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Cont Philos Rev (2010) 42:511553 DOI 10.

1007/s11007-009-9119-8

Nishida on Heidegger
Curtis A. Rigsby

Published online: 29 January 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Abstract Heidegger and East-Asian thought have traditionally been strongly correlated. However, although still largely unrecognized, signicant differences between the political and metaphysical stance of Heidegger and his perceived counterparts in East-Asia most certainly exist. One of the most dramatic discontinuities between East-Asian thought and Heidegger is revealed through an investigation of Kitaro Nishidas own vigorous criticism of Heidegger. Ironically, more than one study of Heidegger and East-Asian thought has submitted that Nishida is that representative of East-Asian thought whose philosophy most closely resembles Heideggerian thought. In words that then and now resound discordantly within the enshrined, established view of Heideggers relationship to East-Asian
* Note the superscript system I have devised to aid in translation. The precision of Japanese philosophical vocabulary does not always translate easily into English. One English term with multiple meanings, is often expressible by two or more Japanese terms with exactly one meaning each. I have added superscripts to clarify the original Japanese term where appropriate, as follows: [EXPERIENCE] experience (generic) []; experiencet (intensied with possible bodily manifestation) []. [HISTORY] historyg (as in the theological history of faith, cf Bultmannian theology) (Geschichte); historyh (as in the factual history discernible by science) (Historie). [IDEALISM] idealismr (versus realism) []; idealismb (versus materialism/realism) []; idealismm (versus materialism) []; idealismp or optimism (versus pessimism) []. [MATTER] materialismm []; matterh (as opposed to form) []. [OBJECT] objecte (epistemological) []; objectx (existential) []; object (determinate, standing against) []. [REAL] real (generic) []; realj (especially, philosophically, as a substance) []. [SPIRIT] spiritg (as in German Geist) []; spiritr (as animating force) []. [SUBJECT] subjecte (epistemological) []; subjectx (existential, active) [ ]; subjectg (grammatical-logical) []; subject matter []; all translations, unless otherwise indicated, are the authors. C. A. Rigsby (&) Philosophy Department of Saint Lawrence University, Canton, NY, USA e-mail: curtisrigsby@yahoo.com C. A. Rigsby Japan Committee of the Society of Christian Philosophers (International) URL: http://www.societyofchristianphilosophers.com/

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thought, Nishida stated uninhibitedly his own view of Heidegger in the noteworthy statement: Heidegger is not worth your time Hedoes not recognize that which is indispensible and decisive, namely, God. This present study lays out for the rst time in English, the signicant differences between the metaphysical and political stances of Nishida and Heidegger, Nishidas own critique of Heidegger, and Heideggers own rather dismal assessment of non-Western philosophy, all of which demonstrate a remarkable, hitherto unrecognized discontinuity between Heidegger and East-Asian thought. Keywords Heidegger Nishida Kyoto School Nothingness God Karl Barth Ethnocentrism Nazism East-Asian philosophy Comparative philosophy

1 Introduction In the still emerging encounter between Heideggerian philosophy, Japanese thinkers, and Western comparative thought, the general consensus has traditionally been that a strong continuity exists between Heidegger and East-Asian thought. as 1987 book Even in the wake of the critical shock waves generated by Victor Far Heidegger and Nazism, and in the consequent scrutiny focused on the political thought of the Kyoto School of Modern Japanese philosophy in studies such as the 1994 anthology Rude Awakenings, the perceived continuity between Heidegger and East-Asian thought continues to persist. However, although still largely unrecognized, signicant differences between the political and metaphysical stance of Heidegger and his perceived counterparts in East-Asia, most certainly exist. One of the most dramatic discontinuities between East-Asian thought and Heidegger is revealed through an investigation of Kitaro Nishidas own vigorous criticism of Heidegger. Ironically, more than one study of Heidegger and East-Asian thought has submitted that Nishida is that representative of East-Asian thought whose philosophy most closely resembles Heideggerian thought. In words that then and now resound discordantly within the enshrined, established view of Heideggers relationship to East-Asian thought, Nishida stated uninhibitedly his own view of Heidegger in the noteworthy statement: Heidegger is not worth your time.1 This statement was a strong impetus for Nishidas student, Katsumi Takizawa, to rst reevaluate Heideggerian philosophy, and then the Nishida Philosophy itself, from

Takizawa recorded this statement three times, in TKC 1:441, TKC 2:5212, and Inquiring of Religion (1976), p. 87, (the last source being reprinted in Sakaguchis Katsumi Takizawa Timline p. 164). Cf endnote in [3], just before [3.1], for full statement. *TKC = The Collected Works of Katsumi Takizawa [] (abbreviated TKC). (1971 1975) Kyoto: Ho zo kan [] (all except the rst printing of vol. 1, by So gensha): vol. 1 (by So gensha, 1971), vol. 4, 5, 7 (1973), vol. 3, 6, 8, 9, 10 (1974), vol. 1 (originally publ. 1971 by So gensha but republished by Ho zo in 1975), 2 (1975). *Inquiring of Religion [] (rst ed, 1976). Tokyo: Sanichi Shobo []. *Sakaguchi, Hiroshi [], ed. (1989) Katsumi Takizawa: Timeline of Selected Works [: ]. Fukuoka: So gensha [].

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the standpoint that Nishida claimed Heidegger fatally lacked, namelythe standpoint which recognizes the indispensable and decisive reality of God.2

2 Asian thought & enthusiasm for Heidegger From the beginning of Heideggers career up until the present, the Japanese have shown an enthusiasm for his thought, matched by a corresponding enthusiasm in Western comparative studies of Heidegger and East-Asian thought, and modern Japanese Philosophy in particular. Heidegger himself appears to have exhibited a marked appreciation of East-Asian thought and culture. 2.1 Heideggers enthusiasm for Asia In a letter to the organizers of the 1969 conference in Hawaii, Heidegger encouraged hopes that his philosophy may stimulate a deeper understanding and fruitful encounter between East and West, when he wrote: Again and again it has seemed urgent to me that a dialogue take place with the thinkers of what is to us the Eastern world.3 Heidegger himself had already dialogued at length with various Japanese thinkers, including Nishidas student, Takizawa, in 1965.4 In 1954, Heidegger issued the essay A Dialogue on Language between a Japanese and an Inquirer, which is a ctional reconstruction of a real discussion he had in the same year with Tomio Tezuka, a Japanese scholar of German literature from Tokyo University. In this 1954 essay, Heidegger references Nishida, Hajime Tanabe, and especially Shu zo Kuki,5 and recalls fondly various stimulating encounters Heidegger had with Japanese thinkers. In this essay, which is written in the form of a dialogue between Heidegger and a Japanese interlocutor, Heidegger exhibits an interest in Japanese culture, and ponderously considers the prospects for intercultural dialogue. He undertakes philosophically motivated denitions of the Japanese words for chic (iki []) and word/language (kotoba []).6 He claims that his essay What is Metaphysics? and its leitmotif of Nothing (das Nichts) was understood immediately by the Japanese because of their sensitivity to East-Asian Emptiness,7
2 3

ibid.

Philosophy East and West, vol. 20, No. 3, July, 1970, p. 221; Parkes, Heidegger and Asian Thought, p. 7. *Heidegger, (1970) 1969 letter printed in Introduction to the Symposium and Reading of a Letter from Martin Heidegger, by Wineld E. Nagley, in Philosophy East and West, vol. 20, no. 3, July *Parkes, Graham, ed. (1987) Heidegger and Asian Thought. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. Sakaguchi, Timeline, p. 148. Heidegger, in On the Way to Language, references Nishida (p. 1), Tanabe (p. 5, 37), and Kuki (throughout A Dialogue on Language). *Heidegger (1971b). On the Way to Language. [Grn: Unterwegs zur Sprache (1959)] as translated by Peter D. Hertz. New York: Harper & Row. Heidegger, ibid, p. 43ff. Heidegger, ibid, p. 19. Cf also Parkes in May, p. 98.

4 5

6 7

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and further claims that the Japanese have an innate understanding regarding the reserve which respects the mystery of language, and which is necessary to prevent unwarranted conceptualization.8 Heidegger praises his Japanese dialogue companion, stating: you are nearer to the reality of language than all our [European] concepts.9 Heidegger even said of D. T. Suzukis work: If I understand this man correctly, this is what I have been trying to say in all my writings.10 Noting Heideggers considerable interest in Asian thought,11 Graham Parkes claims that the extent of his knowledge of Asian philosophy is not yet widely appreciated.12 Parkes goes so far as to suggest that Heideggers notions of Nothing and death correspond closely to the philosophy of modern Japanese thought, even warranting the possibility that Heidegger himself was inuenced by the so-called Kyoto School which formed around Nishidas thought.13 Indeed, Heidegger did maintain a correspondence with Nishidas colleague D. T. Suzuki, and Nishidas student Keiji Nishitani, a correspondence wherein Heidegger pursued an inquiry into East Asian thought.14 Nishitani was convinced that Heidegger pursued this inquiry for the purpose of uncovering what the history of metaphysics has concealed, as Nishitani stated in 1976 on the occasion of Heideggers death: With respect to metaphysics Heidegger wanted to go a step further and inquire into what lies beneath it. It became clear that this attempt made direct contact

Footnote 7 continued *Parkes, Graham (1996) Rising Sun over Black Forest, in Reinhard May (ed.), Heideggers Hidden Sources: Some East Asian Inuences on His Work. London: Routledge (Mays work was rst published in 1989 in German. The 1996 publication was translated with a complementary essay, by Graham Parkes). Routledge, USA: Canada.
8 9 10

Heidegger, ibid, p. 50. Heidegger, ibid, p. 27.

William Barrett, p. xi in Zen for the West, the Introduction to Zen Buddhism: Selected Writings, by Daisetz T. Suzuki. Barretts entire statement is as follows: A German friend of Heidegger told me that one day when he visited Heidegger he found him reading one of Suzukis books; If I understand this man correctly, Heidegger remarked, this is what I have been trying to say in all my writings. This remark may be the slightly exaggerated enthusiasm of a man under the impact of a book in which he recognizes some of his own thoughts; certainly Heideggers philosophy in its tone and temper and sources is Western to its core, and there is much in him that is not in Zen, but also very much more in Zen that is not in Heidegger; and yet the points of correspondence between the two, despite their disparate sources, are startling enough. For what, after all, is Heideggers nal message but that Western philosophy is a great error, the result of the dichotomizing intellect that has cut man off from unity with Being itself and from his own Being. *Barrett, William (1956) Zen for the West in the Introduction (pp. iiixx) of Zen Buddhism: Selected Writings, by Daisetz T. Suzuki. New York: Doubleday Anchor Books.
11 12 13 14

Parkes, p. 6. Parkes, p. 5. Parkes in May, Heideggers Hidden Sources, p. 81. Parkes in May, pp. 99102.

