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Displaying: 1-20 of 34 documents

1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 5
Shing Ching Shyu Special Report on National Taiwan University’s “Japanese Studies Series”
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book review
6. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 5
Matthew Fujimoto Nishida Kitarō’s Chiasmastic Chorology: Place of Dialectic, Dialectic of Place
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7. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 4
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8. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 4
Kōjin Karatani, Cheung Ching-yuen Two Types of Mobility
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Mobility is the key to overcoming the capital-nation-state. It can be divided into two types: the mobility of pastoral nomads and original hunter-gatherers. It is impossible for us to find a society of nomadic hunter-gatherers in today’s world, but we can have a thought experiment by observing existing wandering band societies. Yanagita Kunio is a thinker in Japan who drew attention to nomads. He has examined various types of nomads since his earlier years but is ridiculed for insisting on the existence of mountain nomads. Nonetheless, he has never given up on the reality of mountain nomads. Even though he later focuses on farmers with fixed settlements, or the common people, he still continues his search for the possibility of the existence of mountain nomads. Eventually, he came to look for traces of mountain nomads in indigenous beliefs. These indigenous beliefs were not limited to the Japanese.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 4
Tadao Uemura The Documents of a Great Defeat: Karatani Kōjin Immediately Prior to His “Turn”
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At times in the world of thought, a moment comes that compels us to try a fatal jump. The “turn” that Karatani Kōjin attempted in his Investigations I (1986) may be one such case. It is accomplished in the way of “transcendence through the transversal to the outside” in his Transcritique: Kant and Marx (2001). I want to pay, however, attention rather to the fact that, previous to his “turn,” Karatani aimed at exactly the radicalization of introspection during the period from “Introspection and Retrospection” (1980) to “Language, Number, and Money” (1983). It is true that Karatani’s analysis is driven to the wall as it goes, and it is suddenly interrupted halfway. But this does not mean that all Karatani’s efforts of the radicalization of introspection were in vain. As Asada Akira says, we recognize that “an event that is worthy to be called authentically thinking was experienced once at least in our days.”
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 4
Ralf Müller Conference Report: Japanese Philosophy in a New Key
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15. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 3
James W. Heisig Tanabe Hajime’s Elusive Pursuit of Art and Aesthetics
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In philosophical circles at home and abroad, Tanabe’s work has attracted far less attention than that of others in the Kyoto School. The rarefied and abstract cast of his prose often impedes contact with the underlying, existential questions that drove him. This is nowhere more apparent than in the way he treats art and the mind of the artist in his mature work. After a review of Tanabe’s comments on aesthetics in his Collected Works, the premises in his general philosophy on which they rely and the questions they neglect, this article suggests that that we cannot stop at accusing him of failing to draw direct, essential con­nections between artistic sensibility and the guiding principles of his logic, but must attend to the dimly felt presence of an aesthetic at work beneath the surface of Tanabe’s very mode of thought.
16. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 3
Shigenori Nagatomo Dōgen’s “Do No Evil” as Nonproduction of Evil”: An Achievement and Its Micro-Macrocosmic Correlativity
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Dōgen’s treatment of evil starts with a reflection on four statements found in the Pali Buddhist Cannon, namely, “Do no evil, Do good, and Purify the mind. This is the teaching of the Buddhas.” In order to grasp his philosophical reflection on evil, we must cast our inquiry within the wider issues that conceptually frame these four statements; namely, the idea of karmic retribution and an agent trapped in it. This requires us to clarify why “do no evil” precedes “do good,” and why there is a demand to “purify the mind.” The first two injunctions deal with an issue of human nature, and the third with the practice of Zen meditation, which is Dōgen’s method for “purify[ing] the mind.” His reflection on medi­tation experiences enabled him to discover how “do no evil” changes into “nonproduction of evil.” Dōgen’s contention then is that “do no evil” as an ethical imperative transforms into “nonproduction of evil.” Therefore, an ethical imperative as understood by an ordinary person is not the true intent of the above injunction for a practicing Buddhist. This is because the practice of meditation renders a practicing Buddhist inca­pable of producing evil. “Nonproduction of evil” describes an achieved state of personhood. It is for Dōgen a term of achievement, that is, a transformative process reached from a prescriptive imperative to a state descriptive of embodied, meditational experience. With this transforma­tion, one comes to understand “the teaching of the Buddhas.”
17. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 3
Rein Raud Casting off the Bonds of Karma: Watsuji, Shinran, and Dōgen on the Problem of Free Will
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The article approaches the interpretation of the principle of karma as suggested in a sideline in Watsuji Tetsurō’s early reading of the phi­losophy of Dōgen: Karma is the historic, conditioned origin of how our being is enacted at every single instant, of which each individual is the constantly renewed product. In a sense, any sentient existence in the world is thus karmic because it has a history. The consequences of the problem thus posed are explored in the context of the question of subjectivity, causality, and free will, reformulated here as the prob­lem of “genuine choice,” the position where different inputs, such as desires, moral codes, and duties, prompt a person to choose between contradictory courses of action. The results of this analysis are then used to develop a rationalistic reading of one of Dōgen’s key terms, shinjin datsuraku (“casting off the bodymind”), building on Tsujiguchi Yūichirō’s recent work, as the refusal of a person to succumb to her primary karmic determination or to follow the most readily available course of action that her biological, social, and mental structures propose to her.
18. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 3
Eiji Suhara Is Shōmyō Nembutsu Magic?: Reconsidering Shinran’s Nembutsu Debate in Japanese Scholarship from a Multidimensional Perspective
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This research offers a fresh perspective helpful in navigating the debate in modern Japanese scholarship of the so-called nembutsu = magic debate. According to the majority of scholars, Shinran had no need to embrace the practice of “magical” recitation in his Pure Land soteriology that emphasized faith, but chose to keep it only because of his respect for Hōnen. I argue, on the contrary, that Shinran was following Hōnen’s intention to make use of the “magical function” of recitation practice, brought about through Pure Land metaphors and syntactic rhetorics, as a tool for training people incapable of performing the mental act of contemplation practice.
19. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 3
Takeshi Mitsuhara Nishida and Husserl between 1911 and 1917
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This article clarifies the role Husserl’s philosophy plays in the development of Nishida’s philosophy between 1911 and 1917. During this period, Nishida formulates his thought against Rickert’s and Takahashi’s view that sharply distinguishes the transcendence of meaning from mental process. In doing so, showing the mutual dependence of the “transcendent” and the “immanent” was neces­sary. Nishida believes that Husserl’s idea of the mutual dependence of act-matter and act-quality could highlight the mutual dependence of the “transcendent” and the “immanent.” Consequently, Nishida attempts to develop his thought with the help of Husserl’s philoso­phy, which brings about a change in Nishida’s thought. First, Nishida develops his philosophy on the basis of the mutual dependence of act-matter and act-quality in intentional experience. Second, Nishida tries to elucidate the qualitative difference in self-awareness with the concept of act-quality. In addition, Nishida understands the qualita­tive difference as that of various worlds based on Husserl’s view of the constitution of various worlds. Finally, Nishida argues for the unity of worlds through the will, under the influence of Husserl’s assertion concerning the connection of various worlds through the “I.”
20. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 3
Steve Odin Hallucinating the End of History: Nishida, Zen, and the Psychedelic Eschaton
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