Japanese Philosophy

Oxford Bibliographies in Philosophy (2018)
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Japanese philosophy can be viewed as consisting of three historical phases. In the first and classical phase, theoretical speculation in Japan is usually seen as a variation of East Asian intellectual tradition, which basically consists of Confucianism and Sinicized Buddhism. Some thinkers nevertheless start to depart from this framework by drawing either on the indigenous culture or on the knowledge of occidental civilization, which eventually leads to the Westernization of Japanese society. In the second, or modern, phase of Japanese philosophy, there arises a theoretical task to synthesize Eastern and Western frameworks, and many pioneering works of modern East Asian philosophy are produced in the first half of the 20th century. The third and contemporary phase of Japanese philosophy spans from the postwar reconstruction of Japan to the present, when eminent researchers lead philosophical studies under the framework either of analytic or continental context. Recent philosophical research in Japan is increasingly getting free from such academic frameworks, producing some remarkable results-- although most of these contemporary works remain unknown overseas.



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Tomomi Asakura
University of Tokyo

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