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with Eastern insights, such as those of Laozi, Zhuangzi, and Zen Buddhism. For this reason Heidegger used to question me about Zen Buddhism.15 In regards to Heideggers more general interests in East-Asian thought, it should be noted that in 1946 he began a translation of Laozis Daodejing with the Chinese Christian thinker Paul Shih-yi Hsiao. Parkes claims that such encounters by Heidegger with Laozi and Zhuangzi inuenced both the style and content of Heideggers post Being and Time thought, so as to move toward a greater appreciation of the poetic.16 2.2 Japanese enthusiasm for Heidegger Parkes has also noted that: Heideggers interest in Asian thought has generated considerable reciprocal interest in his work on the part of the Oriental philosophical world.17 Indeed, Japanese enthusiasm for Heideggers thought has roots as early as the 1920s. Kyoto School associates Hajime Tanabewho was personally tutored by Heideggerand Kiyoshi Miki, had interacted with the young Heidegger in Germany in 1923, and soon after began to comment about his thought in their own writings. Because the last page or two of Heideggers summer lecture, Ontology: Hermeneutics of Facticity, were lost, for 65 years, the sole source for Heideggers rst words on the topic of death were Tanabes lecture notes.18 Indeed, Tanabes October 1924 A New Turn in Phenomenology19 is the rst substantial commentary on Heideggers thought in any language. Kitaro Nishida himself immediately commented on Tanabes article, stating in an October 2, 1924 letter to Tanabe that Heidegger will contribute to cultural studies from the phenomenological standpoint.20 The rst translation of Heideggers work in Japanese, What is Metpaphysics?, appeared in 1930, just one year after its publication in Germany.21 Miki Kiyoshi published essays on Heidegger in 1930 and
Nishitani, Keiji. The Deep Sense of Crisis in Contemporary Culture [], hl fu r die Krise der Yomiuri Shinbun 27 May 1976; trnsl. By Elmar Weinbayr as Ein tiefes Gefu modernen Zivilisation, in Buchners Japan und Heidegger, pp. 1934. Translated into English and quoted by Parkes, in May, p. 101. *Buchner, Hartmut, ed (1989) Japan und Heidegger. Messkirch: Jan Thorbecke Verlag Sigmaringen.
15 16 17 18 19 20

Parkes in May, p. 98. Parkes, p. 6. Parkes in May, p. 82. [] in Shiso [] 36 Oct 1924; THZ 4:1724.

NKZ 19:582, letter #2470, October 2, 1927. As quoted in Yusa, p. 198, footnote 38. Nishida received from his student Risaku Mutai, a copy of Heideggers Being and Time in 1927, the same year as its publication in Germany (NKZ 18:327, letter #447 to Risaku Mutai (in Freiburg), June 17, 1927; cf also NKZ 19:600, letter #2516 to Hajime Tanabe, June 20, 1927). *NKZ = Nishida, Kitaro (1965) The Complete Works of Kitaro Nishida [] (abbreviated NKZ). Iwanami Shotenkan [].
21 Seinosuke Yuasa, who studied with Heidegger in 1929, translated Heideggers What is Metaphysics? for publication in Japan in 1930.

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1933.22 Shu Kuki, who had interacted with Heidegger in 1926 and 1927, and who zo was the rst to introduce Jean-Paul SartreKukis French tutor at the time23to Heideggers thought, released the 1933 work, Heideggers Philosophy, which was the rst book length work on Heideggers philosophy in any language. In the same year, Tanabe summed up the thoughts of many in the Japanese intellectual community when he stated: Among contemporary German philosophers, no one has recently attracted greater attention in Japan than Martin Heidegger. In what can only be described as the German equivalent of the Japanese descent from heaven, this comparatively young scholarHeidegger at 44 has just entered his prime was given a post normally reserved for the most senior of academic veterans. Obviously, in these exceptional times, the man is the object of enormous expectations not only at Freiburg but also throughout the German academic community.24 Tetsuro Watsujis Climate, which was soon to be published in 1935, although largely a critique of Heideggers thought, still exhibited its indebtedness to Heideggers brand of phenomenology and etymological speculation. Japanese enthusiasm for Heidegger continued after WWII as well, as was illustrated by the work Is Heidegger a Nihilist?,25 by Kyoto School associate Masaaki Ko saka. More secondary literature on Heidegger has appeared in Japanese than in any other language, including German and French. Between 1939 and 1960, no less than six different translations of Heideggers Being and Time appeared in Japanese.26 Heideggers association with the Kyoto School is especially worthy of note, as he was not only studied carefully by several of its associates, but also developed close relationships with Nishidas close friend D. T. Suzuki, and with Keiji Nishitani, who was the successor to Nishida and Tanabe as the generally accepted head of the Kyoto School.27 Given the deep interest that Heideggers philosophy was causing among Japanese intellectuals, it is not surprising that Heideggers philosophy played a major role in Takizawas own graduation thesis in 1931. Takizawa also wrote a critical essay about Heidegger in 1933, shortly before meeting Nishida in person for the rst time.
22 23

Heideggers Ontology (1930) & Heidegger and the Destiny of Philosophy (1933).

Yuasa in Parkes, p. 158. Cf also Williams, p. 81. * Williams, David (2004) Defending Japans Pacic War. New York: Routledge.

24 Williams translation, p. 181, from THZ 8:39 A Philosophy of Crisis or a Crisis of Philosophy? [ ] *THZ = Tanabe, Hajime (19631964) The Complete Works of Hajime Tanabe () (abbreviated THZ). 15 vols. Tokyo: Chikuma Shobo (). Tanabe, Hajime. 19631964. The Complete Works of Hajime Tanabe () (abbreviated THZ). 15 vols. Tokyo: Chikuma Shobo ().

Piovesana, p. 201, footnote 2. *Piovesana, Gino K., S. J. (1997). Recent Japanese Philosophical Thought 18621996. Richmond: Japan Library (Curzon Press Ltd).
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25

Williams, p. 82. Cf Yuasa in Parkes, and Parkes in May, for a good historical overview.

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It is clear that during this meeting, Heidegger was an important part of the conversation, and also evident that Takizawa himself expected to study with Heidegger, as so many of Nishidas other colleagues and students had already done. 2.3 The Western expectation that Heidegger is a key to Japanese Philosophy Interest in Heideggers thought has not been limited to Japan. Western students of Heidegger and EastWest comparative studies have also looked to Heidegger with great expectations as an auspicious case of a Westerner doing philosophy in a way that is especially commensurate with East-Asian thought. This is attested to by numerous publications,28 and particularly, by a symposium on Heidegger and Eastern Thought that was held at the University of Hawaii in 1969 to celebrate his eightieth birthday.29 The essays presented at this conference were anthologized in 1987, with an introduction which states that although the vocabulary of traditional (Platonic/Christian) metaphysics and contemporary analytic philosophy threaten to subject East-Asian texts to gross distortion, the language of Heideggerian philosophy is especially suited to dealing with the Asian tradition, as Parkes states: The realization has dawned recently, however, that the European Continental traditionand existentialism and phenomenology in particularhas developed philosophical terminologies that are far more in harmony with many strains of Asian thought than are those of Anglo-American philosophy.30 Regarding Heideggers signicance for comparative philosophical studies and East West dialogue, Elmar Weinmayr concurred in 1989, stating: Heideggers thought isone of the few (philosophical) European advances to the place in which East Asia and Europe can creatively encounter one another.31

28 Examples of such publications setting up Heidegger as especially compatible with Eastern philosophy include: *Existential and Ontological Dimensions of Time in Heidegger and Dogen, by Steven Heine, 1985. *Thinking in transition: Nishida Kitaro and Martin Heidegger, Weinmayr, Elmar; Krummel, John W. M.; Berger, Douglas, in Philosophy East and West April, 2005. *Heideggers Hidden Sources by Reinhard May. *Heidegger and Asian Thought, a (1987) anthology ed. by Graham Parkes et al. *Heidegger gures prominently in The Self-Overcoming of Nihilism and Religion and Nothingness by Keiji Nishitani, and also in Zen and Western Thought by Abe Masao. *Japan und Heidegger (in German), (1989) ed. by Buchner von Hartmut. *Japanese publications include: ( ) 2002, ( ;: ). 29 30 31

Parkes, Heidegger and Asian Thought, p. 7. Parkes, p. 6.

Weinmayr, p. 248. *Weinmayr, Elmar (2005). Thinking in Transition: Nishida Kitaro and Martin Heidegger. (translated from the original essay in the anthology, Japan und Heidegger. Sigmaringen: Jan thorbecke Verlag, 1989). Philosophy East & West. Vol. 55, No. 2, April, pp. 232256.

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In investigating how Heideggers wartime thought and political life might clarify the meaning and value of the wartime Kyoto School, David Williams even stated in 2004, that Martin Heidegger is the greatest philosopher of our time.32 2.4 The Heidegger studies crisis & Japanese Philosophy The destinies of Heideggerian philosophy and modern Japanese Philosophy have been closely intertwined, not only for the good, but also for the bad. When Victor as 1987 book Heidegger and Nazism provoked a scandal throughout the world Far of Heidegger scholarshipa scandal aggravated by a study of the same year which exposed the anti-Semitic editorials of deconstructionist critic Paul de Man33the resulting shock waves led to the 1994 anthology, Rude Awakenings, which reevaluated the wartime political ideology and activity of the Kyoto School, of which Nishida was a leading gure. Thus whereas since the 1960s, Western studies of Kyoto School thought and Zen Buddhism had focused primarily on religious and as work led to a new political vantage point in the 1990s, ontological themes, Far whereby previously positive receptions transformed into highly critical assessments. James Heisig and John Maraldo note: If there is one factor we can point to as having brought the political aspect to the fore, it is the case of Martin Heidegger. In the light of new revelations of Heideggers associations with the German Nazi Party, affections for Heideggerian thought underwent a sea of change, and in the process, the consciousness of a generation was awakened as never before to the political consequences of supposedly apolitical philosophers and scholars. It was only a matter of time before this rude awakening was transmitted to those attracted to the philosophy of the Kyoto School, not to mention Zen Buddhism.34 Williams concurs regarding this wave of Japan critique (Grn: Japanokritik), stating: The global debate that had erupted in the 1980s over Heideggers politicsthe as Affairdealt a severe blow to the reputation of Kyoto so-called Far School philosophy in the West.35 as Affair damaged the Western Indeed, Williams notes that The ricochet of the Far commitmentmoral, aesthetic, religious, and metaphysicalto Kyoto thought.36 asIs there anything in Somberly keeping in view the central question of Far
32 33 34

Williams, p. 29. Williams, p. 147.

