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21. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 4
Joel Wainwright The Spatial Structure of World History
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This article examines Karatani’s 2014 book, The Structure of World History, aiming to clarify its sweeping philosophical argument in one respect. Among the many ways that we can appreciate Structure is to read it as the elaboration of a profoundly spatial interpretation of our world’s history. In making this claim I am not suggesting that Karatani simply emphasizes space over time, which is not so. Rather, I contend that many of the book’s achievements are best grasped by reading the book as a work of geography. To be sure, geography, as typically understood by academic geographers, is largely absent from Structure: there are no maps and the word “geography” is only used once. Moreover, Karatani never claims to have found the spatial structure of history. Rather, my claim is that the analysis of world history in Structure is acutely spatially sensitive—particularly with regard to the repetition of sociospatial forms through modes of exchange (which effectively comprise the “structure” of the book’s title)—and that this sensitivity grounds Karatani’s radical reinterpretation of Marxism. Structure thereby provides a spatially informed theory of the historical processes that have made this world as such, one that refuses the telos of capital-nation-state. The result is a revolutionary, geographical philosophy of world history.
22. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 4
Toshiaki Kobayashi, John W. M. Krummel The Shifting Other in Karatani Kōjin’s Philosophy
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In this article Kobayashi Toshiaki discusses the importance in all periods of Karatani’s oeuvre of the notion of an “exterior” that necessarily falls beyond the bounds of a system, together with the notion of “singularity” as that which cannot be contained within a “universal.” The existential dread vis-à-vis the uncanny other that Karatani in his early works of literary criticism had initially found to be the underlying tone in Sōseki’s works remained with Karatani himself throughout his career and is what had drawn him closer to philosophy. This sense of the “exterior” to—or other than—the normality of consciousness and the meaningfulness of the world is then extended and applied as the “exterior to systems” in his analyses of logical, mathematical, and linguistic systems, in his reading of Marx’s discussion of capitalist economics, and most recently in his analysis of commodity exchange between communities.
23. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 4
Kanishka Goonewardena Theory and Politics in Karatani Kōjin’s The Structure of World History
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First, this article seeks to demonstrate why Karatani Kōjin’s The Structure of World History offers a unique and pioneering contribution to Marxist theory in particular and radical thought more generally. In so doing, it examines Karatani’s key conceptual innovations that enable to him to open up a novel perspective on world history and propose a revolutionary political program—one drawing from Kantian anarchism as much as Marxian communism. Particular attention is paid to the central concept that Karatani deploys in this work—exchange or intercourse, which is derived from Marx’s use of the term Verkehr—in order to examine critically the formidable case he makes for replacing the classical Marxist concept of the “mode of production” with the “mode of exchange.” The article argues that Karatani’s novelty and attraction lies in his production of a new concept of history by means of a new concept of social totality, which invites him to be read alongside other leading thinkers in the orbit of Marxism such as Hegel, Althusser, Braudel, and Lefebvre. In conclusion, the article highlights an illuminating ambiguity in Karatani’s conception of exchange, arguing that it is in the light of this that his political conclusions are most productively studied.
24. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 4
Ralf Müller Conference Report: Japanese Philosophy in a New Key
25. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 4
Rika Dunlap Hope without the Future: Zen Buddhist Hope in Dōgen’s Shōbōgenzō
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In this article, I examine Dōgen’s Shōbōgenzō to reconsider the notion of hope, many discourses of which are characteristically future oriented. Although there is an overwhelming suspicion that hope is incompatible with Buddhism due to its forward-looking nature, I argue that Dōgen’s Buddhist soteriology can establish a present-focused conception of hope that can challenge the dominant discourses of hope. In this comparative analysis, I first examine the conditions for hope and show that most theories regard hope as teleological and future oriented. As Dōgen rejects a linear conception of time, a future-oriented hope collapses in Dōgen’s soteriology. Nevertheless, I argue that Dōgen’s theory of temporality can ascertain a new theory of hope grounded in the interconnectedness of all moments, a present-oriented conception of hope based on the radical teleology established within the moment of the absolute now (nikon). Through an analysis of Dōgen’s soteriology from the perspective of hope, it becomes evident that Dōgen’s theory of temporality creates a space for karmic causality while also emphasizing the non-obstruction between practice and enlightenment. Hence, the notion of hope presents a way in which we can reconcile the apparent contradictions between the twelve-fascicle Shōbōgenzō that emphasizes the former and the seventy-five-fascicle version that advocates the latter. Although hope is not central to Buddhist soteriology, this article shows that it is beneficial to analyze Buddhist teachings from the perspective of hope, for not only does it offer a new insight to the growing philosophical discourses on hope, but it also presents a way in which we can reconcile the contradictions within Dōgen’s various writings.
26. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 6
Augustin Berque In Search of a Transmodern Paradigm: Nature in Imanishi’s “Natural Science” and Fukuoka’s “Natural Farming”
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A transmodern conception of nature is proposed, sublating (aufhebend) the Aristotelian logic of the identity of the subject and the Nishidian paleologic of the identity of the predicate, and discussing, as concrete examples, Imanishi’s theory of evolution and Fukuoka’s natural farming.
27. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 6
Thomas P. Kasulis Inoue Tetsujirō (井上哲次郎, 1855–1944): The Confucian Way and the Wayward Confucian
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There is no arguing the impact of Inoue Tetsujirō on the development of philosophy in Japan from the Meiji Restoration through the end of the Pacific War. He was the first Japanese to receive a doctorate in philosophy from Germany and the first native-born chair of the philosophy department at Tokyo Imperial University, the training center for almost all the major Japanese philosophers who graduated before 1915. Inoue was instrumental in making German idealism the Western philosophy of choice for Japan, but he also appreciated Asian traditions as well, having no qualms about claiming there was true philosophy in India, China, and premodern Japan. He set the foundation for academic philosophy in Japan not so much through his own rather simplistic personal philosophy, but especially through his contributions to the organization of the field. This article focuses mainly on Inoue’s troubled relation with Confucianism. On one hand, in seeking a premodern philosophy to serve as the bedrock for modern Japan, Inoue looked to the Edo-period (1601–1868) Confucian traditions originating in China. He divided them into Shushigaku (朱子学, the Zhu Xi school), Yōmeigaku (陽明学, the Wang Yangming school), and what he named Kogaku (古学), the school focusing on classical texts preceding neo-Confucian developments and interpretations. In many respects, like so many others of his generation, Inoue was by training and personal preference a Confucian. That is not the whole story, however. Inoue understood Confucianism’s primary purpose as cultivating the social values and order that would ensure an efficient society of human flourishing, stability, and harmony. Yet, he also likely suspected that the people of the new Japan, with its modernization and plethora of Western ideas, would not unquestioningly accept the authority of the Confucian classics, nor be willing to undertake the rigors of textual study that are the hallmark of the Confucian scholar. In Edo-period Japan, that study had been the responsibility of the samurai class, but in their democratization program, the Meiji reformers had abolished the old class system. Education of the young would now shift from the Confucian academies to the new public school system. Always cooperative with the government to the point of being obsequious, Inoue took a leading role in the National Morality program and its installment in the nationwide school curriculum. That curriculum combined a Shinto-based reverence for the sacred nature of the emperor in the kokutai (国体) ideology along with practical moralistic values that could be loosely called Confucian. Yet, if schooling for most was limited to the elementary level and if there was no longer a samurai class to oversee the moral behavior of the society, who could nurture and enforce the moral order? Through a set of fortuitous events, Inoue “discovered” bushidō (武士道), the Way of the warrior. If there were no longer a samurai warrior class, perhaps all Japanese could become de facto samurai—at least in their mindset. Most may no longer have the scholarly skills and time to glean their spiritual and moral insights from Confucian texts. Yet, they could find the virtues of loyalty, sincerity, filiality, and compliance with seniority within the distinctively mindful heart and spirit of ancient Japan carried within the Japanese bloodline. What happened to the Confucianism of Inoue Tetsujirō? Some of its values were absorbed into bushidō and National Morality, but the praxis of the Confucian scholar and the ideal of the kunshi (君子) seem to have been lost, much to Japan’s detriment.
28. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 6
Takahiro Nakajima Confucian Modernity in Japan: Religion and the State
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Japanese Modernity questioned the relationship between religion and the state. By referring to Confucianism, Japanese philosophers tried to give answers to this question. Inoue Enryō tried to establish an officially recognized religion that could be represented in Buddhism or Shintoism. Confucianism was excluded then. However, with the enactment of the Imperial Rescript on Education (1890), the situation would change: Confucianism, along with Shintoism, was introduced as the foundation of national morality. Following this, Nishida Kitarō emphasized the role of religion instead of morality to support the foundation of a nation. In this vein, Buddhism and Confucianism played an important role of religion in Nishida’s discourse. Inoue Tetsujirō took an ambiguous attitude to religion and morality. In contrast to Nishida, he regarded morality as having a status higher than religion. Nonetheless, he still thought Confucianism had some religious aspect. Hattori Unokichi radicalized moralization in the claim that Confucianism was a teaching of morality without any aspect of religion. By dereligionizing Confucianism, he tried to reappropriate Confucianism in Japan. From these different approaches to religion and morality as the possible foundations of the nation-state, we can find different philosophical understandings of Confucianism in modern Japan.
29. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 6
Dennis Stromback Nishida’s Resistance to Western Constructions of Religion
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It has been common to frame Nishida Kitarō’s philosophy (西田哲学) as an attempt to overcome Western modernity, but what has been downplayed in this reading is how Nishida redefines the concept of religion in a way that undermines the secular-religion binary formulated in Western modernity. Nishida’s view of religion, as both a structuring logic of historical reality and as an existential form of awareness, with its own epistemological criteria, contrasts with Western accounts of religion, which has assumed religion to be a form opposite to the real. By designating religion as a logical category that structures the real, Nishida’s philosophy of religion seeks to liberate the races, cultures, and ethnicities of the world that have been historically subordinated to the West by giving them an epistemological footing to assert and participate in a world dialogue. In this sense, Nishida’s religious standpoint offers a way to think critically about the “problem of religion” and presents a discussion that speaks to some of the issues raised within postcolonial studies.
30. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 6
Zhihua Yao Time, History, and Buddhism
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In the field of comparative religion, many scholars believe that there are essentially two groups: the historical religions, such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; and the mystical religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Daoism. These, respectively, represent the basic spiritual attitude of the Western and Eastern worlds. Is it really the case that the Eastern world knows nothing about history, or is their idea of history different from that of the West? In this article, I will focus on a Japanese philosopher, Keiji Nishitani, a representative of the Kyoto School, and examine his constructive engagement with the Buddhist and Christian ideas of historicity for the purpose of constructing “a proper view of history suitable for future mankind.” I will unfold this “proper” view of history in three parts: 1) time: linear or circular; 2) history and karma; 3) eschatology and nirvāṇa.
31. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 5
Keiichi Noe The Great Earthquake Disaster and the Japanese View of Nature
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The March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake caused extensive damage to the Tōhoku district of Japan and gave rise to many arguments concerning the meaning of “disaster” as well as the road to recovery. In particular, the severe accident of the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant reminded us of the overconfidence of science and technology. In this article, I will discuss concepts such as “disaster of civilization,” “impermanence,” “betweenness,” and the double structure of the Japanese view of nature.
32. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 5
John A. Tucker Japanese Philosophy after Fukushima: Generative Force, Nationalism, and the Global Environmental Imperative
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The imperative that Japanese philosophy faces today, I assert, is the imperative of environmental philosophy. It is an imperative that has decidedly global origins and indisputable global significance. In discussing this imperative, I revive some age-old, perhaps idealistic, and even romantic themes from East Asian Confucian thinking in the hopes that they might become more central motifs of Japanese philosophizing, charting a way forward in the wake of Fukushima, toward a more sustainable future. In the process, I critique admixtures of environmentalism and nationalism, seeking to elevate instead an ecologically sound philosophical perspective that is more globally inclined than narrowly nationalistic.
33. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 5
Man Wai Carol Poon Reading Japanese Philosophy through Parasyte: The Paradox of Coexistence
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Popular culture not only entertains audiences on the surface, it even stimulates readers to work through certain contemporary issues in a way that older art forms cannot. A number of scholars have described Japanese popular culture as a powerful means to understand Japanese society via the images, movement, story, and language it contains. In this way, it may be like other, older forms of media, such as books and newspapers, which are often used as “texts” for “decoding” societal structures and values. In this article, I adopt the view that manga is a fruitful medium for capturing the prevailing issues that intersect our everyday activities, as well as the shifting of images in a constantly changing society. As manga is a useful mirror into contemporary Japanese society, it may offer a path of insight for us to understand the reality or distortion of reality of Japanese society. One assumption in my work is that if manga is actually a reflection of the structure and values of society, then the changes that the concept of “self” has undergone in Japan will certainly appear in anime and manga, as well. Therefore, the overall aim of this article is to analyze the content of a popular Japanese manga, Parasyte, in order to understand the paradoxes of subjectivity and coexistence in Japan.
34. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 5
Maximilian Gregor Hepach A Phenomenology of Weather and Qi
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The following article aims to answer the question: “How do we experience weather and qi?” Answering this question addresses two problems: (i) Both the phenomena of weather and qi elude classic phenomenological paradigms such as thing-perception and Dasein, brought forth by Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger, respectively. If phenomenology is concerned with giving an account of experience starting with the “things themselves,” weather and qi necessitate a different phenomenological paradigm, which comprehensively accounts for the experience of both. This article demonstrates that inconspicuousness, as it has been recently phenomenologically accounted for by Günter Figal, is such a new paradigm. (ii) Philosophy done across different languages and cultures is often faced with the problem of untranslatability. This article further demonstrates, following Hisayama Yuho’s work, how phenomenology can present a ground for such philosophy: Instead of discussing qi through its mistranslations into English, I approach the phenomenon by discussing the similarity of phenomenological accounts of qi from Japanese philosophy with my own account of the phenomenology of weather. Both phenomenological accounts mutually elucidate each other. A phenomenological analysis of weather and qi thus both illustrates a largely unthematized facet of human experience in phenomenology, namely, the immersion in media of perception and experience, and demonstrates the philosophical productivity of intercultural philosophy.
35. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 5
Shing Ching Shyu Special Report on National Taiwan University’s “Japanese Studies Series”
36. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 7
Chin-Ping Liao Reception and Transformation of Heidegger’s Philosophy in East Asia
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Before Being and Time was published, Heidegger’s philosophy had been introduced to East Asia by Tanabe Hajime, one of the founding fathers of the Kyoto school of philosophy. The very first idea introduced to Japanese academia was the new turn from Husserl’s phenomenology of pure consciousness to Heidegger’s hermeneutic phenomenology. The purpose of this paper is to clarify the process of reception and transformation of Heidegger’s philosophy in Tanabe Hajime’s and Hung Yao-hsün’s philosophy, and to unveil the historical episode of the heterogeneity of Heidegger’s philosophy in East Asia.
37. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 7
Masakatsu Fujita Hung Yao-hsün and Japanese Philosophy
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Hung Yao-hsün is the founder of philosophical research in Taiwan. He is strongly inf luenced by Mutai Risaku, who is a disciple of Nishida Kitarō and the first philosophy professor at Taihoku Imperial University. I will discuss how Hung developed his thoughts and philosophical research in Taiwan, and what the role of Japanese philosophy was. In his first essay titled “Philosophical Problems Today,” Hung Yao-hsün praised Heidegger’s philosophy of “existence.” However, Hung later criticized Heidegger’s philosophy, claiming that contradiction and negativity in dialectics are not sufficiently considered. This criticism shows Hung’s influence from Mutai Risaku. In “Art and Philosophy (Especially on Their Relationship to Historical Society),” Hung emphasizes the importance of a real foundation (species as substratum) in the development of literature and art. This is based on Tanabe’s “logic of species.” The significance of Hung Yao-hsün’s thought does not lie in his understanding of Tanabe’s notion of species as a mere logical mediation, but in the interpretation of the species as an “actual foundation of life” and in the idea of cultural creation based on the historical and social characteristics of Taiwan.
38. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 7
Yoshinobu Shino Hung Yao-hsün and the Kyoto School
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Hung Yao-hsün is one of founders of modern Taiwanese philosophy. He was educated in philosophy in Japan, the suzerain, and published several articles in Japanese. He developed his study under the influence of contemporary Japanese scholars such as Nishida Kitarō, Tanabe Hajime, Watsuji Tetsurō, Mutai Risaku, and so on. His main concern resided in the ontological relation between the individual and the world, and “existence” was a keyword throughout his life. However, he avoided using it in his articles entitled “Art and Philosophy” and “On Climatic Surroundings and Culture,” written in 1936. In these papers, alluding to an idea of Tanabe, Hung discussed the role of “the specific substance” which served to mediate the individual and the world. Referring to the analysis of Watsuji on fūdo (climatic surroundings and culture), he mentioned the specific status of Taiwan in this context, but he could only find its historical peculiarities. This meant an approval of Japanese rule on Taiwan at that time. It is perhaps in order to avoid this conclusion that Hung introduced the idea of “the logic of the expressive world” by Mutai, who criticized Tanabe’s logic of the specific. After these two papers, Hung returned to devote himself to the problem of existence. The development of his study reflects the contemporary discussion of Japanese scholars and provides a perspective for rethinking the “Japanese philosophy.”
39. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 7
Tzu-Wei Hung The Continuity between Hung Yao-hsün’s Early and Late Philosophy
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Hung Yao-hsün (1903–1986) is one of the most creative, albeit long overlooked, thinkers in Japanese-ruled Taiwan (1895–1945). This paper’s aim is threefold. It first argues that while Hung’s early philosophy was rooted in the Kyoto school, he is a key founder of the Sit-chûn movement of Taiwanese philosophy. It next shows that during Taiwan’s martial law (1949–1987), Hung’s thought features a “Buddhist turn,” in which Zen is incorporated within existentialism. Third, while this turn is a sharp contrast to his prewar philosophical activism, Hung’s last work stressed Abraham Kaplan’s (1918–1993) view that philosophy should be connected to one’s life experience, echoing Hung’s prewar usage of fūdo in justifying Taiwan’s cultural subjectivity. In other words, there is an implicit continuity between his early and late philosophy.
40. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 7
Yao-hsün Hung A Cultural Perspective Based On Fūdo—in Connection to the Fūdo of Taiwan