This article focuses on Kyoto School philosophy’s “philosophy of world history,” during World War II, and its arguments for a multipolar world order in opposition to the older Eurocentric and colonialist world order. The idea was articulated by the second generation of the Kyoto School—Nishitani Keiji, Kōyama Iwao, Kōsaka Masaaki, and Suzuki Shigetaka—in a series of symposia held during 1941 to 1942 and titled the “The World-historical Standpoint and Japan.” While rejecting on the one hand the myopic patriotism of the (...) ultranationalists, they argued for a view to the world and its history, that in contrast to the Eurocentric view to world history, was polycentric. In terms of world politics they associated their view with the aim to construct a co-prosperity sphere in East Asia of autonomous nations to counter European colonialism as part of a new polycentric or multipolar world order. Metaphysically this notion of a co-prosperity sphere as well as of a multipolar world was grounded in the Kyoto School’s concept of “nothingness” as an open space for autonomous but corelated subjects. During the war, these discussions came under fire by critics from the Right, and then after the war, from the Left. I will examine the potential viability of these ideas today as a polycentric world may be on the horizon that ideally would give space to difference and diversity and avoid the violence of homogenization. A comparison of their notion of the nothing with Jean-luc Nancy’s concept of the same may provide some clues. (shrink)
In this paper, we introduce the Japanese philosopher Tetsurō Watsuji’s phenomenology of aidagara (“betweenness”) and use his analysis in the contemporary context of online space. We argue that Watsuji develops a prescient analysis anticipating modern technologically-mediated forms of expression and engagement. More precisely, we show that instead of adopting a traditional phenomenological focus on face-to-face interaction, Watsuji argues that communication technologies — which now include Internet-enabled technologies and spaces — are expressive vehicles enabling new forms of emotional expression, shared experiences, (...) and modes of betweenness that would be otherwise inaccessible. Using Watsuji’s phenomenological analysis, we argue that the Internet is not simply a sophisticated form of communication technology that expresses our subjective spatiality (although it is), but that it actually gives rise to new forms of subjective spatiality itself. We conclude with an exploration of how certain aspects of our online interconnections are hidden from lay users in ways that have significant political and ethical implications. (shrink)
This article queries the notion of performance as a sustained act of commemoration, and, thus, implicitly, atonement and forgetting. Laying aside potential considerations of guilt and/or victimisation inherent in the spatio-temporal superimposition of a World War II modality of existence on an affluent, and, by comparison, peaceful part of the world, my investigation focuses on three mutually related areas of performance: the body’s hidden somaticity, the co-becoming of the self and time; and walking as a mnemonic mechanism. Aided by the (...) Japanese philosophers’ Shigenori Nagatomo’s concept of the hidden body and Kitaro Nishida’s theorisation of the relationship between the temporalised and the atemporal, the actual and the virtual, the spatial and the non-spatial as the continuity of discontinuity, I argue against the idea of performance as a cumulative, sedimentary and implicitly restorative poiesispraxis. Instead, I seek to articulate the ways in which the actional, interoceptive and psychogeographic schemes generated by eating and walking intertwine to create complex patterns of individual-collective remembering-forgetting. (shrink)
The aim of the article is to review Japanese Political Studies in Japan (JPSJ) circa 2000 for the purpose of identifying the trends of JPSJ and gauging its scope, subject areas, and methods. I then identify the key questions asked in JPSJ, i.e. for the third quarter of the last century: (1) What went wrong for Japan in the 1930s and 1940s, which had been seemingly making progress in the scheme of and was with a ? (2) What is the (...) secret of Western democracy in excelling itself in terms of keeping freedom and accumulating wealth? For the last quarter of the last century: (1) Why is Japanese politics shaped so heavily by bureaucracy? (2) Why are its citizens so weakly partisan in their voting choice? (3) How are politics and economics intertwined in policy making and electoral behavior? Following these trends in JPSJ in the latter half of the last century, I identify the three trends that have emerged in the first quarter of this century: (1) historicizing the normative and institutional origins of Japanese politics, (2) putting Japanese politics in comparative perspective, (3) the new self-conscious impetus for data collection and theory construction. Despite the steady tide of globalization and the strong influence of American political science, market size, long tradition, and language facility, lead political scientists in Japan to think and write more autonomously. (shrink)
Japan has more robots than any other country with robots contributing to many areas of society, including manufacturing, healthcare, and entertainment. However, few studies have examined Japanese attitudes toward robots, and none has used implicit measures. This study compares attitudes among the faculty of a US and a Japanese university. Although the Japanese faculty reported many more experiences with robots, implicit measures indicated both faculties had more pleasant associations with humans. In addition, although the US faculty reported people were more (...) threatening than robots, implicit measures indicated both faculties associated weapons more strongly with robots than with humans. Despite the media’s hype about Japan’s robot ‘craze,’ response similarities suggest factors other than attitude better explain robot adoption. These include differences in history and religion, personal and human identity, economic structure, professional specialization, and government policy. Japanese robotics offers a unique reference from which other nations may learn. (shrink)
Japan's Buddhists view bodily enhancement neither negatively in terms of sin nor positively as repairing the world. They prefer prudence, however, due to the fact that human desires will be enflamed by proffered new biotechnologies and ironically increase psychosocial dissatisfaction. In spite of great pressures for bodily enhancements within in East Asian societies, bioethicists issue strong cautions.