Heisig and Maraldo, Rude Awakenings, pp. viiviii. Cf Williams p. 144. Cf also Maraldo, The Problem of World Culture, 1995, pp. 183, 189. *Heisig, James and John Maraldo (1995) Rude Awakenings: Zen, the Kyoto School, and the Question of Nationalism. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. *Maraldo, John C. (1995) The Problem of World Culture: Towards an Appropriation of Nishidas Philosophy of Nation and Culture. The Eastern Buddhist. Volume 28, number 2, Autumn, pp. 183197.
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Williams, p. 129. Williams, p. 141.

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Heideggers philosophy that would have made his involvement with the Nazis impossible?Jan Van Bragt, concluded in 1994 that, in a very general sense, Kyoto School philosophy is intrinsically nationalistic, and that further reection upon the ramications of this hitherto unconsidered aspect of modern Japanese thought are in order.37 Williams went onto argue in 2004 that the corresponding as Affair question which has generated the current critical stance against post-Far modern Japanese philosophy is: Is there anything in Nishidas philosophy that would have kept him from becoming an ultra-nationalist?38 Indeed, there is a sense in which Heidegger and the members of the Kyoto School were nationalists who, in the face of opposition and competition, supported the standpoint of their respective politispheres and cultures. Although this has been perceived as a decit by many Western scholars who take a critical stance toward Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, Williams has defended the Kyoto School precisely in terms of its political objectives, calling it an adventure in post-White thinking which dened the future of Asian resurgence.39 The very title of Williams work of 2004Defending Japans Pacic Warresoundingly proclaims this provocative thesis. Williams not only thus portrays the Kyoto School as a corrective to Western ethnocentrism, but also appeals to the commonly perceived continuity between Heidegger and East-Asian thought in order to defend Heidegas Affair, as Williams states: gerian philosophy from the aftershocks of the Far If a German problem (Heideggers politics) has provoked this Japanese problem (the rediscovery of the true politics of the wartime Kyoto School), the reverse may also be true: a Japanese solution may offer a cure for our German problem.40 Thus, in summary, Williams argues on the assumption of a signicant continuity between Heidegger and the Kyoto School, that restoring the reputation of the Kyoto School should correspondingly restore Heideggers reputation. The implication is that if there is no such continuity between Heidegger and the Kyoto School, then the merits of the Kyoto School cannot be appealed to in order to salvage Heideggers reputation.

3 The purported continuity between Heidegger & Nishida Any claim that there is a general continuity of thought between Heidegger and the East-Asian traditions quickly becomes suspect upon investigation of the vast diversity representing East-Asian thought and culture. Even when purported continuities with Heidegger are limited to the Kyoto School alone, the vast differences between its members and associates militate against any purported essential similarity. For example, Shinichi Hisamatsu was a Zen Buddhist, Seiichi Hatano was a Christian, Hajime Tanabe and Masaaki Ko saka were nationalists,
37 38 39 40

Jan Van Bragt, in Heisig & Maraldo, Rude Awakenings, p. 243. Cf Williams, p. 141. Williams, p. 141. Williams, p. 91. Williams, p. 130.

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Kiyoshi Miki and Jun Tosaka were Marxists and Keiji Nishitani was an existentialist of sorts. Given the vast range of options in modern Japanese philosophy, more than one study of Heidegger has narrowed the eld by proposing Nishidas life and thought as exhibiting the strongest parallels with Heidegger. However, some such studies, such as Arthur R. Luthers (1982) comparison between the two thinkers, argue for a parallel between them based partly on an insufciently clear account of Nishidas thought.41 Given a clearer picture, in terms of both political and metaphysical stance, strong discontinuities between the two thinkers can be discerned if the comparison focuses on the early, pre-turn Heidegger. 3.1 Discontinuity between Heidegger & Nishidas political stance In terms of the political stance of the two thinkers, Williams argues that for Nishida, The analogy with Heidegger is close,42 in that both thinkers were objectivists, prioritizing a standpoint transcending the historical creation and political activism of humanism and subjectivism. Thus Williams distances Nishida and Heidegger from subjectivists like Hajime Tanabe and the Kyoto School gang of four Masaaki Ko saka, Shigetaka Suzuki, Iwao Ko yama, and Keiji Nishitaniwho stressed the rational self-mastery and effective agency, which is to say, subjectivityt (shutaisei []),43 of human beings acting as subjectst.44 Not only did Tanabe criticize Nishida for characterizing reality as determined by a transhistorical principle that did not do justice to the actual movements of history,45 but
41 Arthur R. Luthers stimulating comparison of Heidegger and Nishida in terms of an original coming into appearanceimmediately and directly experienced (p. 345, my italics) may characterize Nishida in more phenomenological terms than Nishida himself would have felt comfortable with. Luthers most questionable characterizations of Nishida appear in terms of a conation of Nishidas thought with Buddhism. Luther concludes that for Nishida, all sentient existents are essentially empty or void of ownbeing (p. 353), karma is integral to cosmic processes (p. 354), and as in Hua-yan (Kegon) Buddhism, the dependent coorigination of all factors of existence is inclusive of innite past as well as innite future (p. 354). To my knowledge, Nishida himself neither adopts the concepts nor utilizes the corresponding Buddhist terms, void of own-being (nisvabhava) or karma as integral to his system. However, as Luther correctly notes, self-negation (jiko hitei []) is indeed integral to the Nishida Philosophy, although not necessarily in a Buddhist manner; indeed, Nishidas notion of negation often reminds me more of Hegelian negation and Christian self-denial than Buddhist voidness of own being. Further, although Hajime Tanabes disciple Yoshinori Takeuchi (in 1963) portrayed Nishidas philosophy of time as basically a Hua-yan Buddhist past to future/future to past mutual penetration and Western scholars such as Steve Odin (in 1982) have likewise followed this interpretation, Nishida himself in both 1932 (NKZ 6:183) and 1945 (NKZ 11:375), emphasized the irreversible structure of time. *Luther, Arthur R. 1982. Original Emergence in Heidegger and Nishida. Philosophy Today. Volume XXVI, Number 4/4, Winter. 42 43 44

Williams, p. 145. Williams, p. 68.

Williams, p. 110. The French existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre would dene subjectivism as pointing to the fact that man has a greater dignity than a stone, and as having two meanings, namely, that an individual chooses and makes himself; andthat it is impossible for man to transcend human subjectivity. The Humanism of Existentialism (1945), in the context of Sartres explanation of Atheistic existentialism.
45 Maraldo, The Problem of World Culture: Towards an Appropriation of Nishidas Philosophy of Nation and Culture, p. 185.

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in early Autumn of 1933, Tanabe also similarly criticized Heideggers Freiburg Rectoral address of May 3 of the same year. Thus in 1933, Tanabe claimed critically, that for Heidegger: knowing is a creature born out of powerlessness. This is why the Greeks called it theora Armed only with the awareness of the powerlessness of knowledge, is it possible to establish, positively, with this principle alone, the foundations for a metaphysics of the nation-state?46 That is, Tanabe felt that Heideggers Aristotelean commitment to a philosophical adisengaged and disinterested contemplation methodology of mere theor which during the Middle Ages degenerated into the handmaiden of theology, is incapable of the Platonic invocation to historical awareness and political action. Thus by way of Tanabes critique, both Heidegger and Nishida are united as adherents to political objectivism, which is to say, a standpoint whereby individual human beings are objects grounded in a reality greater than the effective agency of historical production, and are thereby maximally distanced from the political engagement demanded by subjectivism. Tanabes critiques of the objectivism he detected in Heidegger and Nishida thus lend considerable support to the thesis of a continuity between the two thinkers.47 However, despite the continuity between the two thinkers as perceived by Tanabe and Williams, there are also signicant differences between Heidegger and Nishida. The differences between them were greatest in 1933, which is the year that Nishida sent off his student Takizawa to Germany, and the differences remained strong until the year of Nishidas death in 1945, which is one year before the culmination of Heideggers turn (Kehre) represented by the 1946 essay Letter on Humanism, wherein he locates the error of Western philosophy in a metaphysics of presence dominated by the will to power of active subjects seeking planetary domination of technique. Although the later Heidegger clearly prioritized the letting go (Gelassenheit) of self-assertion, the Heidegger of the 1927 work Being and Time and the 1933 Rektoratsredewhich is to say, the Heidegger most familiar to Nishidahad strong subjectivist tendencies. On the one hand, the later Heidegger would warn of the inauthenticity of self-assertion aimed at future-oriented progress and technology, and would correspondingly afrm the authenticity of the subtle disclosure of truth (ale theia) as given in the past and cultivated by Greek thought. However, on the other hand, the early Heidegger conversely warned of the inauthenticity of the past-oriented thrownness (Geworfenheit) of the They (das Man), who in making no attempt to face the future and its implications of authenticity, constantly threaten to rob human beings (Dasein) of their selfautonomy, responsibility, and choice. Heideggers early subjectivism reverberates
46 Williams, pp. 182183. Tanabes article on Heidegger, Philosophy of Crisis, or a Crisis of Philosophy?, appeared in a three-part series printed in the Asahi Newspaper in early Autumn of 1933. Tanabe had recently issued a similar critique of Nishidas philosophy in May, 1930, in the article, Looking Up to Nishidas Teachings. 47 Williams characterizes Tanabes critique of Nishida as a criticism against objectivism (cf Williams, p. 116), and indeed characterizes both Heidegger and Nishida as objectivists (pp. 130, 135, 146).

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clearly in a statement he made in 1933a statement which exhibits his choiceoriented and future-oriented philosophical terminology of the period: The German people must choose its future, and this future is bound to the hrer There is only one will to the full existence (Dasein) of the State. The Fu hrer has awakened this will in the entire people48 Fu Evidently, from Nishidas 1931 essay History onward, culminating in his notion of active-intuition, Nishida himself became increasingly interested in the concrete, socio-political creation of history. However, in both theory and practice, Nishida never exhibited the same degree of subjectivist activism as Heidegger. Even more signicantly, from the beginning to the end of his career, Nishida maintained a rather detached stance toward political matters which later commentators would call resistive cooperation (hantaiseiteki kyo ryoku []).49 Although this stance worked indirectly to afrm the ofcial policies of wartime Japan, it is not comparable to Heideggers vigorous participation in political affairs and enthusiastic support for the Nazi party in 1933, the year of his Rectorship at Freiburg University and the year of Takizawas study in Germany. Indeed, in private, Nishida was highly critical of the political regime of wartime Japan.50 Although Williams argues for a strong continuity between Heidegger and Nishida, he does not carefully note the difference between the early and the later Heidegger. Further, Williams location of a continuity between the two thinkers seems to assume the position of the later Heidegger. However, it is precisely the philosophical subjectivism and political activity of the early Heidegger that led to critical reassessment of his life and thought, and consequently, to a critical reassessment of the Kyoto School. Indeed, it is precisely this subjectivist strain of the early Heidegger that has led many to make a distinction between his political life and his philosophy, thus afrming only the value of the latter in an attempt to salvage it. Although Williams claims that distinguishing the man from the ideas, the politics from the philosophy, does not work as philosophy,51 and that to make in the entire controversy over Heidegger,52 this distinction is the hoariest cliche by claiming that the Williams himself nevertheless appears to resort to this cliche ethicalpolitical critics of Heidegger often seem to have lost sight of the metaphysical horizon and that This appears to be equally true of the political

Heidegger. German Men and Women!, Freiburger Studentenzeitung, 10 Nov (1933). hashis term for the Cooperative resistance (hantaiseiteki kyo suke O ryoku []) is Ryo wartime political stance taken by several members of the Kyoto School, including Nishida, a stance characterized by negotiating a reorientation by means of immanent critique or cooperative correction. I would like to acknowledge Bret Davis for making this information available online at hashi, Ryo http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/kyoto-school/. Cf also O suke. The Kyoto School and the Japanese Navy [], Kyoto: PHP Shinsho, 2001, p. 20ff.
49

48

Cf Michiko Yusas biography of Nishida. *Yusa, Michiko (2002) Zen & Philosophy: An Intellectual Biography of Nishida Kitaro. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
51 52

50

Williams, p. 150. Williams, p. 156.

