Nishida Philosophy Association Overview
Nishida Philosophy, having been passed down through several generations of readers, has more recently seen a rapid increase in the number of researchers and works devoted to it, both domestically in Japan as well as in various countries abroad. In the light of this increase in domestic and international attention, Nishida Philosophy is revealing itself to be a treasure trove of new possibilities in the context of modern philosophical thought. Furthermore, Nishida Philosophy is gaining attention and exerting influence not only in such fields as religious studies and ethics, which is to be expected, but also in such disparate fields as psychiatry, aesthetics/fine arts studies, and architecture. With the depth and breadth of research currently being done on Nishida Philosophy, we can expect ever more fruitful results in the future.
The Selected Works of Nishida Kitarō (Nishida Kitarō Senshū) published by Tōeisha was widely well-received . Furthermore, the new edition of the Complete Works of Nishida Kitarō (Nishida Kitarō Zenshū) is currently being published by Iwanami Shoten. New opportunities for research on Nishida Philosophy will certainly come about as a result of these sources.
It should be noted that interest in the person as well as the thought of Nishida, beyond the scope of academic research in the narrow sense, has been on the rise among educated non-academics, that is to say, among intellectuals in the broad sense. In 2002, the Ishikawa Nishida Kitaro Museum of Philosophy was opened in Nishida’s place of birth, the town of Unoke in Ishikawa prefecture. This place has become a meeting spot for those with an interest in Nishida and his philosophy. Since February 2003, over 36,000 visitors have entered the museum.
Coincidently and fortuitously, in September of 2011 the German city of Messkirch, which has been the sister city of Unoke since 1985, opened the Martin Heidegger Museum. We may take this as a sign that these two representatives of Eastern and Western thought in the 20th century can be expected to open up new possibilities in the 21st century as well.
It is in this context that we keenly felt the need for a comprehensive organization to promote research and exchange regarding Nishida Philosophy, and, therefore, have established the Nishida Philosophy Association.
We do not wish for this Association to be narrowly restricted to academic scholars of philosophy. We would like for it to be a place for international exchange among all those who have an interest in Nishida Philosophy, and for it to become a base for the search for a new way of thinking that is capable of responding to the needs of this era.
—Nishida Philosophy Association Board of Directors
February 1, 2003
Year of Establishment
Establishment: February 1, 2003
Organization of Association Officers
(5th Period, 2015-2017, Alphabetical Order, Honorific Titles Omitted)
AKITOMI Katsuya, ASAMI Yō, Brett DAVIS, Rolf ELBERFELD, Enrico FONGARO, ITABASHI Yūjin, KETA Masako, KOSAKA Kunitsugu, Wing Keung LAM, MATSUMARU Hisao, MIZUNO Tomoharu, MITOBE Hitoshi, MORI Tetsurō, ŌKUMA Gen, ŌHASHI Ryōsuke, SAITŌ Tanako, TANAKA Kyūbun, TANAKA Yū, UEDA Shizuteru, UEHARA Mayuko, YONEYAMA Yū
TANAKA Kyūbun (Chief Editor), MIZUNO Tomoharu (Associate Editor) KAZASHI Nobuo, MINE Hideki, ŌKUMA Gen
ISHII Samoa, ITABASHI Yūjin, MATSUMOTO Naoki, MIZUNO Tomoharu, MITOBE Hitoshi, ŌKUMA Gen, ŌTA Hironobu, NAKAJIMA Yūta, SHIRAI Masato, SUGIMOTO Kōichi,
MINE Hideki, TSUKIYAMA Shūdo
*For more information on staff in the Nishida Philosophy Association, please reference article 7 of the association prospectus.
The greatest characteristic of the Nishida Philosophy Association is that, in order to respond to increasing interest in Nishida, we have opened ourselves to many laypersons without limiting ourselves to specialist researchers in a narrow sense. Indeed, our annual conference sees a great number of participating members without taking into account whether they are specialists or not. However, on the morning of the first day of our annual conference, we offer a corner for laypersons (Reading Group). We ask that you consult the 4th section of our prospectus for more information on the difference between A, B and C Membership types. However, please keep in mind that this differentiation is not related to whether or not one is a specialist.
Greeting from the President
Inaugural Greeting from the President – AKITOMI Katsuya
It is on this occasion that I will assume the position of fourth president of Nishida Philosophy Association. I would like to once again solemnly accept the gravity of the task left to me by Professor UEDA Shizuteru, Professor ŌHASHI Ryōsuke and Professor MATSUMARU Hisao. While I am still inexperienced and have much to learn I will put forth my best effort to respond to expectations of the members who voted me to director, as well as the directors who nominated me at the board of directors. I thank you in advance for your guidance.
As previous presidents have emphasized as well, the two biggest characteristics of the Nishida Philosophy Association are that it is open to non-specialist researchers and that there are many researchers who both come from foreign countries or are living overseas. These characteristics come from both the fact that, regardless of how difficult Nishida can be to understand, the appeal of his living form greatly resonates in our hearts and that, furthermore, the thought born of this person Nishida managed to gain a worldwide universality as the Japan’s first authentic philosophy while still maintaining its Japanese or Eastern nature. Ever since the association was established 13 years ago, these two characteristics have been treated with great care as the pillars of the association and are achieved in the management of the annual association.
However, we cannot take these pillars for granted. Regarding the former, while using specialist academic research as a base, we must strive to maintain the effort needed to encourage interaction with laypersons as well as the originality needed to bring back the results of our research to society. Regarding the latter, the effort to broaden our interaction with members who are from foreign countries as well as association members living abroad and, furthermore, respond to their needs as necessary. Particularly, in response to the worldwide expansion of Nishida Philosophy, I would like to begin with the particularly urgent need to maintain an internet environment for the sake of realizing more association activities.
On the other hand, if we look to the outside, we see that every nook and cranny of society has been systematized to prioritize economic efficiency. We also see that education has also seen a stronger demand for practical studies which produce instant results. It would seem as though the significance of philosophy’s existence has been forgotten. Yet, within movements such as that pertaining to debates and legal discussions regarding the reactivation of nuclear power after the tragedy of March 11, 2011, and national security bills, it would seem as though we have once again began to look at where it is we are heading and, in order to do that, we have slowly but surely started to reconsider where it is we are standing. We have slowly began to realize the importance of “thinking” about the present and future while learning from the history of the past. Within that background, what can philosophy do and, furthermore, what we can ask of philosophy, is something that we all must consider as individuals at least once. Furthermore, I believe that Nishida Philosophy will give us a definite possibility of accomplishing this. This year, it will have been seventy years since both Nishida’s passing away as well as the end of World War II. Can we not say that once again facing with Nishida’s thought, which continued to question the reality of the world even as Nishida himself despaired for the future of wartime Japan, could not once again not provide a new meaning to us? Now that we have entered the second decade since the association’s establishment, I would like to end this greeting by earnestly reconsidering the words which adorn the end of our prospectus, “to become the base for the search for new thought which is capable of responding to the needs of this era”.