Watsuji’s Ethics from the Perspective of Kata as a Technology of the Self

Jordanco Sekulovski
Temple University Japan
This paper investigates the history of systems of thought different from those of the West. A closer look at Japan’s long philosophical tradition draws attention to the presence of uniquely designed acculturation and training techniques designed as kata or shikata, shedding light on kata as a generic technique of self-perfection and self-transformation. By seeing kata as foundational to the Japanese mind and comparing it to Michel Foucault’s research on technologies of the self, the groundwork is laid for a comparative analysis in terms of the principle of ἐπιμελείσθαι σαυτού, an ethical and aesthetic paradigm dating back to European antiquity. Not only does this bring to light their similarities as techniques of individuation, it also reinforces the importance of Watsuji’s relational understanding of human being.
Keywords kata   Watsuji Tetsurō   Michel Foucault   technologies of the self   aidagara   rinrigaku   interrelation   in-betweenness  Japanese philosophy
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