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critics of the wartime Kyoto School.53 Indeed, Williams himself praises the ability to draw a rm distinction between the philosophic discourse proper and the realm of political opinion,54 and thus even Williams takes the stance of distinguishing the man from the ideas, the politics from the philosophy. Whether or not Williams is correct in his claim that metaphysics is not about moral backbone,55 he has not provided a satisfactory account of the continuity between the wartime political philosophies of Heidegger and Nishida. If the wartime political thought of Heidegger and Nishida does not exhibit signicant continuity, then perhaps a stronger continuity can be located in their ontological explorations on the metaphysical horizon. 3.2 Discontinuity between Heidegger & Nishidas metaphysical stance In terms of the metaphysical stance of the two thinkers, Elmar Weinmayr noted in 1989: Nishida and Heidegger bothpoint to the derivativeness of the subjecthood of man as well as the objecthood of things from a prior openness of reality as a whole, that is to say, the subject-object relation is embedded in a deep. structure embracing them and initially making their relation possible.56 Thus, Nishidas all-encompassing Place or Topos (basho []) exhibits signicant similarities with Heideggers Being (Sein), which is manifest as an openness (Offenheit) and acts as a clearing (Lichtung) for the beings within it, thus providing light (Licht) for human beings (Dasein) to encounter the emerging truth theia) of Being. Nishidas account of the relationship between the innite Topos (ale and the nite individuals situated within it (oite aru mono []), also exhibits signicant similarities with Heideggers account of the ontological difference between Being (Sein) and beings (Seiendes), whereby on the one hand, Being enables a genuine encounter between beings and elicits a sense of care (Sorge) among them, and on the other hand, beings themselves derive their signicance from Being. Indeed, Nishidas account of the relationship between the Absolute Topos of Nothingness and the individuals situated within it, as a contradictory self-identity (mujunteki jikodo itsu []), and his account of the manifestation of Nothingness as a transcendence and-yet immanence (naizai soku cho etsu []), exhibits signicant similarities with Heideggers characterization of the manifestation of Being as a simultaneous absence and yet presence. Heideggers preoccupation with the question of Being (das Seinsfrage), which extended from the beginning to the end of his career, indicates that what the term Being represents, was of paramount importance for him, and the same was true of the notion of Topos or Nothingness for Nishida. Nishida often characterized his
53 54 55 56

Williams, p. 137. Williams, p. 161. Williams, p. 146. Weinmayr, p. 234.

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understanding of the referent of terms such as Topos, Nothingness, and the Absolute, as God. Heidegger was less inclined to characterize Being as God, and indeed rarely touched upon the issue of God. Just as with Nishidas view of God, there is a lack of consensus and clarity regarding Heideggers own view of God. Of course, it has been noted that Heideggers ontological difference between Being and beings shares afnities with the theistic difference between God and creatures, and also that Heideggers aim to rid philosophy of all metaphysical theology does not necessitate the rejection of God, but may actually clear the way for a genuine encounter with God.57 In the late 1950s, Heidegger implied this by distinguishing the divine God (der go ttlicher Gott) from the god of philosophy.58 However, although Heidegger himself references God and the holy in his own work without rejecting such notions, his lack of clarity regarding the notion of God has commonly led to the appellation of his position as agnostic. Indeed, in printed translations of Heideggers notion of Sein or Being, some scholars do not use a capital B in order to avoid making Sein sound like some absolute or metaphysical principle that rules over other beings.59 Emphasizing the difference between Heideggers b-eing and the theistic God, Weinmayr emphasizes that Heidegger is not interested in some: law standing above all beings, for example a highest conjoining (Verfu gung) of a universally destined transience to which beings are subjugated.60 Weinmayr explains that to seek such an all-encompassing trans-historical law is a symptom of the modern problem of the oblivion of Being (Seinsvergessenheit) whereby The modern subject desires that which ts (fu gt) the highest and most universal being, because it is unconjoined (unverfu gten) and not conjoinable (unverfu gbaren)61 Heideggers discontinuity with Nishida comes clearly into view here, because Nishidas Topos is easily characterized as the highest and most universal reality, fully absolute as the Topos of Absolute Nothingness or God. Of course, Nishidas etymological appeal to relevant Sino-Japanese morphemes in order to characterize the Absolute (zettai []) as that which has severed (zet[]) all opposition (-tai []),62 implies a radical immanence and continuity of the Absolute with all nite things and thus contrasts with the radical transcendence implied by the corresponding Indo-European morphemes (Ltn: ab-solvere),
57

Kovacs, pp. 2021, 24. *Kovacs, George (1990) The Question of God in Heideggers Phenomenology. (Part of the Northwestern University Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy, ed. James M. Edie). Illinois: Northwestern University Press.

t und Differenz (Identity and Difference) (1957), p. 71, my translation. Heidegger, Identita *Heidegger (1971a) Identity and Difference. [translation by Joan Stambaugh from Identita t und Differenz (19551957)]. New York: Harper & Row.
59 60

58

Krummel and Berger in Weinmayr, p. 251, footnote 6.

Weinmayr, p. 237. For ease of comprehension, I replaced the singular generic a being with the plural beings.
61 62

Weinmayr, p. 238. NKZ 11:396.

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which indicate a setting free (solvere) from (ab) or an unconjoinability (Unverfu gbarkeit) with all nite things. However, both Sino-Japanese and IndoEuropean morphemes can generate the same end result in that maximal universality is achieved in both cases, whether through the Sino-Japanese immanence in all nite things or through the Indo-European transcendence from all nite things. It is important to note that Heideggers account of Being, which is perhaps that notion in his thought that most closely approximates the notion of God, changes throughout the course of Heideggers career. Thus Heideggers later account of Being more closely parallels the traditional notion of God than Heideggers early account of Being, as Michael Inwood explains: In [Heideggers 1927 work,] Being and Time, Being is only in the understanding [of individual beings]. If there were no Dasein [i.e. human beings], there would be no Being, but there would be beings Later [in the development of Heideggers thought]Beinghas becomemore like God[in that] what human beings do depends on Being itself Being does not depend on human beings, as in Being and Time, but creates human beings as its abode.63 Tokiyuki Nobuhara correspondingly noted in 1992, that for the post-turn Heidegger, Daseins authentic existence began to be coterminous with Daseins devotion or correspondence (Entsprechung) to the ultimate reality as the verifying truth (die Wahrung der Wahrheit).64 Rolf von Eckartsberg and Ronald S. Valle, in 1981, in the context of a comparison between Heideggerian philosophy and the major Eastern spiritual traditions, have even identied Heideggers Being with a higher, transpersonal God- or theo-dimension which is the source of legitimation and validation of our activities.65 Thus whereas for the early Heidegger, human beings are a precondition for Being, for the later Heidegger, the reverse is the case. Therefore, it can be said that in the early Heideggerthe Heidegger of whom Nishida was most familiarthe notion of God is maximally absent.
63

Inwood, A Heidegger Dictionary, pp. 7273. Man changed to human beings. *Inwood, Michael (1999) The Blackwell Philosopher Dictionaries: A Heidegger Dictionary. Massachusetts: Blackwell.

Nobuhara, Portraying Authentic Existence, part I, pp. 6162. *Nobuhara, Tokiyuki (19921993) Portraying Authentic Existence by the Method of Analogy: Toward the Creative Uses of the Analogy of Attribution Duorum Ad Tertium for Comparative Philosophy of Religion. Bulletin of Keiwa College. Part I No. 1 Feb 28, 1992 (pp. 6182); Part II No. 2 February 28, 1993 (pp. 2750); Part III No. 3 Feb 28, 1994 (pp. 119). Von Eckartsberg and Valle (1981) p. 289: There has been emerging among consciousness-oriented psychologists an increasing recognition that our personal and collective relationship to the world (man-world-relationships) has to be lived under the inspiration and auspices of some higher, transpersonal power of divinity, of ultimate Being, as the source of legitimation and validation of our activities. This higher, transpersonal God- or theo-dimension is variously spoken of and conceptualized in different traditions. We want to select and compare Heideggers work on the Western philosophical tradition of metaphysics and ontology with the major Eastern spiritual traditions, because they bear some striking similarities in their emphasis on a transcendent dimension, the theo-dimension, in human consciousness. *Von Eckhartsberg, Rolf, & Ronald S. Valle. 1981. Heideggerian Thinking and the Eastern Mind. (chapter 14, pp. 287311) Metaphors of Consciousness. New York & London: Plenum Press.
65

64

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4 Nishidas negative assessment of Heidegger Whatever positive evaluations of Heidegger might have been suggested by Nishidas favorable 1924 remark to TanabeHeidegger will contribute to cultural studies from the phenomenological standpoint66and by the strong interest that Nishidas associates such as Miki, Tanabe, and Kuki had shown in the great German philosopher, Nishidas overall assessment of Heidegger was not as Weinmayr suggests, just an ambivalent posture expressed in a few places wherein Appreciation and critical distance are mixed.67 To the contrary, Nishidas overall assessment of Heidegger was overwhelmingly negative.68 Indeed, given a broader picture of Nishidas view of Heidegger, it can be said that Nishidas overall assessment of Heidegger can be summarized bluntly in the uninhibited statement made by the father of the Kyoto School to the young Takizawa in October 1933: Heidegger is not worth your time.69 In the same year of 1933, Nishida repeated his negative assessment of Heideggeralthough in a much more restrained manner in a December 19 letter to Go ichi Miyake, who had studied with Heidegger at Freiburg from 1929 to 1931. Politely assuring Miyake of the value of his study in Germany, Nishida stated: I respect Heideggers work, but it cannot answer the deep problems of substance (jittai []) and life (jinsei []).70 In his statement to Takizawa, Nishida explained clearly what does provide the solution to the problems of substance and lifea solution lacking in Heidegger, at least in early Heideggerian philosophy. Thus Nishida expressed his solution and also his reason for rejecting Heideggers thought, in the following words: Heideggerfocuses only on such themes as Angst and death, and although he often relies upon Pascal and Kierkegaard, he does not recognize that which is indispensable and decisive, namely, God.71
66 67

NKZ 19:582, letter #2470, October 2, 1927. As quoted in Yusa, p. 198, footnote 38.

