Japanese philosophy

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Japanese philosophy has historically been a fusion of both indigenous Shinto and continental religions, such as Buddhism and Confucianism. Formerly heavily influenced by both Chinese philosophy and Indian philosophy, as with Mitogaku and Zen, much modern Japanese philosophy is now also influenced by Western philosophy.

Shinto Japanese traditional folk religion

Shinto or kami-no-michi is the traditional religion of Japan that focuses on ritual practices to be carried out diligently to establish a connection between present-day Japan and its ancient past.

Buddhism World religion, founded by the Buddha

Buddhism is the world's fourth-largest religion with over 520 million followers, or over 7% of the global population, known as Buddhists. Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices largely based on original teachings attributed to the Buddha and resulting interpreted philosophies. Buddhism originated in ancient India as a Sramana tradition sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE, spreading through much of Asia. Two major extant branches of Buddhism are generally recognized by scholars: Theravada and Mahayana.

Confucianism Chinese ethical and philosophical system

Confucianism, also known as Ruism, is described as tradition, a philosophy, a religion, a humanistic or rationalistic religion, a way of governing, or simply a way of life. Confucianism developed from what was later called the Hundred Schools of Thought from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius, who considered himself a recodifier and retransmitter of the theology and values inherited from the Shang and Zhou dynasties. In the Han dynasty, Confucian approaches edged out the "proto-Taoist" Huang–Lao as the official ideology, while the emperors mixed both with the realist techniques of Legalism.


Ancient and medieval thought

Before feudalism was firmly established in Japan, Buddhism occupied the mainstream of Japanese thought. The Buddhist culture introduced politically by Prince Shōtoku is completed as the "making a country safe" thought in the Nara period. When the Heian period (794–1185) began, in substitution for the "making a country safe thought", form of esoteric Buddhism collectively known as mikkyō became widespread. However, in the late noble era when pessimism was popular due to the "belief that Buddhism will decline during the latter days of this world", the Pure Land movements spread out encouraging anticipation of a "future life" as a means to cope with desperation over "life in this world". During the Kamakura period (1185–1333) when government dominated by the samurai class began, a “new” Buddhism for the newly-risen class (samurai) appears.

Feudalism combination of legal and military customs in medieval Europe

Feudalism was a combination of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries. Broadly defined, it was a way of structuring society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour. Although derived from the Latin word feodum or feudum (fief), then in use, the term feudalism and the system it describes were not conceived of as a formal political system by the people living in the Middle Ages. In its classic definition, by François-Louis Ganshof (1944), feudalism describes a set of reciprocal legal and military obligations among the warrior nobility revolving around the three key concepts of lords, vassals and fiefs.

Japan Constitutional monarchy in East Asia

Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south.

Prince Shōtoku Japanese prince

Prince Shōtoku, also known as Prince Umayado or Prince Kamitsumiya, was a semi-legendary regent and a politician of the Asuka period in Japan who served under Empress Suiko. He was the son of Emperor Yōmei and his consort, Princess Anahobe no Hashihito, who was also Yōmei's younger half-sister. His parents were relatives of the ruling Soga clan and he was involved in the defeat of the rival Mononobe clan. The primary source of the life and accomplishments of Prince Shōtoku comes from the Nihon Shoki.

Arrival of Buddhism and early influence in Japan

In ancient Japan, the arrival of Buddhism closely relates the national construction and the national centralization of power. Prince Shōtoku and the Soga family fought and overcame the Mononobe family, who had handled the ancient Japanese religion, and elaborated a plan for national governance based on the unification of the legal codes system and Buddhism. While cooperating with the Soga family, Prince Shōtoku, who was the regent of the Empress Suiko, showed a deep understanding in "foreign" Buddhism, [1] and planned to stabilize national politics through the use of Buddhism. The thought that national peace and security came through the power of Buddhism is called the "making a country safe" thought. In the Nara period, in particular the times of Emperor Shōmu, the Kokubun-ji temples and Kokubun-ni-ji temples were erected throughout the whole country and Tōdai-ji Temple and the Daibutsu were erected in Nara. The Buddhist policy of the state reached its apex during the Nara period, as evidenced by Jianzhen of the Tang dynasty bringing an imperial ordination platform to Todai-ji Temple,

Religion is a cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual elements. However, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion.

