Japanese Philosophy

Japanese Philosophy: A Sourcebook

James W. Heisig
Thomas P. Kasulis
John C. Maraldo
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  • Book Info
    Japanese Philosophy
    Book Description:

    WithJapanese Philosophy: A Sourcebook,readers of English can now access in a single volume the richness and diversity of Japanese philosophy as it has developed throughout history. Leading scholars in the field have translated selections from the writings of more than a hundred philosophical thinkers from all eras and schools of thought, many of them available in English for the first time.TheSourcebookeditors have set out to represent the entire Japanese philosophical tradition-not only the broad spectrum of academic philosophy dating from the introduction of Western philosophy in the latter part of the nineteenth century, but also the philosophical ideas of major Japanese traditions of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Shinto. The philosophical significance of each tradition is laid out in an extensive overview, and each selection is accompanied by a brief biographical sketch of its author and helpful information on placing the work in its proper context. The bulk of the supporting material, which comprises nearly a quarter of the volume, is given to original interpretive essays on topics not explicitly covered in other chapters: cultural identity, samurai thought, women philosophers, aesthetics, bioethics.An introductory chapter provides a historical overview of Japanese philosophy and a discussion of the Japanese debate over defining the idea of philosophy, both of which help explain the rationale behind the design of the Sourcebook. An exhaustive glossary of technical terminology, a chronology of authors, and a thematic index are appended. Specialists will find information related to original sources and sinographs for Japanese names and terms in a comprehensive bibliography and general index.Handsomely presented and clearly organized for ease of use,Japanese Philosophy: A Sourcebookwill be a cornerstone in Japanese studies for decades to come. It will be an essential reference for anyone interested in traditional or contemporary Japanese culture and the way it has shaped and been shaped by its great thinkers over the centuries.24 illus.

    eISBN: 978-0-8248-3707-5
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-IV)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. V-XV)
  3. Translators and Contributors
    (pp. XVI-XVIII)
  4. Framework
    (pp. 1-32)
    The Editors

    The idea that people of different cultures actually think differently has been slow to find its way into the heart of western philosophy. Over the past century or so, anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists, and cognitive scientists have often examined this issue and compared results. But until recently, the majority of philosophers in the West have exempted themselves from the debate, often assuming that philosophy’s kind of thinking is universal and transcultural. Others have claimed to the contrary that philosophy is so distinctively western an enterprise that there is little point to look for it elsewhere. In either case, “nonwestern philosophy” is...

  5. Traditions
    • Prelude: The Shōtoku Constitution
      (pp. 35-40)

      It is folly to think of any single historical person or event as marking the beginning of philosophy in a given culture. Still, any treatment of a philosophical tradition has to start somewhere and we may take a cue for how to proceed from Aristotle. In his narrative about the development of his own intellectual heritage, Aristotle crowned Thales of Miletus as the first philosopher (Metaphysics1.3) and to the present day, most histories of western philosophy follow Aristotle’s lead. He believed Thales to be the earliest Hellenic thinker to seek not merely an explanation for everything, but an explanation...

    • Buddhist Traditions
      • Overview
        (pp. 43-50)

        Of the three streams of ethico-religious culture shaping Japanese philosophy over the past fourteen centuries—Shinto, Confucianism, and Buddhism—Buddhism has been the most influential in shaping how the Japanese have thought about the most difficult and universal questions of human existence. This is partly because of the harmonious relationship among the three systems during the ancient and medieval periods. At that time, Japan’s Shinto-relatedkamiworship addressed such practical issues as protection and fertility while Confucianism formed the basis of ethics, political theory, and education, with little debate aboutwhichform of Confucianism should be normative. By contrast, during...

      • Kūkai 空海 (774–835)
        (pp. 51-74)

        Likely the most famous Buddhist figure in Japan, Kūkai founded the Japanese ⌜Shingon⌝ (“Truth Word” or “Mantra”) School of Esoteric (⌜Vajrayana⌝) Buddhism. Famed for his calligraphy, his Chinese literary criticism, and his systematic dictionary of Chinese characters, Kūkai was a ritual master par excellence, the subject of innumerable legends, and an influential figure in the emerging polity of Heian Japan. He was posthumously awarded the imperial title Kōbō Daishi (“Great teacher who spread the dharma”). Born to a lower-tier aristocratic family on the island of Shikoku far from the country’s cultural centers, in 791 he enrolled in the imperial college...

      • Kakuban 覚鑁 (1095–1143)
        (pp. 75-80)

        Kakuban was the most creative and influential ⌜Shingon⌝ philosophical thinker after Kūkai*. Born in Kyushu, he became a monk in Kyoto at Ninna-ji. Rising through the ranks to become abbot of the Shingon monastic center on Mt Kōya, he encountered increasing resistance to his institutional, doctrinal, and practical reforms. This led to schism, his lineage eventually becoming known as Shingi (New Interpretation) Shingon.

        Kakuban integrated into Shingon the increasingly popular Amidist or ⌜Pure Land⌝ devotional tradition. In the selections below, Kakuban reaffirms ⌜Amida’s⌝ prominence in Shingon as an incarnation of ⌜Dainichi’s⌝ wisdom. By stressing the dynamic between the mind of...

      • Myōe 明恵 (1173–1232)
        (pp. 81-85)

        A Japanese monk ordained in both the ⌜Shingon⌝ and ⌜Kegon⌝ heritages, Myōe was an original and restive thinker who straddled the borders of traditional Buddhism and new directions of his age. His theory of universal salvation supported efforts to recognize the disinherited and marginalized members of society at the same time as he criticized the moral laxity of popular⌜nenbutsu⌝practices and what he saw as the distortions of the “heretical” ⌜Pure Land⌝ thinker Hōnen.* In its place, he championed a restoration of monastic discipline and advocated a “mantra of light” that focused on rebirth in the ⌜Pure Land⌝ rather...

      • Nichiren 日蓮 (1222–1282)
        (pp. 86-91)

        Among the founders of new Buddhist movements in the Kamakura period (1192–1333), Nichiren stands out for his strident opposition to the religious and political authorities of the day. Basing his teachings on an original interpretation of theLotus Sutrathat combined elements from the ⌜Tendai⌝ and esoteric traditions, he preached attainment of ⌜buddhahood⌝ and peace in the land through the recitation of a single mantra, ..⌜namu-myōhō-rengekyō⌝, expressing devotion to the mystic law of theLotus Sutra.In subsequent ages, his ideas would be put to the service of differing causes. For example, Nichiren’s teachings were revived during Japan’s...

      • Original Enlightenment Debates
        (pp. 92-103)

        The Buddhist term “original enlightenment” plays a special role in the development of Japanese Buddhist thought as a nonsectarian concept that represents specifically Japanese variations on the core theme of realizing “enlightenment.” It is an extension of the ⌜Mahayana⌝ teaching of ⌜buddha-nature⌝, the potential and hope for realizing ⌜buddhahood⌝. Given the ambiguity of the term and differences in interpretation, it can be translated into English in any number of ways. “Original enlightenment” is the most common, but this has a strong temporal connotation, implying some primordial or original state to be recovered or uncovered to fully realize enlightenment or buddhahood....

      • Jiun Sonja 慈雲尊者 (1718–1804)
        (pp. 104-109)
        Jiun Sonja

        Jiun Sonja was a leading Buddhist reformer, scholar, and apologist during the Edo period (1600–1868). At a time when the Buddhist establishment was increasingly occupied with tasks imposed on it by the Tokugawa government, such as keeping registers of the local citizenry, and conducting funeral and memorial services, Jiun devoted himself to reviving traditional monastic life, based on the model of the historical Buddha and grounded in Buddhist philosophy. To study early Buddhism, he undertook the study of Sanskrit, using the limited resources available to him in Japan, and compiled the 1,000-chapterGuide to Sanskrit Studies, a work unparalleled...

      • Ishizu Teruji 石津照璽 (1903–1972)
        (pp. 110-116)
        Ishizu Teruji

        As an undergraduate at Tokyo Imperial University, Ishizu Teruji specialized in religious studies. Among his teachers were Anesaki Masaharu (1873–1949), an internationally known pioneer in the study of Japanese religions, and Shimaji Daitō (1875–1927), who piqued Ishizu’s interest in the philosophical analysis of ⌜Tendai⌝ Buddhism. Ishizu later went on to teach at Tōhoku University, where he remained until 1965, and then later, until his death in 1972, at Keiō and Komazawa universities.

        A specialist in Kierkegaard and Heidegger, Ishizu’s best-known works on the philosophy of religion were published late in life. But probably his most original work was...

      • Nakamura Hajime 中村 元 (1912–1999)
        (pp. 117-124)
        Nakamura Hajime

        Nakamura Hajime was one of the leading representatives of twentieth-century scholarship in Buddhology and Indian philosophy. After completing undergraduate studies at Tokyo Imperial University in 1936, he went on to doctoral studies with a 1943 dissertation onA History of Early Vedānta Philosophyand subsequently took up a teaching post at the same university. After retiring from active teaching in 1973 he served for two years as Japan’s Minister of Culture. Although holding subsequent administrative posts, he devoted the rest of his life to Buddhist scholarship. Never known to be caught in a narrow specialization, Nakamura’s writings range across the...

      • Tamaki Kōshirō 玉城康四郎 (1915–1999)
        (pp. 125-132)
        Tamaki Kōshirō

        Tamaki Kōshirō graduated in 1940 from what was then the Tokyo Imperial University and taught there from 1959 until his retirement in 1976, after which he taught at Tōhoku University and Nihon University. Along with Hisamatsu Shin’ichi* and Nishitani Keiji*, Tamaki is one of the finest representatives of Japanese Buddhist philosophy. A specialist in early Buddhism, he also lectured in subjects as varied as modern Indian thought, German idealism, Jungian psychology, and contemporary philosophy of science. Not only did he have detailed knowledge of modern Buddhist scholarship, he pressed for greater attention to religious experience and philosophical thought. Already as...

    • The Zen Tradition
      • Overview
        (pp. 135-140)

        The Kamakura period (1185–1333) was a time of political upheaval, conflict, and an unusual series of natural disasters. The aristocracy had lost its political power to the newly risen samurai who aspired to capture the cultural authority of the court; the social and natural turbulence oppressed and demoralized the peasants and urban poor; the Mongols twice invaded southern Japan, threatening its sovereignty.

