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1st Unit : 4th Study Group Session

1st Unit : 4th Study Group Session

Keiji Higashi and Enryo Inoue

The 4th Study Meeting, the 1st Unit

The 1st Unit held its 4th study meeting at the 2nd Conference Room, Hakusan Campus, Toyo University on December 21. Researcher Kouhei Yoshida gave a presentation titled “Keiji Higashi and Enryo Inoue.” Researcher Yoshida pointed out the importance of examining Meiji thoughts from the tradition of confucianism.

Thinkers active in the Meiji era were born in the late Edo period. Partly because Buddhist philosophy had a low profile then, their philosphical backbones rested in Confucianism. Therefore, to understand thoughts and philosophy in the Meiji era, the influence of confucianism is unneglectible. Confucianism played also a significant role for Japan’s acceptance of Western thoughts. For example, the fact that Chushu Mishima accepted John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarianism based on the Confucian theory of the union of morality and economy, or provided the vocabulary to explain Christianity indicates the significance of their roles in the acceptance of Western thoughts. And often, the translations of Western vocabulary coined in Japan using Chinese characters were accepted also in China: the international links through Chinese books were also important.

In Testugaku Issekiwa, Enryo’s disciples debate over a topic but the arguments on both sides get stuck, then finally Master Enryo passes the judgement. At this time, Master Enryo advocates “Enryo no taido” (Enryo’s great path) that is biased toward neither argument of his disciples. The “Enryo no taido” represents the dynamism of reality which goes on moving, while involving both discrimination and indiscrimination as “ a great living being.” On the other hand, the pure experience discussed by Kitaro Nishida in Zen no Kenkyu also represents the dynamism of reality which goes on moving containing both unity and contradiction. In a sense that both Inoue and Nishida dealt with dynamism that goes on moving, having two sides of singularity and plurarity, discrimination and indiscrimination, unity and contracidtion or coflict, they are considered to belong to the same school of philosophy.

The 4th Study Meeting, the 1st Unit

The presentation by Researcher Yoshida citing many episodes about Cofucianists and the questions and discussions followed demonstrated that the rich tradition nurtured philosophical thoughts: it is not that philosphy began out of blue as imported from the West. At the same time, it is also true that the introduction of Western philosophy brought those themes that had not been central in Buddhism or Cofucianism to the surface, as illusrated by the fact that the fundamental theme of Kitaro Nishida’s philosophy was “reality.” When we deal with philosophy in the Meiji era, we are required to keep within our sight both the continuiuity and discontinuity from tradition. The meeting produced many fruits thanks to the proposition of an interesting topic and vigorous discussions.