Weinmayr, p. 233. The full statement reads: Nishida himself played hardly any role in the direct and immediate dissemination and reception of Heideggerian philosophy in Japan. Indeed, only a few publications of Heideggers works are found in his library, but nothing can be said of any reference to Heidegger. Appreciation and critical distance are mixed in the few places where Nishida talks about Heidegger.
68 Even the statements by Nishida about Heidegger, which Weinmayr himself examines, are all negative, pp. 233234.

Takizawa recorded this statement three times, in TKC 1:441, TKC 2:5212, and Inquiring of Religion (1976), p. 87, (the last source being reprinted in Sakaguchis Katsumi Takizawa Timline p. 164).
70 NKZ 18:489, letter #824, December 19, 1933. (trns. Rigsby) Referenced by Yusa, p. 257. Nishidas term substance (jittai []) can be understood in a colloquial sense or in a philosophically nuanced sense. If Nishida has the philosophical sense in mindwhich is to say, substance as the unier and organizer of various propertiesthen this statement may be a criticism of Heideggers account of Being and its insufciencies in portraying the universal, all-encompassing Absolute which Nishida embraced. Nishidas Absolutethe Topos of Absolute Nothingnessunies and determines all concrete individuals and the properties they exhibit. 71 Takizawa makes this statement three times, in TKC 1:441, TKC 2:5212, and Inquiring of Religion (1976), p. 87, (the last source being reprinted in Sakaguchis Katsumi Takizawa Timeline p. 164).

69

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Given that the later Heidegger would himself propose formulations of Being which are closer to the traditional notion of God, and also given that the later Heidegger would also adhere more solidly to socio-political objectivism in the manner of the Nishida Philosophy, Nishidas 1933 assessment of Heidegger most likely applies only to pre-turn Heideggerian thought. At the same time, just as the pre-turn Heideggerian standpoint, which tended to be restricted to a political and phenomenological subjectivism, worked toward breaking the continuity of his thought with Nishida, Nishidas own negative assessment of Heidegger suggests a signicant discontinuity between the two thinkers. In Nishidas own words, the decisive decit in Heideggers thought is failure to recognize Godthe ultimate Reality which Nishida interchangeably calls the Absolute, the absolute Place or Topos, and Nothingness. Thus Nishidas criticism of Heidegger is conversely constituted and motivated by Nishidas account of Gods essential character, which can be summarized in the following six points: (1) rst, Gods transcendence which provides a ground for mathematics and a standpoint which is not affected by the vicissitudes of contingent phenomena, (2) second, Gods prevention of ethno-centrism, (3) third, Gods afrmation of individual and cultural autonomy, (4) fourth, Gods immanence which afrms the signicance of sociohistorical life, (5) fth, Gods prevention of Nihilism, and (6) sixth, the clear recognition of the reality of God provided by Christian thought. 4.1 Gods trans-historical, universal, & necessary character From the beginning to the end of his career, Nishida attempted to attain a standpoint locating that necessary ground upon which contingent, historical actuality is dependent. According to Nishida, this ground is not only given in immediate experience, but is the a priori basis for all the varied forms of experience. Consequently, it was clear to him that certain formal and metaphysical truths do not change, no matter the current historical time or cultural space. Nishida understood these unchanging truths to be grounded in God and not in any one nite sociohistorical subject. For Nishida, phenomenology, whether Heideggerian or Husserlian, cannot provide an all-encompassing, stable standpoint, because it is restricted to the contingent nitude of human subjects. Nishida stressed the trans-historical character of his standpoint in a letter of September 22, 1940, to Takizawa, stating:

Footnote 71 continued I propose the following harmony of Takizawas three accounts, avoiding repetition and yet providing all of the information which he records of Nishidas statement: Lately, Heidegger is famous in Japan. However, Heidegger is not worth your time (tsumaranu mono da). He focuses only on such themes as Angst and death, and although he often relies upon Pascal and Kierkegaard, he does not recognize that which is indispensable (kanjin no []) and decisive (ketteiteki na nanika []), namely, God (goddo/kami []). There is no philosopher in Germany now that I would recommend, as it appears that there is currently no philosopher of import there. However, in Germany, recently, the theologians are vastly more interesting than the philosophers. There are theologians such as Barth, Brunner, and Gogarten, but the most solid among them is Barth. It would be good to study under him if you can. However, unfortunately, it appears as if he may have been expelled by the Nazis and is no longer in Germany.

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I argue from a more basic standpoint than so-called social science (shakaikagaku []). I think there is a lot of truth in social science. However, rather than believe this standpoint so easily as is done nowadays, shouldnt we reect and examine even more deeply?72 Nishida stressed in a letter of July 2, 1934, to the young Heideggerian Go ichi Miyake, that a properly philosophical standpoint must account for the transhistorical character of mathematical truths, and thus stated: It is interesting to apply a current Heideggerian view to mathematics and so on, thus taking a historical viewpoint. However, can this method really provide a philosophical rationale (Begru ndung) for mathematics?73 Indeed, it would appear that if there is any eld of inquiry not affected by historical contingencies, and which is even manifest of necessity within historical contingencies, mathematics would present a prime candidate for such a eld of inquiry. This is certainly a conviction held by many philosophers from Plato to Spinoza to Russell. Nishidas own view is that Mathematics is extremely universal as the selfdetermination of pure thought.74 Nishidas own conviction that mathematics cannot be reduced to historical contingency remained strong to the end of his career, as is exhibited in his 1945 essay The Philosophical Foundation of Mathematics wherein he states: I propose that numbers exist by themselves and act by themselves.75 It seems that the young Miyake took Nishidas stern rejection of the historicization of mathematics seriously, as the mature Miyake went onto follow the mathematical thought of Bertrand Russell.76 Nishida had more in mind than just mathematics in his appeal to the young Miyake to locate a standpoint grounded upon what is universal and necessary. In contrast to a standpoint grounded in the contingencies of the philosophy of history then popular in the Kyoto School itself, Nishida strongly urged Miyake to consider the standpoint of the all-encompassing Absolute Place or Topos that is the core of Nishida Philosophy, as Nishida wrote to Miyake on March 20, 1942: The philosophy of history has engulfed many people, but so few have endeavored to consider my topological logic (toposuteki ronri []) I truly hope you also will consider this endeavor. I think you also carry a heavy responsibility.77

72 73

NKZ 19:128; letter#1488; September 22, 1940.

NKZ 18:497; letter #846, July 2, 1934. Yusa suggests that this letter should be dated 1933, p. 385, footnote 53. NKZ 7:400. Cf Dilworths translation on p. 218. *Nishida, Kitaro . 1987. Last Writings: Nothingness and the Religious Worldview (trnsl. By David A. Dilworth), Hawaii: University of Hawaii Press.
75 NKZ 11:237; Nishida also states herein that All logic exists by itself and acts by itself Nishidas essay: [], rst appeared in [345,1945] (NKZ 11:237ff). 76 77 74

Piovesana, p. 221. NKZ 19: 189190, letter #1648, March 20, 1942.

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In 1969, the mature Takizawa would himself write a critique of Miyakes Heideggerian stance of historicist phenomenology. According to Takizawa, Miyake claims that by pursuing a phenomenological reection (gensho gakuteki hansei [ ]) of human beings, a viewpoint can be attained by which the self can be rid of all inauthenticity (giman []).78 Claiming that Miyakes viewpoint grounds itself in the historical contingent and fallible conditions of human existence which themselves prevent authenticity, Takizawa argues that in order to improve real society and its way of life, including the nation and its politicians, a viewpoint which recognizes the necessary Base (dodai []) grounding the contingent features of human existence must be attained.79 Indeed, in this critique of Miyake, Takizawa notes the failure of the early Heideggerand even Nishidato clearly locate this Base which transcends human subjectivity and historical existence, and which by its transcendence provides a viewpoint that makes the critique of human existence possible.80 Takizawas mature philosophy agreed with Nishida in locating a universal and necessary Base upon which all contingent phenomena are dependent. Just as the mature Takizawa would do, Nishida identied this all-encompassing Base or Nothingness as God. As early as 1927, in a letter to Risaku Mutai who was studying under Heidegger in Freiburg, Nishida opposed Heideggerian philosophy by characterizing this ultimate reality in personalistic terms, stating: I do not particularly object if you opt to consider Heideggers Being (On) as being situated within the noetic dimension of my self-realization of Nothingness. However, rather than characterizing [Nothingness] as what is expressed (Ausdruck), it must be characterized as what expresses (ausdru cken) the self. In other words, Being (On) should completely have the character of an I (Ich).81 For Nishida, ultimate Realitywhether called Nothingness or Beingis not primarily what is expressed within human subjects in the manner of early Heideggerian phenomenology, but is rather the creative Power that expresses and forms human beings in the rst place. This trans-historical and trans-subjective Power is what Nishida calls God. Following in this trajectory of the Nishida Philosophy, the mature Takizawa also stressed the same unmanipulatability (Grn: Unverfu gbarkeit, Jpn: hishudansei []) of Absolute reality by claiming that no matter how human beings may try, they are unable to alter the nature of Gods relationship with contingent phenomena. Further, following in the trajectory of Nishida Philosophy to characterize God in terms of mathematical truths, Takizawa refers to the Divine-human relationship as the Archimedean Point
78

Takizawa, from Phenomenology and Dialectics: Regarding Go ichi Miyakes book, Human Existence, a 1969 essay later printed in (1987) The Decoding Coordinates, p. 136. Takizawa, Katsumi (1987) The Decoding Coordinates: Philosophy, Literature, Education [: ]. Japan: So gensha []. Takizawa, ibid, p. 148. Takizawa, ibid, p. 135. NKZ 18:321, letter #432, January 30, 1927, to Risaku Mutai (in Freiburg).