        Of the three new religious traditions that emerged from this volatile climate in Kamakura Japan—Zen Buddhism, Nichiren Buddhism, and the various forms of Pure Land Buddhism—Zen was at first the least populist. It began with...

      • Dōgen 道元 (1200–1253)
        (pp. 141-162)

        In Japanese religious history, Dōgen (1200–1253) is revered as the founder of the Japanese school of Sōtō Zen Buddhism. Tradition says he was born of an aristocratic family, orphaned, and at the age of twelve joined the Tendai Buddhist monastic community on Mt Hiei in northeastern Kyoto. In search of an ideal teacher, he soon wandered off from the central community on the mountain and ended up in a small temple in eastern Kyoto, Kennin-ji. The temple had been founded in 1203 by Myōan Eisai (or Yōsai). Also a Tendai monk, Eisai (1141–1215) had spent four years in...

      • Musō Soseki 夢窻疎石 (1275–1351)
        (pp. 163-171)
        Musō Soseki

        Musō Soseki was one of the central figures in the extraordinary first generation of native-born and native-trained Japanese Zen masters who oversaw Zen’s emergence as a widespread spiritual and cultural force in fourteenth-century Japan. Born in 1275 to an aristocratic family, he was placed at the age of eight in the nearby Tendai temple of Heien-ji, where he soon displayed the deep interest in sacred literature and profound love of nature that was to characterize his entire life. He received ordination in Nara, but after the difficult death of his ⌜Shingon⌝ master, the course of his life changed drastically. Convinced...

      • Ikkyū Sōjun 一休宗純 (1394–1481)
        (pp. 172-177)
        Ikkyū Sōjun

        Ikkyū lived at a time marked by social unrest, a struggle for power, and large-scale destruction of Kyoto’s treasured monuments. It was also a time of an overturning of traditional values and of great creativity in classical arts and literature. A Rinzai Zen master and poet, he threw himself into the maelstrom of this world of change, emerging as one of the most colorful and unconventional, if also controversial, figures in Japanese Buddhist history. Like his poetry, his life was a mixture of abstract philosophical ideas and earthy sensuality. His life is so covered in legend, due in no small...

      • Takuan Sōhō 沢庵宗彭 (1573–1645)
        (pp. 178-182)
        Takuan Sōhō

        Beginning as a nine-year-old novice monk of poor farmer-warrior origins, by the age of thirty-six Takuan Sōhō had risen to become abbot of Daitoku-ji, the imperial Rinzai Zen monastic complex in Kyoto. Takuan’s Zen was extraordinarily wide-reaching. It covered monastic theory and practice (extensive literary ⌜kōan⌝ practice, dharma talks, popular sermons, temple regulations), literature (poetry, literary criticism, travel diaries, essays, extensive correspondence), martial and cultural arts (swordsmanship, tea ceremony, calligraphy, ink-wash painting, Nō drama criticism), ethics (Daoist and Confucian), Chinese science (metaphysical reflections on theBook of Changes), and Chinese folk medicine and hygiene.

        Takuan’s reputation as a Buddhist thinker...

      • Suzuki Shōsan 鈴木正三 (1579–1655)
        (pp. 183-189)
        Suzuki Shōsan

        After serving for several years as an officer of the guard at Osaka Castle, Suzuki Shōsan shaved his head and spent two years wandering, homeless and in a life of severe austerity. He entered a temple and was ordained, but gradually became impatient with the isolation and quiet. He was appointed by the feudal government to reassert Buddhist influence in the heavily Christian island of Amakusa and later moved to the capital, Edo, in order to preach within the secular realm. As a soldier he had kept pretty much to himself and had a liking for monks and temples. Once...

      • Shidō Bunan 至道無難 (1603–1676)
        (pp. 190-194)
        Shidō Bunan

        A Zen master in the Myōshin-ji lineage of the Rinzai School, Shidō Bunan (or Munan) is best known for his teaching that the best approach to Zen would be “to die while you are alive” and then try to remain that way for the rest of your life. One of Bunan’s disciples became the master of Hakuin, and thus the germ of Hakuin’s notion of “the great death” of the self originated with Bunan. Growing up in present-day Gifu prefecture, when a Zen monk named Tōshaku briefly stayed with his family, he was so impressed that in walking with the...

      • Bankei Yōtaku 盤珪永琢 (1622–1693)
        (pp. 195-201)
        Bankei Yōtaku

        Bankei was a Zen monk of the Rinzai School who, after studying with both Japanese and immigrant Chinese Zen masters, initially settled into a quiet life away from the major cities, tending to the spiritual needs of his local community. But in his fifties he was invited to preside over major teaching monasteries in Kyoto and Edo (later Tokyo) and quickly became a famed master of many in both metropolitan areas. Bankei is famous for his teaching of what he called the unborn mind. Humans determine or significantly impact the nature of their own reality by their attention. This principle...

      • Hakuin Ekaku 白隠慧鶴 (1685–1768)
        (pp. 202-210)
        Hakuin Ekaku

        Born into a working class family, Hakuin Ekaku was attracted to Buddhism at an early age, studying its literature before dedicating himself to Zen practice at the age of twenty-two. Confident of his “awakening” two years later, he went to see the reclusive Zen master Shōju Rōjin who at first ridiculed him, but under whose direction he achieved his spiritual breakthrough. Hakuin eventually returned to his hometown where he had a long career as a Zen master in a small, rundown temple, attracting students from throughout Japan. In his later years, he began to make drawings of himself and of...

      • Imakita Kōsen 今北洪川 (1816–1892)
        (pp. 211-213)
        Imakita Kōsen

        During the final decades of the early modern period (1600–1868), Confucian scholars intensified their long-standing criticisms of Buddhism, depicting it as immoral and economically wasteful. Imakita Kōsen, an important Rinzai Zen master whose life spanned the transition into the modern era, responded to these challenges by writing an erudite treatise entitledOne Wave in the Zen Sea, in which he sought to elucidate the common ground between the two traditions. Imakita was well equipped for this apologetical mission: before taking the tonsure he had taught in a Confucian academy for several years, and continued to study, debate, and lecture...

      • Suzuki Daisetsu 鈴木大拙 (1870–1966)
        (pp. 214-220)
        Suzuki Daisetsu

        Suzuki Daisetsu (Teitarō) enjoyed an extraordinarily productive career bringing Zen Buddhist ideas to the West. Born in Kanazawa, he grew up with Nishida Kitarō*, Japan’s most famous modern philosopher. While taking classes at Tokyo Imperial University, Suzuki began a life of practice as a Zen layman under Zen Master Shaku Sōen from Engaku-ji in Kamakura, who attended the World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893, where he met Paul Carus, the editor ofThe Monist. He then introduced Carus to Suzuki, who later served as his collaborator and translator for several years. Returning to Japan, he eventually settled permanently...

      • Hisamatsu Shin’ichi 久松真一 (1889–1980)
        (pp. 221-226)
        Hisamatsu Shin’ichi

        Born into a Pure Land Buddhist family and raised in Gifu Prefecture, already as a child Hisamatsu intended to become a ⌜Pure Land⌝ priest. As he came into contact with scientific knowledge and critical reasoning, however, he found his naïve beliefs shattered and decided to pursue the study of philosophy under Nishida Kitarō* at Kyoto University. In 1915, despairing of the limits of rational thought, Hisamatsu took Nishida’s advice and began to practice Zen under Ike gami Shōzan at the Rinzai training monastery of Myōshin-ji in Kyoto. During his first intense retreat there, as he was to recount later in...

      • Karaki Junzō 唐木順三 (1904–1980)
        (pp. 227-232)
        Karaki Junzō

        Karaki Junzō was active throughout the Shōwa period more as a critic than a philosopher professionally trained in western sources. He studied under Nishida Kitarō* at Kyoto University and remained indebted to the thinking of Kyoto School philosophers throughout his life. At the same time, the religious ideas of Dōgen’s* Zen and Shinran’s* ⌜Pure Land⌝ teachings are also reflected in the development of his thought. Beginning with early works on modern and contemporary literary criticism, in later years he turned to medieval literature and to figures like the haiku poet, Bashō. Throughout his career, his abiding concern was with aesthetics...

    • The Pure Land Tradition
      • Overview
        (pp. 235-241)

        Like almost all forms of Japanese Buddhism, the Pure Land tradition was formulated in China in the sixth and seventh centuries, based on Indian scriptures that were interpreted according to indigenous Chinese thinking. The name “Pure Land” is used today to refer to either a line of Buddhist thinking or a cluster of Buddhist institutions. There are five or six major traditions within Japanese Buddhist thought, but Zen and Pure Land are given their own sections here because of their prominence in Japanese philosophical history since the thirteenth century. It should be noted that as a religion—and taken all...

      • Hōnen 法然 (1133–1212)
        (pp. 242-248)

        Often referred to as the founder of a movement scholars call “Kamakura Buddhism” and revered by the ⌜Pure Land⌝ sect of Buddhism as its founder, Hōnen in fact spent his entire adult life as a traditional monk in the Tendai School, understanding his ideas to be consistent with that intellectual tradition. Hōnen was thoroughly familiar with the exoteric-esoteric mix of Tendai beliefs and practices, and while some have argued that this way of thinking was so pervasive that no one would have been able to conceptualize outside this paradigm, there is much to suggest that Hōnen did indeed offer his...

      • Shinran 親鸞 (1173–1263)
        (pp. 249-261)

        The words and ideas of Shinran are probably more influential in Japan today than those of any other Buddhist thinker. Historically, he was the youngest of a small inner circle of disciples that formed around the ⌜Pure Land⌝ Buddhist master Hōnen*. Hōnen had caused considerable controversy by asserting the superiority of a new religious model in which the traditional goal of achieving complete liberation was jettisoned in favor of achieving, through ritual and meditation, the intermediate step of rebirth in the land of a cosmic buddha called ⌜Amida⌝. In his writings, Shinran claimed strict fidelity to Hōnen’s ideas and spread...