_Keiji Nishitani's critique of technology as a dehumanizing force is objected to by showing that it is possible to establish a relationship with technology characterized by the standpoint of sunyata. In order to support my claim, I offer an interpretation of sunyata as a lived experience in which knowing and being are unified. One method used to experience the identity of knowing and being is the method of negatio negationis. I argue that technology embodies this method, and that thus has (...) a built-in process that allows users of technology to achieve a samadhi experience in the use of tools and machines. Hubert Dreyfus' theory of embodiment is offered in support of this claim. If it is possible to establish an intimate relation with certain technologies, then the nature of technology cannot be reduced to its most obvious dehumanizing and destructive effects_. (shrink)
Known as the "Robot Kingdom", Japan has launched, with granting outstanding governmental budgets, a new strategic plan in order to create new markets for the RT Industry. Now that the social structure is greatly modernized and a high social functionality has been achieved, robots in the society are taking a popular role for Japanese people. The motivation for such great high-tech developments has to be researched in how human relations work, as well as in the customs and psychology of the (...) Japanese. With examining the background of the Japanese affirmativeness toward Robots, this paper reveals the Animism and the Japanese ethics, "Rinri", that benefit the Japanese Robotics. First the introduction describes the Japanese social context which serves in order to illustrate the term "Rinri". The meaning of Japanese Animism is explained in order to understand why Rinri is to be considered as an incitement for Japanese social robotics. (shrink)
The following contribution examines the influence of mangas and animes on the social perception and cultural understanding of robots in Japan. Part of it is the narrow interaction between pop culture and Japanese robotics: Some examples shall serve to illustrate spill-over effects between popular robot stories and the recent development of robot technologies in Japan. The example of the famous Astro boy comics will be used to help investigate the ethical conflicts between humans and robots thematised in Japanese mangas. With (...) a view to ethical problems the stories shall be subsumed under different categorical aspects. (shrink)
Comparisons of Japan with Western countries have long been used to explore the relationship between technology and culture. In the 1950s and 1960s such work sought to determine if technological imperatives were diminishing cultural differences. In the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s many sought to identify aspects of Japanese culture that might lie at the root of Japan’s technological successes. This article argues that we should now undertake more micro and more systematic comparative studies that are more directly grounded in (...) theory. Studies concentrating on engineers and the practice of engineering would seem to be an especially promising starting point. (shrink)
Women make up about ten per cent of the scientists and engineers in Japan. The aim of this essay is to make clear why, even in the year 2001, there are so few women in these disciplines. I will suggest that the socio-economic structure and gender ideology of Japan since the Second World War is responsible for this shortage which is often erroneously attributed to the cultural traditions of feudal Japan.