Governance comprises all of the processes of governing – whether undertaken by the government of a state, by a market or by a network – over a social system and whether through the laws, norms, power or language of an organized society. It relates to "the processes of interaction and decision-making among the actors involved in a collective problem that lead to the creation, reinforcement, or reproduction of social norms and institutions". In lay terms, it could be described as the political processes that exist in and between formal institutions.

Empress Suiko Empress of Japan

Empress Suiko was the 33rd monarch of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.

While Nara Buddhism followed only the "making a country safe" thought, Heian Buddhism brought not only national peace and security but also the personal worldly profit. Because practitioners of Heian Buddhism frequently performed severe ascetic practices, incantations and prayers in the mountains, this Buddhism came to be called mikkyō. Kūkai, a Buddhist monk, learned Chinese esoteric Buddhism while on a diplomatic mission to the Chinese court, and combined Japanese Buddhism with Chinese esoteric Buddhist practices to form Japanese Shingon Buddhism. Saichō, a Buddhist monk who also journeyed to China, learned the practices of the Chinese Tendai sect and argued that the teachings of the Lotus Sutra should be the core of Japanese Buddhism.

Peace state of harmony characterized by lack of violent conflict and freedom from fear of violence

Peace is a concept of societal friendship and harmony in the absence of hostility and violence. In a social sense, peace is commonly used to mean a lack of conflict and freedom from fear of violence between individuals or heterogeneous groups. Throughout history leaders have used peacemaking and diplomacy to establish a certain type of behavioral restraint that has resulted in the establishment of regional peace or economic growth through various forms of agreements or peace treaties. Such behavioral restraint has often resulted in the reduction of conflicts, greater economic interactivity, and consequently substantial prosperity. The avoidance of war or violent hostility can be the result of thoughtful active listening and communication that enables greater genuine mutual understanding and therefore compromise. Leaders often benefit tremendously from the prestige of peace talks and treaties that can result in substantially enhanced popularity.

Security degree of resistance to, or protection from, harm

Security is freedom from, or resilience against, potential harm caused by others. Beneficiaries of security may be of persons and social groups, objects and institutions, ecosystems or any other entity or phenomenon vulnerable to unwanted change by its environment.

In economics, profit in the accounting sense of the excess of revenue over cost is the sum of two components: normal profit and economic profit. Normal profit is the profit that is necessary to just cover the opportunity costs of the owner-manager or of the firm's investors. In the absence of this profit, these parties would withdraw their time and funds from the firm and use them to better advantage elsewhere. In contrast, economic profit, sometimes called excess profit, is profit in excess of what is required to cover the opportunity costs.

By the late Heian era, the earthly focus of Heian Buddhism led Buddhist monks to declare a "sinful age" wherein the possibility of relief in this world was denied and therefore a trend of looking for reincarnation to the Buddhists' paradise after death arose. Additionally, the new thought that "Buddhism will decline during the latter days of this world" led to the rise of the Pure Land movement. This movement, spearheaded by Kūya, a follower of Pure Land Buddhism, preached faith to the Amitābha and taught that all people could reach the Buddhist paradise, not just Buddhist monks.

Paradise religious term for a place of eternal and harmonious existence

In religion, paradise is a place of exceptional happiness and delight. Paradisiacal notions are often laden with pastoral imagery, and may be cosmogonical or eschatological or both, often compared to the miseries of human civilization: in paradise there is only peace, prosperity, and happiness. Paradise is a place of contentment, a land of luxury and fulfillment. Paradise is often described as a "higher place", the holiest place, in contrast to this world, or underworlds such as Hell.


Kūya (空也)(903-972) was an itinerant Japanese priest who, along with Genshin and Jakushin, was an early promoter of the practice of the nembutsu amongst the common people in order to attain salvation and entry into the Pure land of Amida. The movement gained in strength during the Heian period as a reaction against the worldly and military character of the established temples during the age of Mappō.