      • Kiyozawa Manshi 清沢満之 (1863–1903)
        (pp. 262-272)
        Kiyozawa Manshi

        Kiyozawa Manshi, who lived and wrote in the last decades of the nineteenth century, left an impression on generations of philosophers after him, including Nishida Kitarō*. As one of the first generation studying western philosophy at Tokyo University, he published on questions and thinkers at the core of philosophy, writing at a time when the Japanese philosophical vocabulary had not yet been settled. At the same time he was a devoted practitioner of ⌜Pure Land⌝ Buddhism, and cut short his graduate studies in philosophy to work for the Ōtani branch of the ⌜Shin⌝ sect, which entrusted him with setting up...

      • Soga Ryōjin 曽我量深 (1875–1971)
        (pp. 273-279)
        Soga Ryōjin

        Soga Ryōjin was one of the most innovative Buddhist thinkers of the twentieth century, but unlike some of the other philosophical minds of modern Japan, he focused on his own tradition of ⌜Shin Pure Land Buddhism⌝ throughout his life. As a young student, he lived in a communal study center started by Kiyo-zawa Manshi*, and was one of the first graduate students in Shinshū University. In 1904 he joined the faculty, but the school was subsequently moved back to Kyoto and renamed Ōtani University. Thus began a long and tumultuous relationship with the University that led to his resignation or...

      • Yasuda Rijin 安田理深 (1900–1982)
        (pp. 280-286)
        Yasuda Rijin

        As a young man Yasuda developed a serious interest in Zen and then ⌜Shin Buddhist⌝ thought. After the death of his mother, at age twenty Yasuda traveled to Kyoto, where he continued his study of both forms of Buddhism, in the end casting his lot with Shin Buddhism because of its commitment to the realization of the ⌜bodhisattva⌝ path within lay life. With the help of Kaneko Daie, whose writings had left a strong impression on Yasuda, he entered a secondary program of studies at Ōtani University, where he attended lectures by Kaneko and by the person who became his...

    • Confucian Traditions
      • Overview
        (pp. 289-297)

        The standard translation of “philosophy” that emerged in the Meiji period (1868–1912) was a neologism fraught with ancient and modern Confucian nuances. Yet far more powerful than the new wordtetsugakufor catapulting Confucianism to the forefront of Japanese philosophy was the impressive oeuvre produced by the first Japanese to hold a chair in philosophy at Tokyo Imperial University, Inoue Tetsujirō* (1855–1944), who authoritatively identified traditional Japanesetetsugakuwith various schools of early-modern Japanese Confucianism. In his monumental trilogy, Inoue revealed that well before western philosophy had entered Japan, Confucian thinkers of the Tokugawa period (1600–1868) were...

      • Fujiwara Seika 藤原惺窩 (1561–1619)
        (pp. 298-303)
        Fujiwara Seika

        Aristocratic by birth and a Zen Buddhist by early education, Fujiwara Seika developed a passion for Chinese philosophy while a monk at the monastery of Shōkoku-ji in Kyoto. Seika eventually renounced Buddhism and served various daimyō and wealthy merchants of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. In the process, he met several Korean prisoners of war brought in by Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s troops returning from their attempts to conquer Ming dynasty China. With the instruction of these Koreans, and especially that of the scholar Kang Hang (1567–1618), Seika acquired a more secular understanding of Song and Ming neo-Confucian philosophy...

      • Hayashi Razan 林 羅山 (1583–1657)
        (pp. 304-317)
        Hayashi Razan

        Hayashi Nobukatsu received training from an early age in Zen Buddhism at Kennin-ji in his native Kyoto, but soon turned his attention to neo-Confucian thought, which had been greatly enhanced by the arrival of numerous texts from Korea. He studied briefly with Fujiwara Seika*, who in turn recommended him to Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543–1616) as a capable scholar-retainer. In line with tradition, Ieyasu insisted that Nobukatsu present himself as a Buddhist monk. Although Nobukatsu had been devoted to the study and popularization of neo-Confucianism, he agreed to move permanently to Ieyasu’s castle-town in Edo, shave his head, wear Buddhist robes,...

      • Nakae Tōju 中江藤樹 (1608–1648)
        (pp. 318-323)
        Nakae Tōju

        Though born in a peasant village in Ōmi province, Nakae Tōju was adopted by his grandfather, a samurai living on the island of Shikoku, where Tōju was trained in Confucian thought for service to the local daimyō. He has the distinction of being the first major Japanese proponent of the mind-centered, intuitive philosophy of Wang Yangming (1472–1529). Unlike Yangming’s more secular epistemology advocating the exercise of “innate ethical knowledge,” Tōju affirmed along more spiritual lines that our ability to know what is good and act on that knowledge is due to “the divine light of heaven,” one of his...

      • Yamazaki Ansai 山崎闇斎 (1618–1682)
        (pp. 324-328)
        Yamazaki Ansai

        Yamazaki Ansai was both the most faithful and virtually unquestioning exponent of Zhu Xi’s neo-Confucian philosophy in Tokugawa Japan as well as a later pioneer of a syncretistic religious-philosophical system affirming the fundamental unity of neo-Confucianism and Shinto. Compared to the perfection of Zhu Xi’s work, other forms of neo-Confucianism seemed to him incomplete, shallow, or distorted. These criticisms, reiterated by his disciples, carried over to thinkers like Hayashi Razan* who drew on authors critical of Zhu Xi.

        More than metaphysical theories, Ansai’s school focused on the notion of “reverence” as the key to self-cultivation and engagement with the world....

      • Kumazawa Banzan 熊沢蕃山 (1619–1691)
        (pp. 329-334)
        Kumazawa Banzan

        A major Japanese advocate of the neo-Confucian philosophy of Wang Yangming, Kumazawa Banzan gravitated from the metaphysical toward more practical, sociopolitical, and economic applications of that intuitive, mind-centered system. Rather than the doctrinal innovations, often very spiritual in nature, advanced by his teacher, Nakae Tōju*, Banzan’s major works,Questions and Answers on the Great Learning and Japanese Writings on Accumulating Righteousness, spell out his conviction that a true philosophy is one that can be applied to the real and pressing issues of the day. Banzan took his philosophical commitment to practical political concerns seriously and continued to speak out even...

      • Yamaga Sokō 山鹿素行 (1622–1685)
        (pp. 335-346)
        Yamaga Sokō

        Although born the son of arōninin Aizu-Wakamatsu, Yamaga Soko became the first major neo-Confucian scholar to mature from the new intellectual milieu crystallizing in Edo, the shogun’s capital. When Soko was five years old, his father, Yamaga Sadamochi, moved to the capital and established himself as a samurai-physician. After beginning his study of Chinese literature at age six, Sokō later received instruction in neo-Confucianism from Hayashi Razan*. He also studied martial arts, Japanese literature, and Shinto thought with some of the leading figures in Edo of the time. During his twenties, Sokō emerged as a samurai philosopher with...

      • Itō Jinsai 伊藤仁斎 (1627–1705)
        (pp. 347-359)
        Itō Jinsai

        Itō Jinsai’s family moved to Kyoto, the ancient imperial capital, towards the end of the sixteenth century, just before Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543–1616) was to consolidate the samurai rule of Japan as the new shōgun, and inaugurate the Tokugawa period (1600–1868). Ieyasu based his samurai regime in Edo (later Tokyo), the capital of his ⌜shogunate⌝. Within a century Edo had become the cultural center of Japan, increasingly eclipsing Kyoto in the intellectual, artistic, and cultural arenas. During Jinsai’s life, however, Kyoto retained its status as the center of traditional culture, if not political power.

        Although Jinsai’s family was not...

      • Kaibara Ekken 貝原益軒 (1630–1714)
        (pp. 360-373)
        Kaibara Ekken

        Kaibara Ekken, a prominent Japanese neo-Confucian scholar, who has been called the “Aris totle of Japan” because of his study of natural history, was born on the island of Kyushu. Until the age of fourteen he had a strong interest in Buddhism, but under the guidance of his older brother, Sonsai, he turned to Confucianism and began to read Zhu Xi at an early age. Following in the footsteps of his father, who was a physician to the local ⌜daimyō⌝, Ekken pursued the study of medicine as a young man and maintained a lifelong interest in matters of health.


      • Satō Naokata 佐藤直方 (1650–1719)
        (pp. 374-380)
        Satō Naokata

        Sato Naokata was one of the most orthodox advocates of Zhu Xi’s neo-Confucian philosophy in the early eighteenth century. Born in southwestern Japan, he studied neo-Confucianism with Yamazaki Ansai* in Kyoto, at a time when the latter was still a fervent exponent of orthodox Zhu Xi learning. When Ansai later developed his synthesis of Shinto and neo-Confucianism, Naokata broke with him. Indeed, Naokata emerged thereafter as one of the harshest and most sarcastic critics of Shinto and its chauvinistic hyperbole about the superiority of Japan vis-à-vis all other countries. Instead of worshiping his native land, he emphasized his sense of...

      • Asami Keisai 浅見絅斎 (1652–1711)
        (pp. 381-386)
        Asami Keisai

        Born in Ōmi Province, Asami Keisai was trained first as a physician and later studied with Yamazaki Ansai* in nearby Kyoto, where he was to spend the remainder of his life teaching his verson of Ansai’s “orthodox” reading of Zhu Xi’s neo-Confucianism. Differences in interpretation eventually led Ansai to break with Keisai and Sato Naokata*, who, though his best pupils, were not on good terms with one another. Naokata, for example, had little respect for Shinto, while Keisai was closer to Ansai in insisting on its obvious importance for all Japanese. He is even reported to have suggested that Japanese...

      • Arai Hakuseki 新井白石 (1657–1725)
        (pp. 387-392)
        Arai Hakuseki

        Arai Hakuseki, a contemporary and rival of Ogyū Sorai*, served the Toku gawa ⌜shogunate⌝ in the capacity of a Confucian scholar for a number of years. During this period he attempted to persuade the shōgun Ienobu to take the title,“King of Japan,” at least in the diplomatic arena, as a reflection of his real political standing in both name and substance. Like so many of Hakuseki’s social, political, and economic proposals, his terminological and ceremonial re-conceptualization of the shogunate had no lasting effect.

        When the Italian priest Giovanni Battista Sidotti arrived in Japan to revive Christian missionary activities, he was...