Japanese agricultural scholarship reached its peak in the Tokugawa period (1603-1868). Most of its representative works were imbued with the Chinese metaphysical doctrine of yin-yang-wu-hsing. They used the ideas of yin-yang, wu-hsing, yun-ch'i, hexagrams, and feng-shui extensively to develop their views and to explain various practices. There were two different attitudes towards Chinese concepts among Tokugawa scholars. Some regarded Chinese ideas as universal principles, and faithfully introduced them to Japan, whereas some were faced with the problem of national identity and (...) attempted to accommodate Chinese metaphysical principles to Japanese agriculture. This article examines the adoption of the yin-yang-wu-hsing doctrine in Tokugawa agriculture through a careful and critical textual study of several major Tokugawa writings. (shrink)
The industrial society in Japan is now entering into a new era of an advanced information society or a network society. AI as a knowledge information processing technology is becoming an integral part of the society. This emerging era is being supported by the information industry.
Although ethics committees in Japan have been developing in major medical schools and in some hospitals, their members are usually medical professionals from the same institution. The lack of national legislation for setting up ethics committees permits only a voluntary code of standards for doing clinical research work in high tech medical applications. The author argues for the necessity of more open debate on bioethical issues and proposes the participation of the lay public and bioethicists in Ethics Committees in Japan. (...) Keywords: ethics committees, bioethics, Japan, patients' rights, high-tech medicine CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
That the export of Scottish engineers and engineering teachers to Japan in the 1870s aided that country's astonishingly rapid process of modernization from a feudal to a capitalist, industrialized society will not occasion surprise or dissent. As the Japan weekly mail editorialized in 1878: In no direction has Japan symbolised her advance towards assimilation of the civilisation of the Western world more emphatically than in that of applied science.
In the rapidly changing arena of global politics today, nothing looms larger than the framework technology provides in determining the cultural, political, and economic fate of a people. Japanese philosopher Kiyoshi Miki observed already in the early 1940s that technology is not merely a sophisticated manipulation of tools but that it is fundamentally a “form of action” expressing a cultural and political orientation through the means of material production.1 The power of technology, according to Miki, has to do with its (...) ability to make our imagination concrete. But in this process, our values are concretized as well, so while the scientific principles that are used in engineering might be value neutral, the decision-making and actual implementation are always embedded in historical, aesthetic, political, and cultural meaning. If this is true, then a philosophy which claims to theorize about the human condition must also address the realm of praxis mediated by technology. A robust philosophical account of our historical development and political struggles would have to consider the real changes technology makes in material conditions and its long- term impact, as these are clearly existential manifestations of our cognitive grasp of the world. Critical Theory has made an important contribution to analyzing political struggles and examining the various conditions of oppression and cultural transformation. Beginning with the early Frankfurt School thinkers to Marcuse in the 1960s and Habermas in more recent times, updated approaches today cross diverse grounds— feminism, race theory, and globalization, among others. However, despite the fact that technology has indeed been a fundamental medium of culture and politics and many discussions touch upon the topic, the link between a robust critical political theory and technology has been a relatively unexplored territory. Marcuse produced a rather dystopian account of technocracy in the 1960s, but with the exception Andrew Feenberg who has most consistently worked on this theme, a positive connection between Critical... (shrink)
Japanese lawy students how everyday experiences raise significant domestic and international legal questions; that a seemingly technical matter provides an example both of practical application of law internationally and of the benefits that knowledge of foreign law can bring in assisting in understanding and improving domestic law.
[FIRST PARAGRAPH] During the last decade of the nineteenth century, the Engineer was only one of many British and American publications that took an avid interest in the rapid rise of Japan to the status of a fully industrialized imperial power on a par with major European nations. In December 1897 this journal published a photographic montage of "Pioneers of Modem Engineering Education in Japan" (Figure I), showing a selection of the Japanese and Western teachers who had worked to bring (...) about this singular transformation.' The predominance of Japanese figures in this representation is highly significant: it is an acknowledgment by British observers that the industrialization of Japan-the "Britain of the East"-was not a feat accomplished solely by Western experts who transferred their science and technology to passive Japanese recipients. Yet in focusing primarily on native teachers active in Japan after 1880, this image excludes several of the very foreigners who had trained this indigenous workforce in the preceding decade. Rather than attempting to assess the careers of each of the many international experts involved in Western encounters with Japan before and after the Meiji restoration in 1868, we will focus on disaggregating the highly individualized responses of just some of the Englishspeaking characters. In documenting their diverse encounters with Japanese people and technologies, we will look at the complex phenomena of cultural exchange in which they participated, not always without chauvinism or resistance. (shrink)