79 80 81

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(arukimedesuteki itten []), the Fulcrum (shiten []), and the vanishing Point of all forms (issai no keizo no vanishingu pointo [ ]).82 Evidently, in terms of Nishidas criticism of Heidegger, Gods trans-historical, universal, and necessary character suggests the negative ramication that all ethno-centrisms and ethno-exclusivisms must be rejected, and correspondingly the positive ramication that the autonomy of all nite individuals and groups is afrmed. 4.2 God prevents Ethno-centrism and Ethno-exclusivism Nishidas characterization of God as a trans-historical Nothingness works to prevent the absolutization of any nite individuals or special interest groups, which are inevitably nite and distinctively formed beings clearly distinguishable from the all-encompassing formless Nothingness of ultimate Reality. Thus Nishidas philosophy consists of a stance which rejects the ethno-centric and ethno-exclusive undercurrents that represented Heideggers political activism of 1933. This year was not only the year in which Nishida shared his negative assessment of Heideggerian philosophy with the young Takizawa, but was also the year in which Heideggger enthusiastically supported the Nazi Party in his position as Rector of Freiburg University. Unfortunate highlights of this period of Heideggers life include his refusal to protest the nation-wide burning of books with un-German ideas, his silence in the face of the ill-treatment of his former mentor Husserl due solely to Husserls Jewish ancestry, Heideggers furnishing of economic support to ethnocentric military groups such as the SS and SA and corresponding termination of all such support to Jewish students, and nally his premeditated success in destroying the careers of the pacist chemist Hermann Staundinger, the Catholic anti ller, and the student of American philosophy, Eduard Nazi philosopher Max Mu Baumgarten. Although Heidegger did not hold to the ofcial anti-Jewish Nazi policy based on biological racism, he clearly held to an ethnocentrism and ethno-exclusivism privileging German language, culture, and rootedness (Bodensta ndigkeit) in the soil of Middle-Europe (Mitteleuropa), thus condemning the Jews for their rootless (bodenlos) self-identity based on diaspora and migration.83 Evidently sensing sufcient kinship with Nazi ideology to make its general ethno-centric and ethno-exclusive focus his own, Heidegger nearly absolutized the place of German culture by closely associating it with his own version of absolute reality, stating: the Fatherland is Being [Seyn] itself.84

These semi-mathematical expressions can be found, respectively, in #1 Thelle, p. 73; Ulrich & Yagi, p. 157; #2 TKC 7:322; #3 TKC 7:324. *Luz, Ulrich and Yagi, Seiichi, ed. (1973) Gott in Japan: Ansto sse zum Gespra ch mit japanischen nchen: Chr. Kaiser Verlag. Philosophen, Theologen, Schriftstellern. Mu * Thelle, Notto R (1975) A Barthian Thinker Between Buddhism And Christianity: Takizawa Katsumi. Japanese Religions. Vol. 8, October, pp. 5486.
83

82

Bambach, p. 53. *Bambach, Charles (2003) Heideggers Roots: Nietzsche, National Socialism, and the Greeks. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.

84 Heidegger. Ho lderlins Hymnen Germanien und Der Rhein. Winter Semester 1934/35; Ed. By Susanne Ziegler. 1989. Cf Bambach, p. 55.

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This dimension of Heideggers life and thought did not go unnoticed by Nishida and his Japanese associates.85 Indeed, Nishidas 1933 condemnation of Heidegger as shared with the young Takizawa, makes it clear that Nishida was keenly aware of the forceful measures taken by the Nazis in order to subdue all those who did not share their vision. Nishidas knowledge about Karl Barths strong resistance to National Socialism is apparent in Nishidas words: unfortunately, it appears as if Barth may have been expelled by the Nazis and is no longer in Germany.86 Nishidas strong afrmation of Barthian theology in the same train of thoughtBarth is vastly more interesting that the current philosophers in Germanymay very well be intricately related to Nishidas own opposition to the Nazis. Although Nishida was generally aloof from political issues and controversya posture exemplied in what later commentators called resistive cooperation (hantaiseiteki kyo ryoku [ ])87he did speak out against German National Socialism. In an interview printed in the May 28 1933 issue of the Yomiuri Newspaper, Nishida spoke of the dangerous worldwide phenomenon of totalitarian rule which threatened to crush high culture. Nishida pointed out in this interview the irony of Nazi anti-Semitism, noting that the two most inuential ideological forces of the contemporary world had been developed by Jews: capitalism by David Ricardo and communism by Karl Marx. In particular, Nishida noted how impoverished the world would be without great Jewish scholars such as Bergson and Einstein.88 Just four months after Heideggers inaugural address, Nishidas successor Tanabe responded by writing an article dated September 5 and published in the October 46, 1933 issues of the Asahi Newspaper. Noting Heideggers recent entrance into the Nazi party and the dismissal of Jewish scholars from teaching posts, Tanabes article, Is it a Philosophy of Crisis or a Crisis of Philosophy?,89 mirrored Nishidas displeasure by hinting at Heideggers championing [of] the racial signicance of German academia.90 The Kyoto School associate Kiyoshi Miki in particular became sharply critical of Heidegger after Heideggers rectoral address.91 Miki also joined leading Japanese journalists and intellectuals in writing letters to the press in order to condemn the May 10, 1933 Nazi celebration of

85 86

Yuasa in Parkes, p. 254.

This quote is my own harmony of three statements made by Takizawa, found in TKC 1:441, TKC 2:5212, and Inquiring of Religion (1976), p. 87, (the last source being reprinted in Sakaguchis Katsumi Takizawa Timline p. 164). 87 hashis term for the Cooperative resistance (hantaiseiteki kyo suke O ryoku []) is Ryo wartime political stance taken by several members of the Kyoto School, including Nishida, a stance characterized by negotiating a reorientation by means of immanent critique or cooperative correction. I would like to acknowledge Bret Davis for making this information available online at hashi, Ryo http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/kyoto-school/. Cf also O suke. The Kyoto School and the Japanese Navy [], Kyoto: PHP Shinsho, 2001, p. 20ff.
88 Yomiuri Newspaper [] May 28, 1933, reprinted in Asami Hiroshi, Fukkoku sanpen pp. 13940. Referenced in Yusa, Biography, p. 255, footnote 34. 89 90

THZ 8:39 []. Cf Yusa p. 254. Cf Williams, p. 113.

Parkes in May, p. 109, footnote 13; German translation in Buchnors Japan und Heidegger pp.139 145 by Elmar Weinbayr. Cf also Williams translation pp. 181183.
91

Parkes in May, p. 81.

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the burning of un-German books.92 Thus Miki also criticized the ethno-centric and ethno-exclusive undercurrents in Heidegger by writing: Heidegger seems to be seeking a principle for the nationalistic unity of Germany in blood, earth and destinyin the realm of pathos, in which there is no discernable objective principle.93 What Miki refers to in this statement as objective principle and elsewhere as Logos,94 Nishida seems to equate with God. Nishidas own characterization of God as the formless all-encompassing Place or Topos correspondingly works against its conation with any particular blood and soil. Of course, as wartime pressures began to mount in Japan, Nishida himself closely associated the ultimate reality of Nothingness with Japanese or Eastern cultureeven to the point of conveying a chauvinististic outlook95but Nishidas broader socio-historical metaphysics of global-world formationism (sekaiteki sekai keiseishugi [ ]) also suggests that he was able to avoid the degree of ethno-centrism and ethno-exclusivism conveyed by Heidegger. 4.3 Gods afrmation of philosophical and cultural autonomy Nishida apparently held that if the all-encompassing God which grounds all life and unies all phenomena does notby way of its transcendence and formlessness impose any specic form upon those nite, personal individuals situated within it, then they consequently should enjoy a freedom from regulation and a marked autonomy. In the same letter of December 19, 1933 to the young Heideggerian Go ichi Miyake, in which Nishida had disparaged Heideggers philosophy with the wordsHeideggers workcannot answer the deep problems of substance and lifeNishida also stressed the need for the Japanese to think for themselves, as he stated: Japanese scholars devour books by German thinkers, borrow their methods, and use them skillfully, without, however, being truly sustained by their serious philosophical reections. If this continues to be the practice, the Japanese will forever remain emulators. How could we expect to see a philosophical system that is born out of the depth of our own lives? Japanese thinkers need to engage in the mutual exchange of their views, read what their colleagues write, and establish a Publikum, a public forum. A philosophical tradition is not something that is established by the work of one single individual, but it takes a community of thinkers.96
92 93 94 95 96

Yusa, Biography, p. 254. Quoted by Yuasa in Parkes, pp. 161162. Yuasa in Parkes, p. 163. Cf Dilworths discussion, Nishidas Logic of the East in Last Writings, p. 129.

NKZ 18:489, letter #824, December 19, 1933. As translated by Yusa, pp. 2578. Days later, on New Years Day 1934, Nishida drove this same point home by composing a famous waka poem: People are people; I am I; Unperturbed; I go on the path; which I take (NKZ 17:496: Hito wa hito, ware wa ware nari, tonikaku ni, ware yuku michi wo, ware wa yuku nari).

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The fact that Nishidas demand for the autonomy of Japanese thinkers and a warning against a philosophy that is established by the work of one single individual, occurred in the same context as his rejection of Heideggerian philosophy, warrants careful consideration. Indeed, Heidegger, in his inaugural address at Freiburg Universityalso in 1933enthusiastically proclaimed the end of the much celebrated academic freedom amidst the ames of state-sanctioned book burnings. Nishida once again wrote to Miyake on July 2, 1934 stressing the importance that Japanese people think for themselves.97 Nishida also commiserated with Takizawa in letters of 1940, regarding the importance of philosophical autonomy and how rare its successful exercise seemed to be in Japan.98 Heideggers own account of the history of philosophy as a progressive oblivion of Being (Seinsvergessenheit) suggests prima facie that because Western thinkers have lost touch with the rootedness (Bodensta ndigkeit) of human existence (Dasein) in its home (Heimat) of Being (Sein), perhaps non-Western thinkers can aid in revealing the truth (Grk: ale theia) that has been forgotten in the West. In 1955, Heidegger himself suggested as much, in what Elmar Weinmayr has called one of the few passages wherein Heidegger expresses himself explicitly in the direction of an intercultural conversation.99 Thus Heidegger notes that the greatness of the challenge facing the modern age suggests that the West is not able on its own to achieve the planetary thinking necessary for building according to a more originary calling which overcomes nihilism, as Heidegger states: [P]lanetary building will encounter issues to which those involved are today nowhere equal. This is equally true for both the language of Europe and that of East Asia, and it is true above all for the realm of possible dialogue between them. Neither is able on its own to open or to found this realm.100 Indeed, in 1954, Heidegger branded the successes of [European] rationality[a] delusion,101 and wondered whether it is necessary and rightful for Eastasians to chase after the European conceptual systems.102 Heidegger was puzzled as to why East Asian thinkers did not call back to mind the venerable beginnings of their own thinking, instead of chasing ever more greedily after the latest novelties in European philosophy.103 Statements such as these, together with Heideggers statements that Japanese readers immediately understood his thought, would seem to indicate that Heidegger considered Japanese thinkers to be fully qualied for the purpose forming what Nishida had called a community of thinkers in full and
97 NKZ 18:, letter #846, July 2, 1934. Yusa suggests that this letter should be dated 1933, p. 385, footnote 53. 98 99 100

NKZ 19:160; letter #1570; April 23, 1941. NKZ 19:161; letter #1572; May 3, 1941. Weinmayr, p. 248.