      • Ogyū Sorai 荻生徂徠 (1666–1728)
        (pp. 393-410)
        Ogyū Sorai

        Ogyū Sorai formulated one of the most politically oriented, authoritarian statements of Confucian philosophy to emerge from Japan. While claiming to do little more than offer a systematic exposition of the meanings of philosophical terms in the Six Classics, texts that he purportedly took as an absolute standard for all sociopolitical discourse, he in fact set forth a philosophical vision that would be highly useful to a ruling elite eager to have its policies accepted by all as sacred. At every turn, we see Sorai extolling the “early kings” of ancient China as sages who formulated a ⌜Way⌝ that later...

      • Ishida Baigan 石田梅岩 (1685–1744)
        (pp. 411-415)
        Ishida Baigan

        Ishida Baigan was a clerk at a dry-goods shop in Kyoto who dedicated himself to book learning early in the morning and late at night while his fellow-workers were sleeping. In 1729 he quit his job and began to give free lectures to the public on selected Japanese and Chinese classics, taking care to use terms that could be easily understood by the merchants and artisans of his own milieu. Baigan’s message, which came to be called⌜Shingaku⌝or the “Learning of the Mind,” centered on the critical importance of understanding one’s own true nature. According to Baigan, the Way,...

      • Andō Shōeki 安藤昌益 (1703–1762)
        (pp. 416-429)
        Andō Shōeki

        Arguably one of the most systematic and profound metaphysical theorists of the early modern period, Andō Shōeki was virtually unknown as a philosopher in his own day. He had no more than two dozen disciples and his voluminous writings were only recognized after their discovery in the late nineteenth century. Even today, Shōeki’s ideas remain relatively unknown among western scholars, though he is widely acknowledged as the author of one of the most penetrating and imaginative critiques of Confucian, Buddhist, Daoist, and Shinto thought to appear in early modern Japanese history, as well as a visionary metaphysician who elaborated one...

      • Tominaga Nakamoto 富永仲基 (1715–1746)
        (pp. 430-435)
        Tominaga Nakamoto

        Tominaga Nakamoto was born and raised in Osaka, the son of a soy merchant who was one of the founders of the Kaitokudo academy, a center of neo-Confucian philosophizing for merchants and townspeople. Though he passed away at age thirty-one after a lengthy illness, Nakamoto authored two important works,Emerging from Meditation(1745) andThe Writings of an Old Man(1746). The former attempts a kind of historical deconstruction of the Buddhist tradition in Asia, while the latter outlines Nakamoto’s critiques of Shinto, Buddhist, and Confucian traditions. A third work, since lost, entitledAn Explanation of Errors, critically analyzed Confucian...

      • Teshima Toan 手島堵庵 (1718–1786)
        (pp. 436-440)
        Teshima Toan

        Born into a prosperous merchant family of Kyoto, Teshima Toan became a follower of Ishida Baigan* in early adulthood and eventually inherited the leadership of the⌜Shingaku⌝movement as a whole. After Toan began teaching in 1760 he initiated a regular program of lectures on key Confucian texts and Japanese literary classics. In addition, he published several moral tracts in the Japanese vernacular, some of which were targeted specifically at women and children. Baigan’s successor also established the practice of traveling lectures, which ultimately led to the popularization of Shingaku ethical ideas throughout both rural and urban Japan.

        For the...

      • Miura Baien 三浦梅園 (1723–1789)
        (pp. 441-446)
        Miura Baien

        Miura Baien lived in the small village of Tominaga (present-day Oita prefecture) on the island of Kyushu, where he taught and developed his philosophical ideas. In the meantime, he maintained contacts with neo-Confucian scholars, one of whom was his good friend the astronomer Asada Gōryū (1734–1799), who independently discovered the relationship of the length of a planet’s orbit to its distance from the sun. Baien’s major writings comprise a work on ethics calledDaring Words, an exposition of his own metaphysics,Deep Words, and a companion volume,Additional Words.

        Baien wrote no less than twenty-three versions ofDeep Words...

      • Ninomiya Sontoku 二宮尊徳 (1787–1856)
        (pp. 447-454)
        Ninomiya Sontoku

        Ninomiya Sontoku was born into a dysfunctional family, but through dedicated hard work, a fascination with learning, and a survival-driven devotion to self-help, he was able to attain high office, an impressive following, and a legacy in modern Japan that few if any Tokugawa thinkers of any philosophical stripe would ever begin to approximate.

        Sontoku was not a Confucian as such. Rather, he described his philosophy as a mixture of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Shinto, one comparable to a medicinal potion with the right and proper amounts of each of the teachings. Despite the eclecticism evident in his thinking, Confucian themes,...

    • Shinto and Native Studies
      • Overview
        (pp. 457-465)

        Four elements of ancient Japanese culture formed the basis for a series of philosophical reflections and analyses that culminated in the eighteenth century with a movement called Native Studies. The first was⌜kami⌝worship, the ritual reverence shown to awe-inspiring loci of spiritual presence, whether celestial deities, natural phenomena, ghosts or spirits, or even human artifacts associated with a person of great charisma. The term “Shinto” or “kami no michi” means literally the “Way of thekami.” The second element was the valorization of the ancient Japanese language in the writing and appreciation of⌜waka⌝poetry. The third element was...

      • Kamo no Mabuchi 賀茂真淵 (1697–1769)
        (pp. 466-471)
        Kamo no Mabuchi

        Born in Hamamatsu to a family with ancestral connections to Shinto, Kamo no Mabuchi’s early education took place in local scholarly circles that combined Shinto studies with the study of⌜waka⌝poetry. In 1728 Mabuchi enrolled as a student of the famous Shinto scholar Kada no Azumamaro (1669–1736), later moving to Kyoto to be closer to his teacher. After Azumamaro’s death, Mabuchi moved to Edo to work with his nephew Kada no Arimaro (1706–1751), a scholar of Japanese studies in the employ of Tayasu Munetake, second son of the shōgun Tokugawa Yoshimune. In 1742 Mabuchi was invited to...

      • Motoori Norinaga 本居宣長 (1730–1801)
        (pp. 472-492)
        Motoori Norinaga

        Motoori Norinaga, the preeminent scholar of the early modern nativist movement known asKokugaku,was born to a cotton wholesaler in the town of Matsusaka. In 1852, he went to Kyoto to study medicine, where he also enrolled in the school of the Confucian scholar Hori Keizan (1689–1757). Through the course of his studies, which included native poetic and prose traditions, Norinaga was informed by two hermeneutical approaches. The first was that of Ogyū Sorai*, who advocated a return to the study of the original, primary texts of Chinese Confucianism in order to ascertain the “true facts” of the...

      • Fujitani Mitsue 富士谷御杖 (1768–1823)
        (pp. 493-508)
        Mitsue Fujitani

        Fujitani Mitsue, or Narimoto as he was also known, was born into a prominent family of intellectuals in Kyoto. His father, Fujitani Nariakira was an erudite and imaginative scholar who authored several works analyzing Japanese poetic language in the light of new grammatical categories of his own device. His uncle, Minagawa Kien, was a well-known Confucian scholar who also had a strong interest in linguistic theory. The Fujitani family served as hereditary retainers of the Yanagawa domain, a position that provided them with a comfortable living. As a youth, Mitsue was schooled in the most important cultural practices of his...

      • Hirata Atsutane 平田篤胤 (1776–1843)
        (pp. 509-522)
        Hirata Atsutane

        Hirata Atsutane, one of the most influential religious and political figures of the first half of the nineteenth century, was active in establishing what would later come to be known as restoration Shinto. Born the fourth son of a samurai retainer, he later moved to Edo, where he was adopted by Hirata Tōbei, the head of a small academy that propagated the teachings of Yamaga Sokō*, an advocate of ancient Confucian learning. He styled himself a student of Motoori Norinaga*, whose academy he entered three years after the latter’s death. Thus began his involvement in the movement for Native Studies...

      • Ōkuni Takamasa 大國隆正 (1792–1871)
        (pp. 523-535)
        Ōkuni Takamasa

        Ōkuni Takamasa was born into a samurai family in the Tsuwano domain compound of Edo. At age fourteen he joined the school of Hirata Atsutane* as one of the first disciples and at the same time he received a formal education in Confucian studies at the Shōheigaku shogunal academy. A visit to Nagasaki in 1818 piqued his interest in western studies. He went on to establish himself in Edo as a calligrapher and as a scholar of ”ancient matters,” focusing on the study of the age of the⌜kami⌝in the spirit of Atsutane. Shortly after being appointed to an...

      • Orikuchi Shinobu 折口信夫 (1887–1953)
        (pp. 536-542)
        Orikuchi Shinobu

        Accomplished as a neo-nativist folklorist, Shinto theologian, scholar of classical literature, andtankapoet (writing under the name Shaku Chōkū), Orikuchi Shinobu was born in the rural surroundings of Osaka. He moved to Tokyo for study at Kokugakuin University where he graduated in 1910 with a major in Japanese literature. Twelve years later he became a full professor, lecturing on Shinto with a focus on its nature as a religion, and from 1928 he also lectured at what would become Keiō University.

        It was an encounter with Yanagita Kunio (1875–1962) at a study group organized by Nitobe Inazō (1862...

      • Ueda Kenji 上田賢治 (1927–2003)
        (pp. 543-550)
        Ueda Kenji

        Four years after completing a master’s degree in religious studies at the Shinto-affiliated Kokugakuin University in Tokyo with a thesis on the psychology of religion, Ueda Kenji moved to Harvard University to study with Paul Tillich. He returned to his alma mater in 1960 and took a position teaching Shinto theology. In 1973 he accepted a post as visiting lecturer for eighteen months at the University of Bonn. In 1982 he was awarded his doctorate from Kokugakuin University and was appointed director of its Institute for Japanese Culture and Classics. He retired after a four-year term as president. Under Tillich’s...

  6. Modern Academic Philosophy
    • Beginnings, Definitions, Disputations
      • Overview
        (pp. 553-582)

        Modern Academic Philosophy in Japan began with disputations about the meaning and scope of the very termphilosophy. The word and the discipline it designated entered Japan in the mid-nineteenth century as part of an enormous influx of knowledge and technology as the country opened its borders more widely to the West and the rest of the world, after more than two hundred years of relative isolation. The upheaval in social and political institutions led to the collapse of the government and the eventual rise of an imperial power with global reach. Japan’s intellectual traditions were likewise challenged by their...