Amitābha celestial Buddha

Amitābha, also known as Amida or Amitāyus, is a celestial buddha according to the scriptures of Mahayana Buddhism. Amitābha is the principal buddha in Pure Land Buddhism, a branch of East Asian Buddhism. In Vajrayana Buddhism, Amitābha is known for his longevity attribute, magnetising red fire element, the aggregate of discernment, pure perception and the deep awareness of emptiness of phenomena. According to these scriptures, Amitābha possesses infinite merit resulting from good deeds over countless past lives as a bodhisattva named Dharmakāra. Amitābha means "Infinite Light", and Amitāyus means "Infinite Life" so Amitābha is also called "The Buddha of Immeasurable Light and Life".

Dharmacakra (Buddhist Wheel) Category:Buddhist symbols Dharmacakra (Buddhist Wheel), Sun temple, Orissa.jpg
Dharmacakra (Buddhist Wheel) Category:Buddhist symbols

Kamakura Buddhism

The Jōdo faith, which affected by the Jodo sect of the late Heian period, relies on salvation through the benevolence of Amitābha, and is going to be relieved by its power. Hōnen, who initiated the Jodo sect of Buddhism, abandoned other ascetic practices entirely. He preached his pupils to believe in Amitabha and to earnestly pray "namu-amida-butsu", and so they would go to the paradise. His pupil, Shinran who initiated Pure Land Buddhism, thoroughly carried out Honen's teaching and preached the absolute dependence. In addition, Shinran advocated that an object of the relief of the Amitabha was a criminal who was aware of a worldly and desirous criminal oneself. Ippen, who initiated the Jishu sect, began "the chanting religious dance".

Jōdo-shū branch of Buddhism in Japan

Jōdo-shū, also known as Jōdo Buddhism, is a branch of Pure Land Buddhism derived from the teachings of the Japanese ex-Tendai monk Hōnen. It was established in 1175 and is the most widely practiced branch of Buddhism in Japan, along with Jōdo Shinshū.

Hōnen Japanese Buddhist monks

Hōnen was the religious reformer and founder of the first independent branch of Japanese Pure Land Buddhism called Jōdo-shū. He is also considered the Seventh Jōdo Shinshū Patriarch.

Nianfo is a term commonly seen in Pure Land Buddhism. In the context of Pure Land practice, it generally refers to the repetition of the name of Amitābha. It is a translation of Sanskrit buddhānusmṛti.

As contrast with dependent Jōdō faith, Zen Buddhism attempts to be spiritually self-awakened by Zen meditation. Eisai learned Rinzai sect in China. He gave pupils a difficult problem and he made them solving the problem, and so his pupils would be enlightened by themselves. Rinzai Zen was supported widely by the upper samurai class in the Kamakura period. Dōgen learned Sōtō sect in China. [2] Oppose to Eisai, he preached enlightenment by earnest sitting meditation (zazen). Soto Zen was supported by the local samurais.

Most schools of Nichiren Buddhism (Japanese: 法華系仏教Hokke-kei Bukkyō) refer to the priest and teacher Nichiren as their founding father. In his teachings he underlined the, to his mind, supremacy of the Lotus Sutra. He advocated the attainment of Buddhahood during one's lifetime and regarded his interpretation of the Buddhist teachings the correct form of practice for the Latter Day of the Law mappō. One of his major treatises is the "Rissho Ankoku Ron" (On Establishing the Correct teaching for the Peace of the Land). The chanting of the Mantra "Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō" is to this day the central practice to almost all Nichiren Buddhist schools and organisations.

Early modern thought

Whereas the ancient and medieval thought of Japan was tied closely to Buddhism, the early modern thought of Japan was mainly Confucianism or Neo-Confucianism, which was designated for official study of the Tokugawa shogunate. In addition, rational Confucianism stimulated Kokugaku, Rangaku and the non-official popular thought after the middle Edo period.


In the Edo period, Confucianism was the authorised study. Various schools of neo-Confucianism were popular.

