Department of Japanese Philosophy, Kyoto Universit

Department of Japanese Philosophy, Kyoto University, Graduate School of Letters, Japan


Although some Japanese universities have a department or major titled ‘History of Japanese Thought,’ ours is the only department to be called Japanese Philosophy. Unlike the others, whose primary concern is typically the history of Japanese thought from ancient times through the Middle Ages and into early modern times, our emphasis is on studying how philosophy formed and developed in post-Meiji Japan. What did Japanese thinkers discern when they encountered Western thought and philosophy from the Meiji period onward? Which issues concerned them? How did they create their own philosophy in confronting these issues? It is primarily these processes that we delve into.

Our work aims to consider these processes in historical perspective, as well as in relation to the challenges currently faced by us and our times. To accomplish this, however, we believe that it is essential to positively engage in dialogue with foreign ideas and philosophies and contemplate them in an open atmosphere, rather than confining ourselves within the framework of "Japan."

The department played the central role in the founding of the Forum of Japanese Philosophy, which organizes seminars and international symposia collaborating with scholars of Japanese philosophy in Japan and abroad, for the development of the study of Japanese philosophy and networking with scholars in the field. The forum also publishes the journal Nihon no tetsugaku (Japanese Philosophy) with Showado Press, and the department bulletin, Nihon tetsugakushi kenky? (Studies in Japanese Philosophy).


—Mayuko Uehara, Kyoto University, Japan