      • Nishi Amane 西 周 (1829–1887)
        (pp. 583-588)
        Nishi Amane

        Nishi Amane is known for his pioneering work in introducing European philosophy and other disciplines into Japan. Born in the Tsuwano domain (presentday Tsuwano town in Shimane Prefecture), he was educated in Zhu Xi philosophy at a domain school for samurai youth, but later began to sympathize deeply with the thought of Ogyū Sorai,* a critic of the Zhu Xi School. Nishi learned Dutch and English in Edo (present-day Tokyo) and translated western texts for Tokugawa ⌜shogunate⌝ officials. In 1862 he and the legal scholar Tsuda Mamichi were sent by the shogunate to study in Leiden in the Netherlands, where...

      • Fukuzawa Yukichi 福沢諭吉 (1835–1901)
        (pp. 589-603)
        Fukuzawa Yukichi

        Fukuzawa Yukichi, in his own estimation, was the initiator, or at least an inspiration for, many of the reforms that took place during Japan’s process of modernization. Be that as it may, his was a strong dissenting voice against the lingering habits of feudalistic thought. Trained in western learning, Fukuzawa taught himself Dutch and English. Shortly after the opening of Japan, he made the first of three trips to the United States. On returning he was employed in the Tokugawa ⌜shogunate’s⌝ translation bureau. It was during this period that he published his first work,Conditions in the West, which was...

      • Nakae Chōmin 中江兆民 (1847–1901)
        (pp. 604-610)
        Nakae Chōmin

        Nakae Chōmin (Nakae Tokusuke) was a journalist, an advocate of natural rights, free thinker, and politician. From 1862, he began to study “Western Learning” and the French language. As part of a government mission to Europe, he lived in France from 1871 to 1874, during which time he studied law, philosophy, history, and literature. After returning to Japan he opened his own school for French language studies, and undertook a translation of Rousseau’sSocial Contract. Through articles and editorials for a number of newspapers, Chōmin made an important intellectual contribution to the popular rights movement of the 1870s and early...

      • Inoue Tetsujirō 井上哲次郎 (1855–1944)
        (pp. 611-618)
        Inoue Tetsujirō

        Inoue Tetsujirō was one of the most important figures in the formation of philosophy as an academic discipline in Japan. His concern with the confusion surrounding philosophical concepts and categories in the Meiji period prompted him to compile several dictionaries of philosophy. He studied in Germany from 1884 to 1890 under Eduard von Hartmann, after which he assumed a post at Tokyo University, which he held until retirement in 1923. During those years he was active in philosophical discussions, served as president of the Philosophical Society, and exerted a powerful role as ideologue for the Meiji government.

        He collaborated with...

      • Inoue Enryō 井上円了 (1858–1919)
        (pp. 619-630)
        Inoue Enryō

        Inoue Enryō was probably the most influential and prolific Buddhist theorist of the Meiji period. He was expected to become a priest in the True ⌜Pure Land⌝ sect of Buddhism, but after studying philosophy in Tokyo, decided to go his own way. He traveled widely throughout Japan and its colonies, delivering thousands of lectures in village and town halls, and journeyed around the world three times. Although a philosopher by profession, he is widely remembered for his multivolume work on supernatural phenomena,A Study of Ghosts and Phantoms.

        The selections that follow are taken from Enryō’s lectures and show his...

      • Ōnishi Hajime 大西 祝 (1864–1900)
        (pp. 631-636)
        Ōnishi Hajime

        Ōnishi Hajime, philosopher, Christian apologist and social critic, studied theology at Dōshisha Eigakkō (present-day Dōshisha University) from 1877 to 1884, and then philosophy at Tokyo Imperial University from 1885 to 1889. He subsequently lectured on philosophy, ethics, aesthetics, and logic at Tōkyō Senmon Gakkō (present-day Waseda University). In 1896 he joined forces with Anesaki Masaharu and Yokoi Tokio to establish the Teiyū Ethics Society. He also assisted in the editing of the Christian socialist journalCosmos. In 1898, he traveled to Germany to study with Otto Liebmann and Rudolf Eucken at the University of Jena, but his trip was cut...

    • The Kyoto School
      • Overview
        (pp. 639-645)

        Because of the important place it is recognized to have in the intellectual history of Japan, the Kyoto School has been extracted from the rest of twentieth-century philosophy for special treatment. Nishida Kitarō* and the circle of thinkers he inspired at the University of Kyoto are often considered Japan’s first original philosophers in the modern sense of the term, and have become known as a bridge between East and West. While their originality and their faithfulness to disparate traditions remain matters of dispute, their impact on philosophical discussions within Japan and outside the country is unquestioned. Kyoto School thought most...

      • Nishida Kitarō 西田幾多郎 (1870–1945)
        (pp. 646-669)
        Nishida Kitarō

        Nishida Kitarō, generally considered Japan’s greatest academic philosopher, made it his lifelong task to wed the spiritual awareness cultivated through a decade of Zen practice with modern philosophy. From Zen he had come to appreciate the living unity of experience that precedes dichotomies of mind and body, subject and object; in western philosophy he recognized the importance of logical thinking, the critical examination of preconceptions, and a comprehensive vision of the world. Beginning with the experiment of his maiden work,An Inquiry into the Good, to see all of reality as “pure experience,” each step of Nishida’s way posed new...

      • Tanabe Hajime 田辺 元 (1885–1962)
        (pp. 670-691)
        Tanabe Hajime

        Tanabe Hajime was first drawn to philosophy through his study of mathematics and the natural sciences. His early work on the philosophy of science brought him into contact with the neo-Kantians, which inspired him to rethink Kant’s transcendental logic in the light of Husserl’s phenomenology, Bergson’s vitalism, and the original philosophy of Nishida Kitaro*. After Nishida invited him to join the faculty at Kyoto University, he was able to fulfill his dream of studying in Europe. Although quickly disillusioned with Husserl, he was befriended by the young Heidegger.

        After returning to Kyoto in 1924, his interest was piqued in Hegel,...

      • Mutai Risaku 務台理作 (1890–1974)
        (pp. 692-701)
        Mutai Risaku

        Mutai Risaku, a peripheral figure of the Kyoto School, was first attracted to psychology, but during his time under Nishida Kitarō* at Kyoto University he was persuaded to secure a solid basis in philosophy from Kant to the present day. In 1923 he took a post at Ōtani University, leaving three years later for studies in France and Germany, where he worked for a time directly under Husserl. He later taught at Taipei Imperial University before assuming a post at the Tokyo University of Education in 1932. During these years, under the direction of Tanabe Hajime*, he continued his studies...

      • Miki Kiyoshi 三木 清 (1897–1945)
        (pp. 702-707)
        Miki Kiyoshi

        Miki Kiyoshi is a tragic figure among the Kyoto School philosophers. He studied under Nishida Kitarō* and Tanabe Hajime* in Kyoto and then under Martin Heidegger in Freiburg. He was gifted with both keen philosophical insight and superior writing skills. In 1930 he lost his job as a lecturer at Hōsei University and was imprisoned on the trumped-up charge that he actively supported the Communist party. Shortly after his release in the same year, his wife passed away. Unable to resume his teaching duties, he began to work as a journalist. In 1942, he was sent against his will to...

      • Kōsaka Masaaki 高坂正顕 (1900–1969)
        (pp. 708-712)
        Kōsaka Masaaki

        Less a metaphysician than a historian of philosophy, Kōsaka Masaaki was concerned with the continuity between “nation and culture” in the historical world. This shows up in his 1937 workThe Historical World, where he focused on Hegel’s civil society and the role of the nation in the philosophy of history, as well as on Marx’s idea of class, all the while maintaining the neo-Kantian personalist standpoint he had elaborated previously. A disciple of Nishida Kitarō* (on whose thought he later published a splendid introductory volume), Kōsaka pursued this perspective not only in his reading of Nishida’s philosophy of the...

      • Nishitani Keiji 西谷啓治 (1900–1990)
        (pp. 713-732)
        Nishitani Keiji

        Nishitani Keiji was born 27 February 1900 in a small town on the Japan Sea. He was fourteen when his father died of tuberculosis, a disease from which Nishitani himself suffered as a young man. As a high-school student, Nishitani was attracted to Zen through the writings of D.T. Suzuki* and at the same time read widely in western sources out side the curriculum. Drawn to philosophy by a volume of Nishida Kitarō’s* essays, he enrolled in the department of philosophy at Kyoto University where he studied under Nishida and Tanabe Hajime*, graduating with a thesis on Schelling. In the...

      • Shimomura Toratarō 下村寅太郎 (1902–1995)
        (pp. 733-737)
        Shimomura Toratarō

        After studying philosophy in Kyoto University under Nishida Kitarō* and Tanabe Hajime*, with a concentration on Leibniz and the philosophy of science and mathematics, Shimomura Toratarō began his teaching career in Tokyo. He went on to produce a number of weighty volumes on the interface of natural science, mathematics, and philosophy, as well as on symbolic thinking and the relation between the human spirit and the mechanization of society. In 1956 he traveled for the first time to Europe in what was to prove a turning point in his life and thought. From then on, his attention was focused on...

      • Kōyama Iwao 高山岩男 (1905–1993)
        (pp. 738-743)
        Kōyama Iwao

        Kōyama Iwao’s broad interests in philosophy—ranging from history, society, and politics to logic, education, and ethics—reflect his education at Kyoto University, where he studied under such illustrious figures as Nishida Kitarō,* Tanabe Hajime*, Watsuji Tetsurō*, and Hatano Seiichi*. Unlike many in the Kyoto School tradition, Iwao wrote in a clear and elegant prose, making his writings accessible to those not familiar with the unusual jargon of his colleagues. Like many of his generation, he was concerned with the question of “overcoming modernity,” a concern than remained with him for over sixty years, from his first book on Nishida...

      • Takeuchi Yoshinori 武内義範 (1913–2002)
        (pp. 744-749)
        Takeuchi Yoshinori

        Takeuchi Yoshinori was born in 1913 in the northern city of Sendai, Japan. He studied philosophy under Tanabe Hajime*, concentrating on Hegel’sPhenomenology of Mindand then broadening out to other major German philosophers of the nineteenth century. As a graduate student he also worked under Nishitani Keiji*, Tanabe’s successor to the chair at Kyoto University. Takeuchi’s philosophical interests were balanced by an interest in early Buddhism, particularly as he found it in the writings of Ui Hakuju and Watsuji Tetsurō*. At Tanabe’s recommendation, though initially resisting the idea, he focused his graduate studies on Shinran*, a figure neglected in...