Heidegger, On the Question of Being (1955), from the English language anthology, Pathmarks, nger. p. 321. Heidegger wrote this essay in honor of, and addressed to, his friend Ernst Ju *Heidegger (1998) Pathmarks. [translation of Wegmarken. Frankfurt/M.: V. Klostermann, 1976]. New York: Cambridge University Press.
101 102 103

Heidegger, On the Way to Language, p. 16. Heidegger, On the Way to Language, p. 3. (Cf the original Unterwegs zur Sprache, p. 87). Heidegger, On the Way to Language, p. 37. (Cf the original Unterwegs zur Sprache, p. 131).

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equal cooperation with the West, with the aim of jointly overcoming the oblivion of Being in philosophy. However, Heidegger made it clear in a September 23, 1966 interviewpublished in 1976 in Der Spiegel, posthumously at his request104that the problem facing the West and purportedly portrayed so vividly by Nietzsche105 would not be ameliorated by the aid of Zen Buddhism or other Eastern experiences of the world. As Heidegger states: Theconict between the dionysian and the apollonian, the holy passion and the sober account [as described by Nietzsche], is a concealed stylistic law of the historical destiny of the Germans With this conictNietzsche [has] set a question mark before the Germans task to nd their essence historically I am convinced that a [solution] can only be prepared from the same place in the world where the modern technological world originated. It cannot come about by the adoption of Zen Buddhism or other Eastern experiences of the world.106 In fact, Heidegger not only thus claims negatively that East Asian thought is incapable of addressing the problem of the modern technological world, but claims positively that the only tradition fully capable of addressing this problem is the German tradition. Noting that the modern technological world must be transcended (aufgehoben), Heidegger claims that the Germans have a special qualication for this change by way of the special inner relationship between the German language and the thinking of the Greeks. Heidegger goes onto state condently: This has been conrmed to me again and again today by the French. When they begin to think they speak German. They insist that they could not get through with their own language [even with] all of their rationality when they are attempting to understand it in the origin of its essence It would be good if thiswould be taken seriously on a large scale and if it would nally be
Sheehan, Heidegger and the Nazis, p. 42. *Sheehan, Thomas (1998) Heidegger and the Nazis. The New York Review of Books, vol. 35, no. 10, June 16, pp. 3847.
105 It is ironic that Heidegger invokes Nietzsche here to support the threefold thesis that only the Germans are specially qualied for philosophy, that this qualication is due to the special relationship between the Germans and the Greeks, and that the special philosophical mission of the Graeco-German trajectory was fatally violated by Latin inuence. Nietzsche was adamant that the Greeks were not a single race, nor the rst originary culture, nor the only truly earth-bound humans. For him, this interpretive approach is based on an utterly castrated and mendacious study of the classical world (Arrowsmith, p. 329/Nietzsche 8:19; Cf Bambach, p. 218). Rather, according to Nietzsche, Greek culture was the product of synthesis between various Asian, Near Eastern, and Hellenic inuences, as Nietzsche states: Earliest inhabiting of Greek soil: people of Mongolian origin, worshippers of trees and snakes. A fringe of Semites along the coast. Thracians here and there. The Greeks took all of these elements into their own bloodstream, along with gods and myths (several of the Odysseus stories are Mongolian) What are racially pure Greeks? Cant we simply suppose that Italic peoples, mixed with Thracian and Semitic elements, became Greek? (Arrowsmith, p. 387/Nietzsche 8:96; Cf Bambach, p. 218). 104

Neske & Kettering, Martin Heidegger and National Socialism (1990), pp. 6263. nther & Kettering, Emil (eds). 1990. Martin Heidegger and National Socialism. *Neske, Gu (Translated from the original German by Lisa Harries). New York: Paragon House.

106

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considered what a momentous transformation Greek thinking suffered when it was translated into Roman Latin, an event that still bars our way today to sufcient reection on the fundamental words of Greek thinking.107 If the problem of the modern technological world is indeed a global problem, and if as Heidegger suggests, this problem can only be addressed by a Graeco-German primal language (die Ursprache)108 and the philosophical tradition embodied by it, then what room is left for non-Western developments to contribute to a global philosophical discussion? If those within philosophical traditions embodied in Romance languagesthe French tradition given here by Heidegger being just one exampleare unable with all of their rationality to address the problem of the modern technological world, and if they must even speak German themselves as Heidegger claims, in order to begin to think, then it comes as no surprise that Heidegger excluded Eastern experiences of the world from the project of transcending the problema project which for him is the specic destiny of the Germans. Heidegger thus carried on the trajectory of his nationalistic predecessor, Johann G. Fichte, who stated: other races [which is to say, non-German races,] speak a language which has movement only on the surface but is dead at the root.109 Premonitions of this ethnocentric conclusion of 1966 may even be seen in Heideggers 1954 A Dialogue on Language between a Japanese and an Inquirer, wherein Heidegger, conspicuously noting the afnity of the Greek and German languages, states to his ctional Japanese interlocutor: Our thinking today is charged with the task to think what the Greeks have thought in an even more Greek manner.110 In this same context, Heideggers statement that the nature of language remains something altogether different for the East Asian and for the European peoples,111 appears prima facie to warn of the danger of too easily
107 108

Neske and Kettering, Martin Heidegger and National Socialism (1990), p. 63.

As early as 1955, in a lecture on November 18, Heidegger proposed that the precondition of the inevitable dialogue with the East Asian world can be nothing other than a dialogue with the Greek thinkers and their language (Science and Reection in The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays, p. 158; cf p x for lecture date). Nishida was also intensely sensitive to the signicance of the German and Greek cultures. He wrote large sections of his diary in German. In his 1934 Sequel to the Basic Problems of Philosophy, Nishida even stated: I believe that our Japanese culture has features which especially resemble the Greek cultural form (NKZ 7:443). Nishida associates the Japanese and Greek cultures because they both have an immanent worldview and both prioritize the aesthetic. However, Nishida qualies the correspondence between the Japanese and Greek cultures by noting that Buddhism, which constitutes an important part of Japanese culture, adheres to a transcendent worldview as does Christianity (NKZ 7:442; Dilworths translation p. 247). *Heidegger (1977) The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays. New York: Harper & Row.
109 Johann G. Fichte, Reden an die deutsche Nation (Addresses to the German Nation) [1808] (Hamburg: Meiner, 1978), p. 72; Quoted and explained in Bambach p. 55. 110 Heidegger, On the Way to Language, p. 39. Heideggers identication of Greek and German language occurs on p. 46, where he suggests etymological afnities between Greek charis (grace) on the one hand, and Greek tiktousa and German dichten (versify, but meaning bring forward according to Heidegger) on the other hand. 111 Heidegger, ibid, p. 23; cf also p. 5, where Heidegger claims that Europeans and Eastasians dwell in different houses of Being.

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conating Japanese and Western experiences and interpretations of the world. However, Heideggers strict distinction between East Asian and European reections of reality, and especially his identication of German language with the philosophical language of the Greeks, more likely threatens to prevent full recognition of the capability of non-Western thinkers to autonomously participate in a genuine project of philosophy. Thus, what on the surface may look like respect for non-Western traditions may actually have the converse effect of ethnic exclusion, as is suggested by Heideggers statement: The name aesthetics and what it names grow out of European thinking, out of philosophy. Consequently, aesthetic consideration must ultimately remain alien to East-Asian thinking.112 In 1973, just three years before his death, Heidegger claimed even more clearly that the only philosophy is European philosophy, stating that there is no other, neither a Chinese nor an Indian philosophy.113 Heideggers equation of European thinking and philosophy is often repeated performatively even today in Japan, where on the one hand, it is common to apply the term tetsugaku [], or philosophy, only to European philosophy and occasionally to modern Japanese philosophy, and on the other hand, the term shiso [], or thought, to pre-modern Japanese intellectual history, which is to say, Japanese thought before Western contact. In this context of contrastive use, the term tetsugaku tends to suggest greater rigor and seriousness than shiso . Nishida always referred to his own project as tetsugaku, and stressed that Japanese thinkers must develop tetsugaku autonomously. It is worthy of note that Nishida himself had written the article for the heading Philosophy (tetsugaku) in the voluminous 1912 edition of the Iwanami Dictionary of Philosophy (iwanami tetsugaku jiten []). Although Nishida in this article explicitly examines by name the philosophical ideas of Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, Epicurus, Spinoza, Descartes, Leibniz, Kant, Locke, Wilhelm Windelband, Bergson, and other Western thinkers, Nishida nevertheless proposes a denition of philosophy in terms of the unication of the sciences and the unifying power of the True, the Good, and the Beautiful, in the language of his own 1911 masterwork, An Inquiry Into the Good.114 Nishida challenged the Heideggerian Miyake in a letter of July 2, 1934, stating, if we do not attempt to alter conventional thinking at its base, then we cannot develop a new philosophy (tetsugaku).115 Even while noting the differences in rhetoric and trajectory between Western philosophy and Japanese philosophy, Nishida still stressed a solid base uniting all philosophical projects, as he stated in 1940:
112 113

Heidegger, ibid, p. 2. My italics.

Heidegger, What is Called Thinking?, p. 224. (Cf the original Was heisst Denken?, p. 136). *(1968) What is Called Thinking? [Grn: Was heisst Denken? (1973)]. New York: Harper and Row.

114

Kitaro Nishida: article under the heading Philosophy in the 1912 Iwanami Dictionary of Philosophy [], pp. 667668.

115 NKZ 18:497498, letter #846, July 2, 1934. Yusa suggests that this letter should be dated 1933, p. 385, footnote 53,but I have followed the NKZ format.

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I am not saying that there are two kinds (nishu []) of logic (ronri []), Western and Eastern. There must be only one logic.116 European leanings toward ethnocentrism and ethno-exclusivism as exemplied by Heidegger, did not go unnoticed by Nishida and his associates. Nishida,117 his successor Tanabe, and Nishidas close associate Kiyoshi Miki, would all make public statements in 1933 and onward condemning German ethnocentrism.118 For example, Nishida himself stated in 1937: The Europeans are inclined to regard their own present culture as the only highly developed one and the best. They tend to believe that other peoples, if they are to make progress in their development, must become just like themselves. I regard this as petty conceit. The primordial form of historical culture is, in my view, richer.119 It appears that Paul Shih-yi Hsiao, the Chinese scholar who in 1946 began a collaborative translation with Heidegger of Laozis Daodejing, may have felt a similar apprehension about Heideggers privileging of the Western tradition to the effect that Heideggerian themes would be read into the text in an unwarranted manner. In 1987, Hsiao reected upon the translation effort as follows: I have to admit thisI could not during our work together get free from a slight anxiety that Heideggers notes might perhaps go beyond what is called for in a translation. As an interpreter and mediator this tendency unsettled me.120
116 117

NKZ 12:289; from The Problem of Japanese Culture [] (1940).

