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International Students : ZAKIPOUR BAHMAN

Building and deepening the relationship between
my home country, Iran and Japan through the perspective of philosophy



Born in Teheran, Iran.

Visited Japan after graduating from Islamic Azad University.

Subsequently completed a master's program at another university.
In 2013, enrolled in the PhD program in the Graduate School of Letters at TOYO University, majoring in Philosophy. (Current)

From his early childhood, he has practiced Japanese martial arts, and taught himself the Japanese language.

He has a deep love for philosophy and Japanese martial arts, and contitues activities to build a bridge between his homeland Iran and Japan. 

Q.Please tell us about your home country.

I began my studies at Islamic Azad University in 2003. 
I love philosophy, so I majored in it at the university.
At the same time, I participated in courses at "Iranian Academy of Philosophy." 
Under the guidance of Professor Yeganeh Shaigan, I learnt 'The Philosophy of Aristotle,'
'The Philosophy of Ibn Sina,'etc.

I worked as a teacher from 2005 to 2006, and then in 2008 I graduated from the university and came to Japan.

Japanese martial arts (karate in particular) are popular in Iran. The Japanese television drama "Oshin" was also very popular.
I believe that the character Oshin's example of the spirit of "a woman who showed strength as she lived through the war and post-war period of chaos" gave the people of Iran much courage and patience as they worked to restore the country in the aftermath of the Iran-Iraq War.


Q.What prompted your decision to study in Japan?

It was the fact that Professor Shaigan, who had been my instructor in Iran, studied under Professor Toshihiko Izutsu.

I began practicing karate at the age of 4, and grew fond of Japanese culture through such things as kendo, aikido and iaido.

Professor Shaigan frequently taught about "The Philosophy of Professor Izutsu," giving me even deeper desire to study in Japan, so I decided to go to school in Japan. 

Q.Why did you select Toyo University out of all the many schools in Japan?

There are two reasons.

First is the fact that, since the University's founding, Toyo University has placed great importance on philosophy under the belief that "The Basis of All Learning Lies in Philosophy."
I believed that it was here that I would be able to study philosophy more deeply.

The other is the fact that Professor Shin Nagai is here. Professor Nagai has conducted detailed research into phenomenology and Eastern thought, and has deep ideas on the subjects. His thinking had resonated with me even before then. I had a strong desire to study more deeply under his guidance, so I chose the Graduate School here at Toyo University. 

Q.What appeals to you about the Graduate School?

I became involved with TOYO University in 2012 when I worked as a visiting research associate at the University's International Research Center for Philosophy. I was assisting with the symposium "Towards the Construction of a Philosophy of Coexistence: A Dialogue with Iran-Islam" that was held at Toyo University. 

When I enrolled in the Graduate School here in 2013, I quit my job as a visiting research associate, but in 2013 and 2014 I was involved in the activities of the International Research Center for Philosophy that were conducted in preparation for a symposium with Iran and a variety of other symposia and conferences.

I believe that these things were possible specifically because they were here at Toyo Univerisity, and I feel that I was able to have good experiences.


Q.Please describe your current research topics and the content of lectures.

My research theme is on "the significance of comparative philosophy in the thinking of Toshihiko Izutsu."

Specifically, I am conducting research on the "comparative philosophy of Toshihiko Izutsu."

The "comparative philosophy of Toshihiko Izutsu" was influenced by the work of French philosopher and Isramic studies scholar Henry Corbin. Because of that, I am able to read Corbin's work while comparing it with "the philosophy of Toshihiko Izutsu," thanks to my advisor, Professor Nagai. 


A presentation at a symposium


A presentation in Iran, his home country

Q.What kinds of scholarships did you receive?

For one year beginning in 2013, I was the recipient of the Masajuro Shiokawa Scholarship (¥100,000 per month), and from October 2014 to March 2015, I received the Government Scholarship for International Student.

Because Toyo University is selected for the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) 's "Top Global University Project" over next 10 years, this scholarship is open to graduate international students who are privately funded and studying at Toyo University.

Q.How do you make ends meet?

I didn't have a scholarship until 2013, so I worked part-time.

My Iranian friends who live in Japan as well as my Japanese friends, really helped me.  

Q.Please describe your weekly schedule.

On Wednesday, I have "Research Guidance for Doctoral Dissertation in Philosophy IV," taught by Professor Nagai.

Other than that, I'm preparing and writing my dissertation.  Once a week, I also go to an iaido training hall.  

Q.What do you plan to do after you complete your degree?

I have a variety of dreams.

If possible, I would like to revive the philosophical relationship between Iran and Japan. Unfortunately, the philosophical relationship between Iran and Japan has essentially disappeared since the Iranian Revolution.

In order to newly regenerate the relationship, I would like to utilize the "thinking of Toshihiko Izutsu" in conferences and symposia, etc.


Q.What message do you have for students who are aiming to study at Toyo University?

Toyo University conducts educational and research activities under a basic policy of "Philosophy Education", "Globalization," and "Career Preparation."  In particular, the key phrase at Toyo University is "Have a philosophical mind." This is based on the University's Founding Spirit of learning philosophy.

If there is a professor or area in which you are interested, please come to Toyo University.

And also please give the Student Cafeteria a try. Toyo University's Student Cafeteria has a diverse menu. Items are reasonably priced and delicious.

My top recommendation is the Italian restaurant in the basement of Building 6.

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