      • Abe Masao 阿部正雄 (1915–2006)
        (pp. 750-757)
        Abe Masao

        Following the trail that had been blazed by D. T. Suzuki,* Abe Masao spent over thirty years in dialogue with western philosophers and theologians, representing Zen thought and the tradition of Kyoto School thought as he had inherited it from Tanabe Hajime* and, above all, Nishitani Keiji*. Although born into a ⌜Pure Land⌝ Buddhist family and, as a young student at Osaka City University, moved by the ideas of Shinran* he found in theTannishō(A Record of Lament over Divergence), Abe lost his faith for a period. In 1941 he left his job and returned to study western philosophy...

      • Tsujimura Kōichi 辻村公一 (1922–2010)
        (pp. 758-764)
        Tsujimura Kōichi

        Tsujimura Kōichi studied philosophy at Kyoto University under Tanabe Hajime,* and went on to assume his teacher’s chair from 1948 until retiring in 1982. More formative for his thinking, however, was the Zen he practiced with Hisamatsu Shin’ichi,* coupled with the thought of Martin Heidegger, whom he knew personally from travels in Germany. His translations and essays often elucidated Zen texts and Heidegger’s thought in the light of one another to introduce novel interpretations of both. For example, Tsujimura translated Heidegger’s termGelassenheit, and the book based on it, using a Buddhist term for liberation. In addition to translations of...

      • Ueda Shizuteru 上田閑照 (1926– )
        (pp. 765-784)
        Ueda Shizuteru

        Ueda Shizuteru is the central figure of the third generation of the Kyoto School. A student and successor of Nishitani Keiji* and a foremost interpreter of Nishida Kitarō*, Ueda inherited their commitment to bringing western philosophy and religion into dialogue with the practice and thought of ⌜Mahayana⌝ Buddhism. The son of a ⌜Shingon⌝ Buddhist scholar, Ueda himself, like Nishida and Nishitani, has engaged in an intense and prolonged practice of Zen. His involvement in a group for lay practitioners at Shokoku-ji monastery in Kyoto continues to this day with the monthly talks he gives on the classical texts of the...

      • Hase Shōtō 長谷正當 (1937–)
        (pp. 785-791)
        Hase Shōtō

        After completing his doctoral studies at Kyoto University in 1965, Hase Shōtō took up a teaching post at Kyoto Industrial University and for ten years threw himself into the study of French spiritualism from the eighteenth century on, centering on figures like Maine de Biran, Félix Ravaisson-Mollien, Jules Lachelier, Henri Bergson, Maurice Blondel, and Gabriel Marcel. In 1975 he moved to Kyoto University, where he taught until his retirement in 2000. Since then, his interest in French philosophy has been concentrated on Paul Ricoeur, Simone Weil, and Emmanuel Levinas, whom he sought to relate to his ongoing research into the...

      • Ōhashi Ryōsuke 大橋良介 (1944– )
        (pp. 792-798)
        Ōhashi Ryōsuke

        After completing undergraduate studies at Kyoto University in 1969, Ōhashi Ryōsuke traveled to Germany where he entered the graduate program in philosophy at the University of Munich, receiving a doctorate in 1974 with a thesis on Schelling and Heidegger. He returned to take up a university post in Japan and to begin work on a major study of Hegelian logic, which he submitted forHabilitationat the University of Würzburg in 1983. His aim of locating a point of encounter for philosophies East and West was influenced by his study abroad and by the philosophy of Nishida Kitarō*—in particular,...

    • Twentieth-Century Philosophy
      • Overview
        (pp. 801-807)

        In Japan the category “twentieth-century philosophy” is reserved by and large for philosophical thought as it is found in Europe and the United States, and for Japanese engagement with it. When writing of their own intellectual history, Japanese scholars tend to follow the same divisions as Japanese history in general. This means that philosophers of the past hundred years are located either in the imperial era in which they flourished (Meiji, Taishō, Shōwa, Heisei); in their relationship to Japanese “modernity” (the establishment of Japan as a modern nation dating from theCharter Oath, a proto-Constitution promulgated in 1868); or, in...

      • Hatano Seiichi 波多野精一 (1877–1950)
        (pp. 808-815)
        Hatano Seiichi

        After completing studies at Tokyo Imperial University in 1899, Hatano began teaching the history of philosophy at Tokyo Senmon Gakkō (present-day Waseda University). Five years later, in 1904, after publishing his doctoral thesis on Spinoza in German, he was sent to study for two years in Berlin and Heidelberg. His 1901 book,Outlines of the History of Western Philosophy, was widely read throughout the Taishō era as a reference work. His more specialized writings on western philosophy ranged from studies of ancient Greek thought to Plotinus and Kant. Hatano, who had been baptized a Christian in 1902, began to focus...

      • Abe Jirō 阿部次郎 (1883–1959)
        (pp. 816-821)
        Abe Jirō

        Born in Yamagata Prefecture in 1883, Abe Jirō entered Tokyo Imperial University in 1904 and studied philosophy under the guidance of Raphael von Koeber. In 1912 he was granted a research fellowship by the Ministry of Education to study in Europe. On returning to Japan the following year, he was appointed as the first professor of aesthetics at Tōhoku Imperial University. Influenced by Theodor Lipps’s theory of empathy, Abe is one of the pioneers of research on aesthetics in Japan. His numerous works includeBasic Problems of Ethics(1916),Aesthetics(1917),Social Status of Art(1925),Art and Society in...

      • Takahashi Satomi 高橋里美 (1886–1964)
        (pp. 822-828)
        Takahashi Satomi

        Takahashi Satomi studied philosophy at the Imperial Tokyo University. In 1921 he assumed a post in the science faculty at Tōhoku University in Sendai. He subsequently spent two years studying abroad in Germany with Rickert and Husserl. He made a name for himself as one of the foremost critics of Nishida Kitarō* (already in 1912, as a graduate student, he had published a critique of Nishida’sAn Inquiry into the Good), as well as one of the early exponents of phenomenology in Japan. His pivotal ideas of a “standpoint of totality” and method of “inclusive dialectics” were driven by a...

      • Kuki Shūzō 九鬼周造 (1888–1941)
        (pp. 829-849)
        Kuki Shūzō

        Kuki Shūzō, a truly cosmopolitan philosopher, introduced existential philosophy and hermeneutics to Japanese academia and authored innovative accounts of temporality, contingency, aesthetic sensibilities, and literary theory. Born of an aristocratic father (Japan’s first ambassador to the United States) and an artistic mother, and mentored in childhood by the foremost champion of Japanese art, Okakura Tenshin, Kuki inherited the title of “baron” and a deep sensitivity to poetics and painting. From 1921 to 1929 he studied in Germany under Rickert, Husserl, and Heidegger, and in Paris with Jean-Paul Sartre as his language tutor and informant onles philosophes français. Later he...

      • Watsuji Tetsurō 和辻哲郎 (1889–1960)
        (pp. 850-869)
        Watsuji Tetsurō

        Watsuji Tetsurō was not only Japan’s premier ethical theorist and historian of ethics in the first half of the twentieth century, but also an astute philosopher of culture and interpreter of religious traditions and practices. Born the son of a country physician in a village near the Inland Sea, at age sixteen he ventured out to the metropolis of Tokyo to study at its First Higher School and then the Imperial University, graduating in 1912 with a thesis on Schopenhauer’s pessimism. Forty years later he published a memoir of his philosophy professor there, Raphael von Koeber. In his student years...

      • Miyake Gōichi 三宅剛一 (1895–1982)
        (pp. 870-876)
        Miyake Gōichi

        It was reading Nishida Kitarō’s*An Inquiry into the Goodas a middle-school student that first turned Miyake Gōichi’s attention to philosophy. Already from the time of his undergraduate studies at Kyoto University Miyake was recognized as one of the brightest students in Nishida’s circle. For ten years after graduation he submerged himself in neo-Kantianism and study of the phenomenological method, culminating in a year at Freiburg where he participated in seminars in Husserl’s home and attended Heidegger’s lectures on Hegel’sPhenomenology. While in Germany he collaborated with another Japanese student in Freiburg to prepare a German précis of Nishida’s...

      • Tosaka Jun 戸坂 潤 (1900–1945)
        (pp. 877-881)
        Tosaka Jun

        Tosaka Jun entered Kyoto University in 1921, the same year as Nishitani Keiji*, to study philosophy. As students, the two of them took part in discussions at Nishida’s home and read Aristotle under the direction of Miki Kiyoshi*, whose criticisms of Nishida’s political ideas Tosaka was to carry on. His studies were interrupted by a year of military service. In 1926 he began a teaching career, but rejoined the army within a year and was appointed an officer. In 1931 he succeeded Miki in a teaching post at Hōsei University, but was removed in 1934, under government pressure due to...

      • Ichikawa Hakugen 市川白弦 (1902–1986)
        (pp. 882-889)
        Ichikawa Hakugen

        Ichikawa Hakugen was a Rinzai Zen priest, professor at Hanazono University, and political activist who made his mark as the foremost scholar of “Imperial-Way Zen.” In his writings he chronicled Zen support for Japanese imperialism in the first half of the twentieth century and pushed the issue of Zen’s war responsibility. He analyzed the Zen approach to religious liberation and society, political ramifications of Buddhist metaphysical and logical constructs, limitations of Buddhist ethics, traditional relations between Buddhism and the Japanese government, and the philosophical system of Nishida Kitarō*.

        In assessing the ethical issues surrounding wartime Zen and such Zen-influenced thinkers...

      • Imanishi Kinji 今西錦司 (1902–1992)
        (pp. 890-894)
        Imanishi Kinji

        In 1941, within a year of completing his doctorate at Kyoto Imperial University with a specialization in entomology and ecology, Imanishi Kinji published perhaps his best-known and lasting contribution in the form of a philosophy of nature,The World of Living Things.In it he argued that since all things arise together, the “life” of the organic and inorganic should be considered as part of a single interactive world. Living subjects and the environment were part of each other, flowed into each other, and created a particular world over which each organism had some control, which he termed its “autonomy.”...