The Zhu Xi school of neo-Confucianism respected family-like feudal social position order. Hayashi Razan assumed the Zhu Xi school of neo-Confucianism to be the theoretical basics of the Tokugawa shogunate. Through the principle of civilian government, Yushima Seidō dedicating to Confucius was established. By the Kansei Reforms, the Zhu Xi school of neo-Confucianism were still more strengthened and authorized by the Tokugawa shogunate. In addition, the thought of a school of the Zhu Xi school of neo-Confucianism gave big influence to the political movement advocating reverence for the Emperor and the expulsion of foreigners of the late Tokugawa era.

In contrast with the Zhu Xi school of neo-Confucianism, the Wang Yangming school of neo-Confucianism respecting practical ethics consistently monitored and oppressed by the Tokugawa shogunate because of criticisms for the socio-political conditions under the Tokugawa shogunate.

The third schools of neo-Confucianism took consideration into the real intentions of original texts by Confucius and Mencius. Yamaga Sokō established his philosophy on Confucian ethics, and assumed the samurai to be the highest class. Itō Jinsai paid attention to "ren" of Confucius and he respected "ren" as the love for another person and "truth" as pure consideration. In addition, deriving from his substantial studies of ancient Chinese classics, Ogyū Sorai insisted that original Confucian spirit is to rule the world and to save a citizen.

Kokugaku and Rangaku

In the middle of the Edo period, Kokugaku, the study of ancient Japanese thought and culture, became popular against foreign ideas such as Buddhism or Confucianism. By Sakoku policy of the Tokugawa shogunate, Edo intellectuals could not have any positive contact with Western civilization, and so Rangaku, Dutch learning, was the only window to the West.

In the middle days of the Edo period, Kokugaku became popular while being influenced by positivist Confucianism with nationalism as a background. Kokugaku positively studied ancient Japanese thought and culture, including "Kojiki", "Nihon Shoki" and "Man'yōshū", and they aimed at excavating original moral culture of Japan which was different from Confucianism and Buddhism. Kamo no Mabuchi wrestled with the study of "Manyoshu" and called "masurao-buri" for masculine and tolerant style, and he evaluated the collection as pure and simple. Through his study of the Kojiki, Motoori Norinaga argued that the essence of the Japanese literature came from "mono no aware" which was natural feelings to occur when you contacted with an object. He respected Japanese "Yamato spirit" instead of Chinese (Confucianism / Buddhism) "Kara spirit". According to him, Kokugaku should pursue Japanese old way of "Shinto". Through his study of Kokugaku, Hirata Atsutane advocated nationalistic State Shinto, the obedience to the Emperor and abolition of Confucianism and Buddhism. It was a driving force to the end of the Tokugawa shogunate and the Meiji Restoration.

In Sakoku period of the Edo period, there was no direct contact with the West, but, Rangaku became popular by encouraging importation of Western books translated in Chinese from China during the Kyōhō Reforms. Maeno Ryotaku and Sugita Genpaku translated Dutch "Tafel Anatomie" into Japanese. Dutch learning unfolded to other Western studies such as British, French and American studies by the late Tokugawa era. The manner of "Japanese spirit, Western civilisation" was completed by Sakuma Shōzan’s straightforward expression, "Eastern ethics and Western technology". Because Takano Chōei and Watanabe Kazan of the person of Dutch learning criticized Sakoku strictly, they were oppressed by the Tokugawa shogunate.

In the Edo period, private schools were opened by samurais, merchants and scholars who played an active part. Their thoughts were criticisms for the dominant feudal order.

Ishida Baigan synthesized Confucianism, Buddhism and Shinto, and established practical philosophy for the masses. He recommended working hard at commerce as the effect by honesty and thrift. Ando Shoeki called nature's world the ideal society where all human beings engaged in farming and they lived self-sufficiently without artificiality. He criticized a lawful society where there were feudal class discrimination and the difference between the rich and poor. Ninomiya Sontoku insisted that people must repay the virtues, which supported their existence, with own virtue.

Late Modern thought

While the early modern Japanese thought developed in Confucianism and Buddhism, English Enlightenment and French human rights were prevalent after the Meiji Restoration rapidly affected by Western thought. From the time of Sino- and Russo-Japanese Wars, Japanese capitalism highly developed. Christianity and socialism developed and they tied to various social movements. In addition, nationalistic thought and study were formed while being opposed to foreign study.

