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  3. 1st Unit : 6th Study Group Session

1st Unit : 6th Study Group Session

“Inoue Enryo, the founder who established Chinese philosophy as an academic discipline.”


 Sato Masayuki (Associate Professor at National Taiwan University) was invited to give a lecture at the 1st Unit Session at the Toyo University Hakusan Campus (Building 9, Meeting Room 4), under the theme “Inoue Enryo, the founder who established Chinese philosophy as an academic discipline.”

  While conventional studies of Inoue Enryo centered on the reception of Western philosophy and modernization of Buddhism, Prof. Sato, in his lecture, focused on the impact of Chinese philosophy on Enryo and Enryo’s contribution to the establishment of Chinese philosophy as an academic discipline.

  Enryo, as a student at the University of Tokyo, took courses in the history of Eastern philosophy from Inoue Tetsujiro, Chinese philosophy from Shimada Jurei, and Chinese literature from Nakamura Masanao. In his graduation thesis “Doku Junshi(Reading the Xunzi),” the same title as Ogyu Sorai’s work, which marked the first full-fledged commentary on the Book of Xunzi(in Japanese “Junshi”) in Japan, Enryo tried to elucidate the thought of Xunzi literally byphilosophicalperspective. He also contributed papers on Chinese philosophy to journals, including Toyo Gakugei Zasshi. The reasons Enryo selected the Xunzias the theme for his graduation thesis were the classes he took, the profound insight he had acquired by reading the Book of Xunzi, his fascination with Xunzi’s scientific and empirical way of thinking, and his pride in the level of studies on the Xunziin Japan at the time.

  The inference can be made that by writing the Reading Xunzi,Enryo learned how to view the world in an appropriate manner based on empirical cognition and the need to cultivate the mind by learning the proprieties. Enryo leveraged this knowledge in his future activities in spectrology and in the lifelong moral learning movement. Moreover, in the article on Chinese philosophy entitled “Discussion of Heaven,” Enryo gained suggestions as to how to approach the metaphysical substance of each existing being.

 While the inference can be made that Chinese philosophy had a great impact on Enryo’s intellectual development, Enryo played an important role in establishing Chinese philosophy as an academic discipline. Inoue Enryo and Inoue Tetsujiro discussed classical Chinese thought from the philosophical point of view. Such an approach was a pioneering attempt to explore Chinese philosophy as a new academic discipline. Prof. Sato emphasized the future publication of Enryo’s work related to Chinese philosophy in an effort to elucidate the relationship between Chinese philosophy and Inoue Enryo. After the lecture, a Q&A session was held, where views and opinions were exchanged. The symposium ended successfully as it shed new light on the thoughts of Inoue Enryo.