      • Funayama Shin’ichi 舩山信一 (1907–1994)
        (pp. 895-901)
        Funayama Shin’ichi

        Funayama Shin’ichi, perhaps the most important figure in Japanese philosophical materialism during and after the war, is also widely respected for his studies of Hegel and Feuerbach as well as for his historical studies of modern Japanese philosophy. After graduating in 1930 from Kyoto University, where he focused on the philosophies of Hegel and Nishida Kitarō*, and came under the influence of Miki Kiyoshi*, he was persuaded by Tosaka Jun* to join the Materialism Study Circle. Under the influence of the Communist party, the circle became increasingly politicized, leading to the investigation and arrest of some of its prominent members,...

      • Takizawa Katsumi 滝沢克己 (1909–1984)
        (pp. 902-906)
        Takizawa Katsumi

        Three years after completing undergraduate studies in philosophy at Kyushu University, Takizawa traveled to Europe where he studied briefly under Karl Barth until the latter’s expulsion in 1934 under the Nazis. He returned to a post at his home university, where he remained for the rest of his academic career. At age forty-nine he was baptized a Christian. Three months after his death in 1984 he was granted an honorary doctorate posthumously by the University of Heidelberg.

        As a young man of twenty-seven he published a critique of Nishida Kitarō’s* philosophy that drew the attention of Nishida and his circle....

      • Ienaga Saburō 家永三郎 (1913–2002)
        (pp. 907-912)
        Ienaga Saburō

        Historian and philosophical critic, Ienaga Saburō is one of those modern thinkers who defies classification. He is especially well known for his open criticisms of Japanese narratives of World War II. In 1953 he wrote a Japanese history textbook, which was censored by the Ministry of Education due to “factual errors,” and Ienaga filed a lawsuit against the Ministry in a well-publicized case. The selection below focuses on another side of Ienaga and offers in translation an excerpt from the second chapter of his ambitious first book,The Development of the Logic of Negation in Japanese Thought, which was published...

      • Izutsu Toshihiko 井筒俊彦 (1914–1993)
        (pp. 913-921)
        Izutsu Toshihiko

        Although brought up in the Zen tradition, Izutsu Toshihiko studied a wide range of philosophical and mystical traditions. Certainly the most linguistically gifted of all modern Japanese philosophers, Izutsu is reputed to have mastered over two dozen languages, including Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Pali, Chinese, Russian, English, and Greek. After graduating from Keiō University in Tokyo, he taught there for fourteen years. He subsequently taught at McGill University in Canada and the Imperial Iranian Academy of Philosophy in Tehran on subjects ranging from the Book of Changes to theFuṣūṣ al-ḥikamof Ibn al-‘Arabī. The first world-renowned scholar of Islam to...

      • Maruyama Masao 丸山真男 (1914–1996)
        (pp. 922-929)
        Maruyama Masao

        Few intellectuals in Japan have left such a conspicuous mark on postwar intellectual discourse as Maruyama Masao. He is known for his active political stance in the postwar period as well as for his academic accomplishments. During the first part of his academic career, he focused on an analysis of early-modern and modern Japanese thought, inspired by the methods of Marx, Mannheim, and Weber. Later on, he devoted more energy to an elucidation of the particularities of Japanese intellectual history as a whole. Throughout his lifetime, he remained an opinion-leader of the liberal left.

        Initially majoring in western political thought...

      • Minamoto Ryōen 源 了圓 (1920– )
        (pp. 930-935)
        Minamoto Ryōen

        After graduating from Kyoto University’s department of philosophy in 1948, Minamoto Ryōen joined the editorial staff of thePhilosophical Quarterlyand collaborated with a team of Kyoto professors in editing theDictionary of Philosophy.In 1960 he prepared a transcription of the lectures that would become Nishitani Keiji’s*Religion and Nothingness.He then set out on a long teaching career that lasted thirty-seven years and included a time as visiting professor at Columbia University in New York. After retiring in 1991 he served as visiting professor at Oxford University and in 2001 he was named a member of the prestigious...

      • Ōmori Shōzō 大森荘蔵 (1921–1997 )
        (pp. 936-942)
        Ōmori Shōzō

        Ōmori Shōzō graduated from Tokyo Imperial University in 1944 with a degree in physics, but in order to grasp theoretical issues related to science, he gradually became interested in philosophy. After the war, in 1949, he received a degree in philosophy from Tokyo University. Initially he studied phenomenology, but he was unsatisfied with this and went to the United States to study Wittgenstein and Anglo-American analytical philosophy of language. In 1966, he became a professor of philosophy at Tokyo University. Throughout his philosophical career, Ōmori focused on questioning conventional views of science and metaphysics, which he considered so focused on...

      • Yuasa Yasuo 湯浅泰雄 (1925–2005)
        (pp. 943-951)
        Yuasa Yasuo

        After graduating from Tokyo University’s Department of Ethics in 1949, Yuasa Yasuo went on to complete higher degrees in ethics and economics. During his final years at university he studied under Watsuji Tetsurō*, whose thought and person left an indelible mark on his thinking. Yuasa taught for several years at Yamanashi University before moving to Ōsaka University in 1974 where he lectured in the new field of Japan Studies. In 1981 he was invited to Tsukuba University where he pursued his wide interests on the far reaches of philosophical thought. Yuasa was a multidisciplinary scholar of the kind rarely met...

      • Nakamura Yūjirō 中村雄二郎 (1925–)
        (pp. 952-957)
        Nakamura Yūjirō

        After completing studies at Tokyo University, Nakamura Yūjirō worked for a period as a director of cultural programs for radio broadcasting before returning to studies and teaching at Meiji University, where he remained until retirement. Combining a solid journalistic sense for communicating with a critical philosophical mind, he flourished at the cutting edge of modern thought, culture, and the arts.

        A critique of modern rationalism carried by theories of the body and the passions runs through such works asThe Age of Pathos(1965),Common Sense(1979),Notes on a Philosophy of Evil(1994), and reflections on the Aum Shinrikyō...

      • Kimura Bin 木村 敏 (1931– )
        (pp. 958-972)
        Kimura Bin

        Perhaps no thinker in twentieth-century Japan better represents the interface between psychology and philosophy than Kimura Bin. While maintaining his psychiatric practice and publishing widely on abnormal psychology, particularly on schizophrenia and depersonalization, his wider philosophical interests are evident from his early works. In foray after foray into the mysteries of the self—its construction and its breakdown, its awareness and its scotosis—Kimura is not an armchair philosopher but a doctor engaged in the experiences of his patients. If there is one constant theme running through his reading of twentieth-century philosophers, it is the conviction that a true phenomenology...

      • Hiromatsu Wataru 廣松 渉 (1933–1994)
        (pp. 973-978)
        Hiromatsu Wataru

        Hiromatsu Wataru obtained his doctorate in philosophy from Tokyo University and went on to teach philosophy there for many years. He is well known for his novel interpretation of Marx’s concept of reification. In particular, he believed that Georg Lukács’s treatment of this concept presupposed a duality between subject and object, which Hiromatsu believed was misleading. Hence in his own philosophical work, he constantly attempts to show how objects or phenomena are always already mediated. In the selection included below we see how he constantly shows how so-called objective phenomena are mediated by the subjects and thus appear to lead...

      • Sakabe Megumi 坂部 恵 (1936–2009)
        (pp. 979-992)
        Sakabe Megumi

        Sakabe Megumi did his undergraduate and doctoral studies in philosophy at Tokyo University. After lecturing at Kokugakuin University and Tokyo City University, he returned to his alma mater where he held a post until his retirement in 1997. Sakabe has distinguished himself among his contemporaries by the extraordinary breadth of his erudition, which encompasses a profound understanding of the western philosophical tradition (including several important figures neglected by most contemporary philosophers) as well as a broad appreciation of traditional Japanese arts, aesthetics, and philosophy. These concerns are reflected in monographs on individual thinkers (Kant, Watsuji Tetsurō*, Kuki Shūzō*) and on...

      • Fujita Masakatsu 藤田正勝 (1949– )
        (pp. 993-1002)
        Fujita Masakatsu

        After finishing his undergraduate and doctoral course work at Kyoto University in 1978, Fujita Masakatsu spent a number of years in Bochum, Germany, where he earned a doctorate in 1982 with a dissertation on the early Hegel’s philosophy of religion. After returning to Japan, Fujita continued his work on German idealism, while also increasingly turning his attention to modern Japanese philosophy, Nishida Kitarō* in particular. In addition to two monographs on Nishida’s thought, Fujita has edited and contributed to numerous volumes, among themThe Philosophy of the Kyoto SchoolandJapanese Philosophy in the World. He is also a founding...

  7. Additional Themes
    • Culture and Identity
      • Overview
        (pp. 1005-1037)

        Ever since Socrates accepted the Delphic oracle’s challenge to “know thyself,” the issue of personal identity has been part of the western philosophical repertoire. That issue typically broke down into two fundamental questions. The first was one of individual identity: who am I? The second was one of universal identity: what characterizes our humanity? Only in recent history has the West added questions of cultural, linguistic, and ethnic identity: for example, what does it mean to be French Canadian? Three circumstances have supported this rather new enterprise. The first is the rise of the social sciences, especially cultural anthropology, sociology,...

      • Fukansai Habian 不干齋巴鼻庵 (1565?–1621?)
        (pp. 1038-1046)
        Fukansai Habian

        Fukansai Habian, a native of the Kyoto area, received his early education in a Zen temple, where he was trained in East Asian systems of thought. In his late teens he converted to Christianity and in 1586 entered the Society of Jesus as a candidate for the priesthood. By 1592, he was teaching Japanese literature to his fellow postulants at the Jesuit college of Amakusa. That same year he published an adaptation of theTale of Heikeinto colloquial Japanese. The book is printed in Roman letters and the author’s preface is signed “Fucan Fabian,” the name by which he...

      • Mori Arimasa 森有正 (1911–1976)
        (pp. 1047-1052)
        Mori Arimasa

        Mori Arimasa was baptized a Christian at the age of two and tutored in French from the age of six, and by his early teens had been exposed to English, Latin, and classical Greek as well. He graduated from the department of philosophy in Tokyo Imperial University in 1938 with a thesis on Pascal. In the following years, he published a number of translations and essays, mainly on Pascal and Descartes, and held teaching posts at Tokyo Women’s Christian University and later at Tokyo University. After the wartime ban on study abroad was lifted, he went to Paris where he...