The Enlightenment and people's rights

In the Meiji Restoration, English and French civil society was introduced, in particular, utilitarianism and social Darwinism from England, and popular sovereignty of Jean-Jacques Rousseau from France.

The thinkers of the early Meiji period advocated British Enlightenment derived from Western civil society. They attempted to criticise Japanese traditional authority and feudalism. However they were finally in harmony with the government and accepted the modernization from the above without the radicalness. In 1873, Mori Arinori formed Meirokusha. The people who gathered in this cultural association had much in common with points such as regarding practical learning as important, catching human characteristics practically and assuming the form of government that accepted the conditions of a country an ideal. Mori Arinori promoted national education as Minister of Education. Nishi Amane affirmed a human behaviour based on interest. Katō Hiroyuki threw away natural rights under influence of social Darwinism, and instead advocated the survival of the fittest.

Fukuzawa Yukichi who introduced British utilitarianism to Japan advocated the natural rights assumed that the human rights were given from the heaven. He considered the development of the civilization to be the development of the human spirit, and it was assumed that one's independence led to independence of one country. [3] Fukuzawa thought that there was the government in "sake of the convenience", and its appearance should be suitable to the culture. He said that there is no single ideal form of government. In addition, he insisted that Japan should have gone into the continent externally against the Great Powers. [4]

While members of Meirokusha finally advocated harmonization of the government and people, democratic thinkers absorbed radical people's rights from France and they supported national resistance and revolution verbally against the Meiji oligarchy after the Satsuma Rebellion. In 1874, Itagaki Taisuke introduced the establishment of the elected legislature. It spread nationwide as the Freedom and People's Rights Movement. Ueki Emori helped Itagaki and he drew up a radical draft. Strongly influenced from Rousseau, Nakae Chōmin argued for people's sovereignty and individual freedom. However, concerning with Japanese situation, he pointed out the importance of parliamentary monarchy. According to him, the Imperial Constitution should be gradually revised by the Diet.

From the late period of Meiji to the Taishō era, a democratic trend spread as a background of bourgeois political consciousness. Its current led to political movements for safeguarding the Constitution and for the popular election. Yoshino Sakuzō argued for party cabinet politics and popular election. He did not deeply pursue who was the sovereign but he insisted political goal aim for people's happiness and political decision aim for people's intention. Minobe Tatsukichi interpreted a sovereign as not an emperor but the state. According to him, an emperor just only excises his power as the highest organ under the Meiji Constitution. Although his theory was widely acknowledged at first, he was politically suppressed by the military and the rightists afterwards.

In 1911, Hiratsuka Raichō formed Seitosha. She asked for awakening of women's own and development of feminist movement. While Yosano Akiko denied gender difference, Raicho emphasised motherhood raising a child and she acknowledged the official aids for women to demonstrate their feminine ability. In 1920, Raicho formed a new association for women with Ichikawa Fusae and Oku Mumeo. Soon after their activities were successful in women's participating at political address, the association were broken up by an internal split. Later, Ichikawa formed a new one and continued a movement for female suffrage.

Christianity and socialism

It was Christians and socialists who struggled with social contradictions derived from Japanese modernity. Christian social movements were active after the Sino- and Russo-Japanese Wars which brought capitalism and its contradiction to Japanese society. Many Japanese socialists were influenced by Christian humanism, and in that point they were deeply associated with Christianity.

Christianity, banned by the Tokugawa shogunate, influenced many Meiji intellectuals. Uchimura Kanzō developed "two Js" to unite Bushido and Christian spirit. He believed that his calling was to serve "Japan" and "Jesus". He argued for the nonchurch movement. He challenged the Imperial Rescript on Education and spoke against the Russo-Japanese War. [5] Nitobe Inazō was a Quaker and attempted to unite Japanese culture and Christianity. He introduced Japanese culture abroad and he became secretary-general of the League of Nations. Joseph Hardy Neesima studied theology abroad in the United States. He established Doshisha University at Kyoto and he was engaged in Christian character building.

