Journal of Japanese Philosophy

Volume 7, 2021

Special Issue on Taiwanese Philosophy

Yoshinobu Shino
Pages 39-57

Hung Yao-hsün and the Kyoto School

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.”