      • Yagi Seiichi 八木誠一 (1932– )
        (pp. 1053-1058)
        Yagi Seiichi

        Yagi Seiichi was born in Yokohama to a prominent Christian family in the “No-church” tradition of Uchimura Kanzō. Yagi studied New Testament at Tokyo University and the University of Göttingen, completing his doctoral studies at Kyushu University in 1967. Prior to his retirement as professor emeritus of the Tokyo Institute of Technology, he held posts at a number of universities around Japan, in addition to being invited as a guest lecturer in Hamburg and Bern, where he received an honorary doctorate in 2000. Trained as a biblical scholar and influenced by the demythologizing theories of Rudolf Bultmann and the thinking...

      • Chūōkōron Discussions (1941–1942)
        (pp. 1059-1077)

        Between November 1941 and November 1942, four second-generation professors of the Kyoto School famously discussed the theme “Japan and the Standpoint of World History.” Their discussions appeared in the journalChūōkōronshortly after they occurred and in 1943 came out as a popular academic book,A World-Historical Standpoint and Japan. Kōsaka Masaaki* (1900–1969) was Director of the Institute for the Humanities at the Kyoto University, where Kōyama Iwao* (1905–1993) and Nishitani Keiji* (1900–1990) were teaching in the philosophy department, and Suzuki Shigetaka (1907–1988) was lecturing on western history. These four met originally at the behest of...

      • Overcoming Modernity: A Symposium (1942)
        (pp. 1078-1084)

        A trio of literary critics from the magazineLiterary World—Kawakami Tetsutarō, Kobayashi Hideo, and Kamei Katsuichirō—organized a symposium in 1942 to discuss “Overcoming Modernity.” In July, they gathered a group of thirteen leading intellectuals from various fields including literary criticism, history, physics, music, and philosophy. They had no clear agenda, either political or intellectual. Mainly, they wanted to explore what “modernity” means: its roots in Europe, its impact on Japan, and its meaning for the future. They did not come to the meeting nor leave it with any consensus on how, or even whether Japan should “overcome” or...

      • Takeuchi Yoshimi 竹内 好 (1910–1977)
        (pp. 1085-1092)
        Takeuchi Yoshimi

        Takeuchi Yoshimi is remembered in Japan today as one of the leading intellectuals of the postwar period in his dual capacity as China scholar and literary-social critic. He enrolled in the Chinese literature department at Tokyo Imperial University in 1931 and the following year visited mainland China, where he developed what would be a lasting and profound passion for Chinese literature and culture. With a small group of friends, including the novelist Takeda Taijun, Takeuchi helped form the Chinese Literature Research Society and published a small journal. After completing university in 1937, Takeuchi returned to China for another two years....

      • Karatani Kōjin 柄谷行人 (1941– )
        (pp. 1093-1100)
        Karatani Kōjin

        The writings of Karatani Kōjin, like those of many other literary critics today, cross disciplinary boundaries and challenge the presuppositions of academic philosophy. Educated in economics and English literature at Tokyo University, Karatani has exerted an influence far beyond his native land and original fields of training. At Yale University in the mid-1970s he worked alongside Paul de Man and Fredric Jameson on problems associated with formalism and structuralism. HisTranscritique: On Kant and Marx(2003) was a seminal work for thinkers like Slavoj Zizek who practice philosophy as cultural criticism. Teaching at Columbia University since 1990 and occasionally at...

    • Samurai Thought
      • Overview
        (pp. 1103-1112)

        The question of whether there is such a thing as samurai philosophy, and if so, what it might consist of, is one of the more complex issues in Japanese intellectual history. This is primarily due to developments that occurred during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and which are still inextricably linked to current discussions of the question. From the 1890s onward, a romanticized image of the samurai emerged, motivated by cultural and political currents at the time. The major lasting effect of this idealization was the idea that “warrior thought” represented an independent and relatively homogeneous intellectual tradition...

    • Women Philosophers
      • Overview
        (pp. 1115-1137)

        Throughout most of Japan’s history, only a small number of women who had distinguished themselves in literature were able to express their ideas publicly. Not even the increased educational opportunities and the birth of specialized journals dedicated to women’s issues that came with the Meiji Restoration of 1868 were any match for the deeply male view of women as domestic “property” unsuited to intellectual inquiry. We see this reflected in Fukuzawa Yukichi’s* plea to his compatriots in 1899:

        In the Imperial Restoration of thirty years ago people did away with the oppression of the feudal Tokugawa regime.... Had people hesitated...

      • Yosano Akiko 与謝野晶子 (1878–1942)
        (pp. 1138-1147)
        Yosano Akiko

        Yosano Akiko (née Hō Shō), poet, social critic, and educator, lived a rich and many-sided life. The wife of the poet Yosano Tekkan and mother of eleven children, she published fifteen volumes of collected commentaries on social issues, twenty-one volumes of collected poems, a novel, and a collection of children’s stories, in addition to translating important Japanese classics into the modern idiom.

        Although widely known for her passionate poetry, Yosano evolved into a public intellectual and opinion leader. She encouraged women to look for their identity beyond motherhood, to achieve financial independence and train their minds, and ultimately to realize...

      • Hiratsuka Raichō 平塚らいてう (1886–1971)
        (pp. 1148-1158)
        Hiratsuka Raichō

        Hiratsuka Raichō (née Hiratsuka Haru) is Japan’s most celebrated feminist activist of modern times. She began her public career in 1911 with the organization of Seitō (The Bluestocking Society), a literary movement that announced the birth of the women’s liberation movement in Japan. A fierce individualism coupled with the self-effacing practice of Zen meditation combined to sustain her engagement in women’s questions throughout her adult life. During the first decade of the twentieth century, she stood up for women’s right to genuine romantic love. She herself fell in love with Okumura Hiroshi, a painter five years her junior, and, in...

      • Yamakawa Kikue 山川菊栄 (1890–1980)
        (pp. 1159-1164)
        Yamakawa Kikue

        Yamakawa Kikue (née Morita Kikue), a committed socialist, was one of the most influential opinion leaders and social activists of the twentieth century. Stimulated by firsthand experience of the conditions of the “mill girls,” she strived both in her writings and through participation in social movements to improve the position of women and to heighten awareness of social injustices. Yamakawa is also known for her publication of an oral history of women from lower-class samurai in late Tokugawa Japan. An open debate with Itō Noe, a member of the Bluestocking Society, concerning the abolition of legalized prostitution launched her into...

    • Aesthetics
      • Overview
        (pp. 1167-1202)

        As Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten (1714–1762) indicates at the beginning of his treatiseAesthetica, “Aesthetics (theory of the liberal arts, doctrine of inferior knowledge, art of beautiful thinking, art of analogous reasoning) is the science of sensible knowledge” (1750, 17). This is the opening statement of a work that is considered to be the genealogical moment in the creation of aesthetics as an autonomous philosophical field—a creation prompted by the need to rescue the senses from the primacy of reason. The association of feelings (aisthesis) with the fallacious world of experience has a long history that goes back to...

      • Kamo no Chōmei 鴨 長明 (1155–1216)
        (pp. 1203-1208)
        Kamo no Chōmei

        Kamo no Chōmei was born the son of Nagatsugu, superintendent of the Lower Kamo Shrine, one of the most influential Shinto shrines in Japan. Unable to succeed his father to the prestigious post, Chōmei enjoyed the patronage of Takamatsu In, the daughter of Emperor Toba and consort of Emperor Nijō. He had a respectable poetic career as a member of the Rokujō School of poetry and was invited to participate in numerous poetry contests. In 1201 he became a member of Emperor Go-Toba’s Bureau of Poetry, but his association with the court was shortlived. Although deeply devoted to traditional culture,...

      • Zeami Motokiyo 世阿弥元清 (1363–1443)
        (pp. 1209-1215)
        Zeami Motokiyo

        Born into a family of ‘⌜sarugaku⌝’ performers in the Nara basin, Zeami was trained in performance and playwriting by his father Kan’ami. Kan’ami’s successes in Kyoto gave Zeami the opportunity to learn about classical Japanesewakaand to acquire a competence in the most popular poetic genre of his day, linked verse orrenga. As a young man Zeami also learned about Chinese and Japanese legends and Buddhist doctrine, chiefly at Daigo-ji. When Kan’ami died in 1384, the leadership of his troupe was passed to his son, who seems to have built on his father’s successes in the capital, particularly...

      • Ōnishi Yoshinori 大西克禮 (1888–1959)
        (pp. 1216-1219)
        Ōnishi Yoshinori

        Ōnishi Yoshinori taught aesthetics at the University of Tokyo from 1922 until his retirement in 1949. As his voluminous writings reflect, he specialized in German aesthetics from the Romantics through Kant to twentieth-century phenomenology. Ōnishi applied his knowledge of western philosophy to the elucidation of key concepts in Japanese aesthetics and poetics that had been debated and discussed for centuries by Japanese poets and theorists. His life work is reflected in a two-volume work onAesthetics,the first volume of which deals with the West while the second, published posthumously the following year, takes up the analysis of key Japanese...

      • Izutsu Toyoko 井筒豊子 (1925– )
        (pp. 1220-1228)
        Izutsu Toyoko

        After graduating from the Tokyo University’s Department of Arts and Letters in 1952, Izutsu Toyoko (alias Toyo) married the celebrated philosopher and orientalist Izutsu Toshihiko,* with whom she collaborated closely until his death in 1993. A gifted writer in her own right, she published translations, essays, and short stories, as well as a lengthy study on late-Heian and medieval Japanesewakaas a “cognitive field,” for a volume edited by Yuasa Yasuo.* She is best known outside of Japan for a work she composed jointly with her husband in English, and which was later translated into German, on the fundamentals...

    • Bioethics
      • Overview
        (pp. 1231-1246)

        In spring of 1771, a small group of Japanese doctors gathered to perform an autopsy on the cadaver of an executed fifty-year old woman criminal known as the Green Tea Hag, with a copy of a recently acquired Dutch work on anatomy lying open on the table before them. One of their number, Sugita Genpaku (1733–1817), who was later to translate that book, recalls:

        Comparing the things we saw with the pictures in the Dutch book, we were amazed at their perfect agreement.… The Shōgun’s official doctors… had beheld dissections seven or eight times before, but always what they...

  8. Reference Material
  9. Credits
    (pp. 1339-1340)
  10. About the editors . . .
    (pp. 1341-1342)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 1343-1343)