About the time of Sino- and Russo-Japanese wars, Japan succeeded in capitalization through the industrial revolution as soon as socialism spread against capitalism. However, the social movements were suppressed by the security police law of 1900, and finally in the High Treason Incident of 1910 socialists were pressed by the military and the fascist government  ... Kawakami Hajime wrote articles about poverty in a newspaper. He emphasized personal remodelling to solve poverty at first, however, later he became Marxist and he argued for social remodelling by social compulsion. Kōtoku Shūsui originally attempted to realize socialism through the Diet, however, he became a unionist and he argued for a direct action by a general strike. He was executed as the mastermind of the high treason incident of 1910. Osugi Sakae argued for individual freedom using the principles of anarchism and unionism. He was seen as a threat by the government and was assassinated by military police in the disorder following the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake.

The development of Japanism

The Age of Enlightenment, Christianity and socialism have influenced Japanese thought since the Meiji Restoration. The emphasis on Japanese political culture and national tradition rose as a reaction against westernization. This trend has had an ideological side of legitimizing imperialism and militarism/fascism. [6]

Tokutomi Sohō published a magazine in which he argued for liberal democracy and populism against Japanese westernization. However, he was disillusioned with the bourgeois who should play a political part in ... Kuga Katsunan regarded Japanese political culture and national tradition very highly. He aimed for restoration and enhancement of national emotion; however, he was not a narrow-minded nationalist. He criticized the military and argued for a parliamentary system of government and expansion of suffrage.

After the Meiji Restoration, Japanese government protected Shinto and treated it well not as a special religion but as State Shinto. The government closely related Shinto with the holy emperor, and they used Shinto as a tool for their state governance. State Shinto was clearly distinguished from private sects of Shinto religion. It was a model of ideological state governance to form State Shinto and to promulgate the Imperial Rescript on Education. Meiji statism attempted to restore national sovereignty and pursued imperialism and colonialism through Sino- and Russo-Japanese Wars. However, its militaristic trend developed to ultra-nationalism. Kita Ikki advocated the exclusion of the zaibatsu, senior statesmen and political parties and the establishment of government for direct connection with the emperor and the people. [7]

Yanagita Kunio was at the forefront of study of Japanese folklore. He named general public who are not political leaders and intellectuals as “jomin”. Other folklorists are Minakata Kumagusu, Yanagi Muneyoshi and Orikuchi Shinobu.

In pre-war Japan, German philosophy was eagerly studied and introduced. However, from the late Meiji to Taishō period, Kyoto School attempted to harmonize Western thought with Eastern thought such as Zen Buddhism. Nishida Kitaro established an original thought by fusion of Zen and Western thought. His thought is called as Nishida philosophy. He insisted on pure experience in which there is no opposition between subjectivity and objectivity. [8] His ontology derived from absolute nothingness. Watsuji Tetsuro criticized Western selfish individualism. [9] His ethics says human beings are not isolated existence but related existence. He insisted that individual and social beings should be aware of their own individuality and social membership. He is also well known as his Climate and Culture in which he studied the relationship between natural environment and local lifestyle.

Contemporary Japanese philosophy

After World War II, many academic philosophers have published books on Continental philosophy and American philosophy. Among those Shozo Omori, Wataru Hiromatsu, Yasuo Yuasa, and Takaaki Yoshimoto created original works under the influence of Marxism, phenomenology and analytic philosophy. Shozo Omori created a unique monist epistemology based on his concepts of "representation monism", "double depiction", and "language animism". Wataru Hiromatsu developed his theory of "multi-subjective ontological structure of the world". Yasuo Yuasa advanced a new theory of the body influenced by Merleau-Ponty and the body image found in Chinese medicine. Takaaki Yoshimoto is famous for his "shared illusion theory" and various philosophical essays on Japanese culture. Today, such scholars as Kojin Karatani (literary theory), Hitoshi Nagai (solipsism), Shigeki Noya (analytic philosophy), Masahiro Morioka (philosophy of life), and Motoyoshi Irifuji (analytic philosophy) are considered to be characteristic philosophers in the Japanese academy. [10]

