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2nd Annual Conference

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2nd Annual Conference

“Inoue Enryo and Modern Japan”

2nd Annual Conference photo01The 2nd Annual Meeting of the International Association for Inoue Enryo Research about “Inoue Enryo and Modern Japan” was held on September 16, 2013, in the 125th Anniversary Hall of Toyo University (Hakusan Campus). Despite the bad weather due to a typhoon, the meeting was well attended by nearly 50 people. The participants heard interesting presentations on various topics.

2nd Annual Conference photo02Torano Ryō, a doctoral student at Toyo University, led off the presentations with a talk titled, “What is the Popularization of Philosophy?”. He began by offering Inoue Enryō’s philosophical understanding about the utility of philosophy by “playing the role of a central government among scholarly disciplines” and by benefiting society at large and the human spirit. However, he noted, a tendency in the late Enryō to stress practice and attach less importance to the pursuit of truth. Enryō also promoted a philosophical religion that emulated Buddhism. Torano also pointed to contradictions between Enryō’s late philosophical stance and interpretations of his younger days.

2nd Annual Conference photo03The second presentation was by Kōda Retsu, an adjunct lecturer at Sagami Women’s University. The talk was titled, “The Structure of the 'True Mystery' in Inoue Enryō's Philosophy. Kōda compared the framework expressed in Enryō’s philosophical writings with the one in his "Lectures on Mystery Studies" in order to clarify the meaning of the True Mystery. Kōda noted three basic stances in philosophy—materialism, idealism, and rationalism—and also three in Buddhism—those of the Kusha (materialist), Hossō (idealist), and Tendai (rationalist) sects. Enryō's Mystery Studies likewise had three frameworks: “provisional mystery” representing the relative, “false mystery” representing humans, and “true mystery” representing the Absolute. Having explicated the dynamic links among these structures, Kōda then identified three significant aspects of shinkai: (1) it is a type of yōkai (mystery, marvel, phantom, monster), (2) it is the apogee of emotion and knowledge in the quest for wonder, and (3) it represents direct knowledge of how things are.  

2nd Annual Conference photo04The third presentation was by Professor Agustín Jacinto Zavala from Mexico’s El Colegio de Michoacán on the subject of "Area Training in Inoue Enryo's Educational Ideals and Mexican education: Regional Differences and General Education."  Jacinto offered an overview of Enryō's views on education, and indicated those points from which Mexican public education could learn. Enryō stressed "natural education" alongside learning at home, at school, and in society. Education in Mexico, on the other hand, generally is broken down into nine periods, but in none of them is any notice given to such natural education. While mindful of both the cultural differences and the cross-cultural connections, Jacinto concluded that there are many things to learn from Enryō's ideas.

2nd Annual Conference photo05Following a break, Professor Emeritus Hirata Toshihiro of Yamagata University gave the fourth presentation titled, “Inoue Enryo's Transmodernism: Japanese Culture and the Three Tōdais.” The three Tōdais in Hirata’s title refer to the Tōdai temple, representing the ancient legal system controlled by a patrimonial aristocracy; the University of Tokyo, representing a government-dominated constitutional system controlled by an academic elite; and Tōyō University, representing a civil  system in an age of post-elite democracy controlled by the general public. Hirata also compared Enryō with Karl Jaspers as he outlined various contributions to a history of philosophy including both East and West.

2nd Annual Conference photo06The final presentation was made by Professor William Bodiford of the University of California, Los Angeles. Titled “Inoue Enryo in Retirement: Philosophy as Spiritual Cultivation" Bodiford’s talk focused on Enryō’s life after he had left the Philosophy Academy and had quit his position as the head of Keihoku Middle School. Following sketches of Enryō’s graduation thesis, the curriculum at the Philosophy Academy, and the Philosophy Academy Incident, Bodiford launched into a detailed discussion of Enryō’s post-retirement moral education movement and the Temple Garden of Philosophy. He offered a variety of perspectives about Temple Garden of Philosophy in particular its environment, the ceremonies performed there, and its book collection. Bodiford placed special emphasis on how the park's book collection represented a precious legacy for cultural research on pre-Meiji Japan. He expressed the hope that its value as a repository will be properly recognized.

2nd Annual Conference photo07Following the research presentations, Professor Emeritus John Maraldo of the University of North Florida delivered a special lecture on “Early Japanese Appropriation of Western Philosophy.” Maraldo argued that the appropriation of western philosophy in Japan came about through a transformation of the Japanese language. He began his talk with Fukuzawa Yukichi’s endeavors, highlighting the novelty and difficulty of the vocabulary he and his fellow Enlightenment scholars encountered in their translations of Western thought. Maraldo also examined the role played by the philosophers Inoue Tetsujirō and Inoue Enryō. Tetsujirō considered the Wang Yang-ming School, the Zhu Xi School, and the Ancient Learning School of Confucian classics as schools of Japanese philosophy (tetsugaku). As his own position Tetsujirō sought to integrate Eastern and Western philosophy and advocated an ontology of phenomenal reality. Perhaps more significant in the long run were the philosophical dictionaries he edited. Enryō, on the other hand, argued that much of Buddhism should be considered as  philosophy. He advocated a philosophy of mutual containment and inclusion. The ultimate truth was to be found in the conversion and permeation of opposites. Enryō’s philosophy may not be sufficiently backed by logical arguments, but his “genuine philosophy” (junsei tetsugaku) or theoretical metaphysics is significant as complement to the practical purposes of philosophical education. Maraldo also noted that Enryō was the first person to expand metaphysics and treat such individuals as Lao-zi, Zhuang-zi, Dōgen, and Shinran as philosophers. Although Tetsujirō’s and Enryō’s inclusion of Asian sources in the history of philosophy is relatively rare among academic philosophers in contemporary Japan, both Inoues helped to create the modern Japanese philosophical terminology and paved the way for later developments in their homeland.

The 2nd Annual Conference photo08closing address of the very fruitful conference was given at about 18 pm by Prof. Murakami Katsuzo, Director of the International Research Center for Philosophy at Toyo University.

IAIR 2nd Annual Meeting 2013 Program 

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