By Christopher Goto-Jones
Political Philosophy in Japan specializes in the politics of Japan's pre-eminent philosophical institution - the Kyoto institution - and especially that of its founder, Nishida Kitar? (1870-1945). present literature on Nishida is dismissive of there being critical political content material in his paintings, and of the political stance of the broader university. Goto-Jones contends that, faraway from being apolitical, Nishida's philosophy was once explicitly and deliberately political, and right political studying of Nishida sheds new mild at the controversies surrounding the alleged complicity of the Kyoto institution in jap ultra-nationalism. This booklet bargains a different and in all likelihood debatable view of the topic of Nishida and the Kyoto institution.
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Additional resources for Political Philosophy in Japan: Nishida, the Kyoto School and co-prosperity (Routledge Leiden Series in Modern East Asian Politics and History)
To some extent, this is itself a political issue. e. Confucianism and Buddhism) quite deliberately, in order to demarcate a new field of knowledge being imported from abroad. 3 Strongly influenced by the practical and scientific flavour of the currents of Western thought flooding into Japan in the late nineteenth century, Nishi asserted that philosophy was the ‘science of sciences…the chief of all sciences’ (NAZ: 146). Havens suggests that for Nishi, philosophy meant a rational, practical approach to knowledge, using inductive logic to investigate phenomena.
The implicit agenda 28 THE POLITICS OF HARMONY AND AWAKENING in such an approach has been to salvage something ‘respectable’ from Kyoto School Philosophy and to exorcise the demons of alleged ultra-nationalist complicity by suggesting that the school’s religious thought had nothing to do with the school’s politics; religion and politics occupy separate sites. 8 Missing from the existing literature is the idea that interest Buddhism was simultaneously an interest in politics at the turn of the twentieth century in Japan.
33 Nichiren was following a long tradition when he argued that the Lotus Sūtra was a chingo kokka kyō (nation-protecting sūtra), but his innovation was to suggest that far from being the device of the nation, the Lotus was its ultimate master. Whereas previous esoteric Buddhist masters, such as Kūkai, had been enlisted by the state to utilize the power of Buddha to protect the nation (and the person of the ruler), Nichiren cautioned that such practices effectively inverted the proper order of the universe: Buddha’s law (buppō) not national law (ōbō) was superior—they were not unconditionally the same.