See also


  1. See Sangyo Gisho and Seventeen-article constitution.
  2. For a philosophical study of Dōgen's concept of language cf. Ralf Müller: Dōgens Sprachdenken: Historische und symboltheoretische Perspektiven [Dōgen’s language thinking: Systematic perspectives from history and the theory of symbols], Welten der Philosophie, vol. 13. Freiburg/München: Verlag Karl Alber, 2013; reviewed by Steffen Döll in Philosophy East & West Volume 65, Number 2 April 2015 636–639.
  3. Encouragement of learning (1872–76) and An outline of a theory of civilization (1875)
  4. Datsu-A Ron
  5. How I became a Christian (1895)
  6. See also Total war and Pan-Asianism.
  7. See February 26 Incident.
  8. An inquiry into the good
  9. The significance of ethics as the study as man
  10. See for example, Collected works of Shozo Omori, Shozo Omori bibliography,Collected works of Wataru Hiromatsu, Collected works of Yasuo Yuasa, Collected works of Takaaki Yoshimoto, Collected works of Kojin Karatani



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Danka system

The danka system , also known as jidan system is a system of voluntary and long-term affiliation between Buddhist temples and households in use in Japan since the Heian period. In it, households financially support a Buddhist temple which, in exchange, provides for their spiritual needs. Although its existence long predates the Edo period (1603–1868), the system is best known for its repressive use made at that time by the Tokugawa, who made the affiliation with a Buddhist temple compulsory to all citizens.

Buddhist influences on print technology in East Asia are far-reaching. The history of writing in Asia dates back to the 13th century BC. China used bones and shells for religious inscriptions in the form of divinations. From these beginnings, numerous forms of writing and printing were developed. In many instances, as in Europe, it was religion that played a major role in the development of writing and printing techniques or which was the reason behind the usage of these techniques. Of the religions in East Asia, it was Buddhism that played the strongest role in influencing writing and, in particular, printing. There were other factors that influenced the creation of manuscript and print culture, but Buddhism had the largest influence in spreading the usage of print technology, which in turn led to an increase in the dissemination of secular printing and literacy as well as wielding an important influence on economics, government, and competing religions/philosophies.

The Dai Nihonshi (大日本史), literally Great History of Japan, is a book on the history of Japan. It was begun in the 17th century, during the Edo period, by Tokugawa Mitsukuni, the head of the Mito branch of the Tokugawa family. After his death, work was continued by the Mito branch until its completion in the Meiji era. The work starts with Emperor Jimmu, the legendary first emperor of Japan, during the early Kofun period, and covers the first hundred emperors, ending with Emperor Go-Komatsu after the merging of the Southern and Northern Court in 1392. The whole work comprises 397 scrolls in 226 volumes, and 5 scrolls of index.

Yoshida Shintō (吉田神道) also frequently referred to as Yuiitsu Shintō was a prominent sect of Shintō that arose during the Sengoku period through the teachings and work of Yoshida Kanetomo. The sect was originally an effort to organize Shintō teachings into a coherent structure in order to assert its authority vis-a-vis Buddhism. However, by the Edo period, Yoshida Shintō continued to dominate the Shintō discourse, and influenced Neo-Confucian thinkers such as Hayashi Razan and Yamazaki Ansai in formulating a Neo-Confucian Shinto doctrine. Yoshida Shinto's dominance rivaled that of Ise Shintō.

Edo neo-Confucianism philosophy in Edo-period Japan

Edo Neo-Confucianism, known in Japanese as Shushi-Gaku , refers to the schools of Neo-Confucian philosophy that developed in Japan during the Edo period. Neo-Confucianism reached Japan during the Kamakura period. The philosophy can be characterized as humanistic and rationalistic, with the belief that the universe could be understood through human reason, and that it was up to man to create a harmonious relationship between the universe and the individual. The 17th-century Tokugawa shogunate adopted Neo-Confucianism as the principle of controlling people and Confucian philosophy took hold. Neo-Confucians such as Hayashi Razan and Arai Hakuseki were instrumental in the formulation of Japan's dominant early modern political philosophy.