. The post-Meiji thinkers engaged themselves with the questions of universality and particularity; the former represented science, medicine, technology, and philosophy (understood as ) and the latter, the Japanese non-Western tradition. Within (...) the context, the question arose whether or not Japan, the only non-Western nation to succeed in modernization at the time, could also offer a philosophy that was universal in scope? Could Japanese philosophy offer an alternative form of modernity to the global domination of Western modernity? In this historical context, the philosophies of Kitaro Nishida and Tetsuro Watsuji, two of the tradition's most prominent thinkers, are introduced. Nishida is considered the and his followers came to be known as the . The essay ends with a brief reflection on the influence of philosophy on culture, focusing on the aftermath of the tsunami catastrophe in 2011. (shrink)
The traditional arts may possibly constitute that aspect of Japanese culture that has the most literature dedicated to it, and the new book by the Italian scholar Marcello Ghilardi, Arte e pensiero in Giappone: Corpo, immagine, gesto, should have a deservedly high place among the works in this genre.
Apologies have long been considered an important social action in many languages for dealing with frictions of everyday interaction and restoring interpersonal harmony in response to an offense. Although there has been an increasing amount of research on apologies in non-Western languages, little research involves children. Japan is an interesting case in which to examine apologies. In particular, Japan has been called a “culture of apology“ in the sense that speakers often `apologize' (ayamaru) in a wide range of communicative contexts. (...) This article examines children's socialization to a culture of apology as evidenced by a large corpus of audiovisual recordings made over the last decade in households, playgrounds, and a preschool in Japan. In particular, it examines ways Japanese caregivers (e.g. parents, preschool teachers) use the expressions Gomen ne and Gomen-nasai ([I'm/We're] sorry) when addressing third parties, including not only other people (e.g. children's peers) but also a range of entities in the surround (e.g. animals, supernatural objects, objects in the environment such as a stone), and ways they prompt children to say these expressions to such third parties. This analysis suggests that apology situations are an important site through which children are socialized to empathy and relationships in the social world. It also examines ways children use these expressions when addressing peers and inanimate objects, and ways they prompt others including peers and even on occasion adults to say them. These findings suggest that while children deploy strategies in ways that reflect the socialization process, they also deploy them in ways that construct this process in creative ways. (shrink)
The Routledge Companion to Contemporary Japanese Social Theory breaks new ground in providing a detailed, systematic appraisal of the major traditions of social theory prominent in Japan today – from theories of identity and individualization to globalization studies. The volume introduces readers to the rich diversity of social-theoretical critique in contemporary Japanese social theory. The editors have brought together some of the most influential Japanese social scientists to assess current trends in Japanese social theory, including Kazuhisa Nishihara, Aiko Kashimura, Masahiro (...) Ogino, Yumiko Ehara and Kiyomitsu Yui. The volume also contains dialogues with these Japanese contributors from authoritative Western social theorists – including, among others, Axel Honneth, Roland Robertson, Bryan S. Turner, Charles Lemert and Anthony Elliott – to reflect on such developments. The result is an exciting, powerful set of intellectual exchanges. The book introduces, contextualizes and critiques social theories in the broader context of Japanese society, culture and politics – with particular emphasis upon Japanese engagements and revisions of major traditions of social thought. Divided into two sections, the book surveys traditions of social thought in Japanese social science and presents the major social issues facing contemporary Japan. The book will appeal to students and scholars of sociology, social theory, critical theory, psychoanalysis, risk, gender studies, feminist studies, self and identity studies, media studies and cultural studies. (shrink)
When I deliver an introductory lecture on Japanese Philosophy, I always raise the following question: Is it appropriate to modify the word philosophy with an adjective such as Japanese? Philosophy is, after all, a discipline that addresses universal problems, and so transcends the restrictions implied in geographical descriptors. However, as Kuki Shūzō argues in his essay “Tokyo and Kyoto,” I think that this is only part, and not the whole truth of the matter.One’s thinking takes place within the framework of (...) one’s cultural heritage, and the different nuances of each of the words one uses can influence how one thinks. It is for this reason that every philosophy has its own unique character. As Otto Pöggeler suggests, there is something about the thought of Japanese philosophers such as Nishida Kitarō and Nishitani Keiji that does not fit easily into the framework of “philosophy” in the Western tradition. This is a consequence of the fact that they did not simply passively adopt, but rather attempted to critically challenge Western philosophy. I suppose that their grounding in Japanese and other Eastern traditions contributed to their critical challenge of Western philosophy. And I submit that there is a strong tendency in traditional East Asian thought to not simply grasp things within a presupposed framework of “knowledge,” but rather, since “knowledge” itself is understood to be a certain kind of restriction, to return to its roots.Needless to say, neither Nishida’s nor Nishitani’s thought is merely a philosophical reiteration of such traditional East Asian teachings. Nevertheless, we can say that the East Asian idea that knowledge is at root something restrictive lives on in their thinking. The radicality of Nishida’s and Nishitani’s thought can be understood to lie in the manner in which they cast light on the limits of the “knowledge” pursued by Western philosophy, problematizing the basis on which this knowledge is established as well as the framework it sets up.I think that the “character” of this or that philosophy arises from such different ways of seeing things and different attitudes toward “knowledge.” It is crucial to point out, however, that the gaps resulting from these differences need not become hindrances for philosophical thinking. Indeed, I think that the existence of such gaps, rather than hindering “dialogues” between different philosophies, is precisely what enables them to be meaningful. This is also what I have in mind when I stress the importance of dialogue in my lectures on Japanese philosophy. It is, after all, the creative dialogue engendered in this manner that enables philosophy to progress along its path of radical inquiry. (shrink)
His book Some Japanese flowers of 1896. an original copy of which is in the collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum, features handcolored collotypes of flowers native to Japan, including the lotus, several varieties of chrysanthemum and lily ...
This is a book review of the book Frontiers of Japanese Philosophy 2: Neglected Themes and Hidden Variations edited by Victor Sōgen Hori and Melissa Anne-Marie Curley, published in 2008 by the Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture, Nagoya, Japan.
John Henry Newman’s educational ideas, which first became known in Japan before the Pacific War, continue to attract followers, especially as a result of the foundation of the Newman Society of Japan in 1983. However, this interest in Newman has had mixed results: on the one hand, some Japanese secular scholars who have tried to adopt Newman’s educational ideas to Japanese higher education do not seem interested in Catholicism. On the other hand, some post-war educational ideas of Japanese Catholics seem (...) incompatible with Newman’s spirituality and thought. (shrink)