Yomiuri Newspaper [] May 28, 1933, reprinted in Asami Hiroshi, Fukkoku sanpen pp. 13940. Referenced in Yusa, Biography, p. 255, footnote 34.
118 THZ 8:39 []; Cf Yusa p. 254. Parkes in May, p. 109, footnote 13; German translation in Buchnors Japan und Heidegger pp. 139145 by Elmar Weinbayr. Parkes in May, p. 81. Yuasa in Parkes, p. 254. 119 NKZ 12:390391. Translation as given by Weinmayr, p. 232. Nishida repeats this conclusion in his 1940 work, The Problem of Japanese Culture, wherein he states: Is logic (ronri []) nothing but the way of things are seen within contemporary Western culture? Is the way of seeing things in Eastern culture merely an undeveloped form of the way of seeing things within contemporary Western culture? I feel no reluctance in recognizing contemporary Western logic as the systematic development of a great logic. However, must I learn this rst of all as world logic? Is it possible to separate even Western logicfrom a special manifestation (tokushuso []) of historical life? It would appear that formal abstract logic is the same everywhere. However, it would appear that concrete logic (gutaiteki ronri []), as a form of concrete thought (chishiki []), cannot be separated from its special manifestation as historical life. Is the trajectory (yukue []) of Western culture the one and only trajectory (NKZ 12:287, my translation). 120

Hsiao in Parkes, p. 98. Heideggers response to the calling off of the collaborative Laozi translation can be seen in his August 6, 1949 letter to Jaspers. Jaspers had suggested in a previous letter that Heideggers philosophy may have been inspired by Asian ideas. Heidegger responded in his own letter as follows: What you [Jaspers] say about Asian ideas seizes my attention (ist aufregend): Where I am unfamiliar with the language I remain skeptical; and I become all the more so when the Chinese [scholar Paul Hsiao], who is himself a Christian theologian and philosopher, translated a few verses of Laozi with me. Through questioning I learned how completely alien that kind of language is; we then abandoned the attempt The resonances presumably have a quite different root

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Heideggers ponderous denition in 1954 of the Japanese word iki [] as grace, and his consequent portrayal of Ho nens faith as being directed toward meditation on iki, may provide a clue as to what Hsiao meant by going beyond what is called for in a translation. Indeed, iki is commonly translated in English as chic and was historically connected to artistic and stylistic sensibilities of the Edo period (16031608) and culture, a far cry from Ho nens (11331212) religious admonition to have faith in the mercy of Amida Buddha. Of course, it is likely that Heideggers aim in 1954 was merely to use the names of signicant Japanese thinkers and ideas in a completely ctitious mannerand thus with no intention of representing them accuratelyin order to set up a methodological framework for considering the nature of language in general. It should be noted that however inaccurate Heideggers 1954 account of iki may be, it still comes close to matching his account of relevant Graeco-German meditations on grace, thus suggesting that Japanese thinkers can approximate in their own projects what Europeans have endeavored in the project of philosophy. Heideggers ctional Japanese interlocutor seems hopeful in this direction, stating to Heidegger most propitiously that, when I ask you about hermeneutics, and when you ask me what our word is for what you call language, we ask each other the Same.121 Still hopeful, but less propitiously, the Japanese interlocutor also states to Heidegger: From a great distanceI sense a deeply concealed kinship with our thinking, but adds inconclusively because your path of thinking and its language are so wholly other.122 Heidegger himself seems less hopeful, stating: I do not yet see whetherEuropean-Western saying and Eastasian saying will enter into dialogue such that in it there sings something that wells up from a single source.123 Heideggers aim in 1954 appears to be the recognition of the uniqueness of nonWestern experience, and correspondingly the avoidance of premature Westernizing interpretations of non-Western experience. Indeed, prima facie, such Westernization appears to be the danger that Heidegger warns of, in his admonition not to touch what denes the dialogue between East and West.124 However, when Heidegger himself attempts to touch, however gingerly, the meaning of Japanese culture by dening iki, his denition is sufciently inaccurate so as to lessen the credibility of his methodological framework for considering the nature of language and dialogue in general. The sort of disciplined

Footnote 120 continued (Parkes in May, pp. 1012. I altered Parkes translation by substituting seizes my attention for is exciting, because the original German aufregend can mean either exciting or annoying.).
121 122 123

Heidegger, A Dialogue on Language (1954) (in On the Way to Language) p. 30. Heidegger, ibid, p. 24, pp. 4041.

Heidegger, A Dialogue on Language (1954) (in On the Way to Language), p. 8; quoted also by Parkes in Heidegger and Asian Thought, p. 1.
124 Heidegger, A Dialogue on Language (in On the Way to Language), p. 3ff (regarding the danger of prematurely concluding that one understands the other), p. 22 (we must not touch [what is dening our dialogue]).

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reection on non-Western thought that Heidegger appears to have in mind for such a lofty project would seem to demand a more rigorous examination and accurate explanation of the few explicitly Japanese ideas that Heidegger actually brings into print. Heidegger often stressed the difference between Western and non-Western views of the world, in statements such as we Europeans presumably dwell in an entirely different house than East Asians.125 EastWest difference was particularly manifest to Heidegger in the area of language, which for him, is signicantly the house of Being. At least from the 1950s, he often lamented that he knew nothing of Asian languagesa knowledge of which would presumably work toward establishing his suggestion of a radical difference between East and West. However, despite the nearly 20 years in which he referenced the lack of Euro-American scholarship in non-Western languages, and despite his own obvious interest in etymology and original texts, Heidegger himself did not extend any effort to learn a non-Western language.126 Perhaps Heideggers own lack of effort to engage EastAsian thought more seriously on its own terms is related to his theory of language. In contrast to a view of language as a vehicle for dialogue or communication across cultures, Heidegger, in 1959, proposed the denition, language is monologue127 such that language speaks solely with itself alone.128 The fact that Heidegger declined both to be present and also to write an opening statement for the 1969 Heidegger and Eastern Thought symposium in Hawaiieven though he complied with a number of similar requests for symposia celebrating his original thought in 1969, 1974, and 1976suggests that Heidegger himself was not particularly interested in the sort of dialogue that would provide East-Asians an equal voice with his own.129 Further, the fact that Heidegger only rarely references the non-Western world with the possible exception of Indiawould seem to indicate a general lack of interest in the world outside of Europe and America. Heideggers numerous
125 Heidegger, A Dialogue on Language (1954), p. 5. Cf Ma & van Brakel, p. 555, footnote 63. Heidegger reinforced his suggestion of EastWest difference when he devaluated Karl Jaspers suggestion of 1949 that Heideggerian philosophy demonstrates remarkable resonsnaces with Asian thought. Heideggers own conclusion was: the resonances presumably have an entirely different root. Cf Ma & van Brakel, p. 533, quoting Four Seminars (2003). *Ma, Lin and Jaap van Brakel (2006) Heideggers Comportment Toward EastWest Dialogue. Philosophy East and West. Volume 56, number 4, October, pp. 519566. 126 Ma & van Brakel, on pages 5367, examine various statements by Heidegger between 1955 and 1969, by which he lamented his ignorance of non-Western languages. 127 128 129

Heidegger, The Way to Language (1959), p. 134. Heidegger, The Way to Language (1959), p. 111.

Ma & van Brakel, p. 546, quoting Reden und andere Zeugnisse eines Lebensweges (19101976), pp. 721722. Heidegger wrote in a letter of July 4, 1969, to the Hawaii symposium organizer, Wineld E. Nagley: Now in regard to the words of welcome and introduction for which you ask, I have to appeal to your kindness to excuse me for not honoring your request. Nagley did not publish this section of the letter in Philosophy East and West, vol. 20, no. 3, July 1970, which covered the conference. A section of the letter which Nagley did include from Heideggers letter reads as follows: Again and again, it has seemed urgent to me that a dialogue take place with the thinkers of what is to us the Eastern world. The greatest difculty in this enterprise always lies, as far as I can see, in the fact that with few exceptions, there is no command of the Eastern languages either in Europe or in the United States, p. 221.

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references to Asia (das Asien) never refer to East-Asia, and may not refer to any entity beyond the fringes of Europe. When in the 1930s and 1940s, he describes the confrontation (die Auseinandersetzung) with Asia, Asiaas a collective bound by the mythical and condemned to fate (Ltn: fatum)is an entity to be overcome by the Greeks and presumably also by the Germans.130 In 1936, he even portrayed the historical Dasein of the Germans as facing a stark Either-Or salvation for Europe, which in order to overcome its own rootlessness, entails shielding European people from the Asiatic.131 When in the 1940s he expounds lderlins theme of the homecoming (die Heimkehr), it is the upon Friedrich Ho Greeks in the East or Morning land (das Morgenland) who represent Asia, from which Germans return to their own country in the West or Evening land (das Abendland).132 Even in a rare exception of 1943, Asia refers to where the Indies are,133 thus clearly negating the inclusion of China or Japan, which represent those traditions for which most interest has been shown in anticipation of a dialogue between Heidegger and the non-Western world. It is in Heideggers few references to the East-Asian (ostasiatisch) world from the 1950s onward that intentions for a genuine dialogue between his thought and the traditions of China and Japan may possibly be found.134 However, Heideggers insistence that philosophy is European thinking and thereby alien to East-Asian thinking135 appears to constitute a general trajectory in his thought leading to his 1966 conclusion that the solution to the global problem posed by the modern technological worldcannot come about byEastern experiences of the world, but rather must be addressed as the historical destiny of the Germans.136 In 1953, Heidegger stated to Nishidas close friend D. T. Suzuki that Nishida is Western.137 Ironically, given Heideggers privileging of the Graeco-German primal language, this statement may have been the highest possible compliment he could have paid to Nishida. For Nishida, such an assessment of genuine philosophy as Western would deny non-Westerners the opportunity of doing genuine philosophy autonomously and cooperatively on equal terms with Europeans. Most likely, such concerns were partly behind Nishidas negative assessment of Heidegger in October 1933, and would thus place Nishida in agreement with Karl Jaspers 1945 assessment of the Heideggerian philosophy as
130 131

Ma and van Brakel, p. 528.

Ma and van Brakel, p. 530, quoting Heideggers April 8, 1936 lecture on Europe and German Philosophy (Europa und die Deutsche Philosophie) in Gander, Hans-Helmuth, Europa und die Philosophie (1993), p. 31. In 1952, Heidegger also portrayed post-WWI Europe as a playthingfor the immense native strength of the Eastern peoples (Ma & Brakel, p. 531, quoting What is Called Thinking? (1968), p. 67/71).
132 133

Ma and van Brakel, p. 526.

Ma and; van Brakel, p. 529, quoting Die Einzigkeit des Dichters (1943) in Zu Ho lderlin Griechenlandreisen (2000), pp. 3544.
134 135 136 137

Ma and van Brakel, p. 530. Heidegger, ibid, p. 2. My italics. Neske and Kettering, Martin Heidegger and National Socialism (1990), pp. 6263.

Parkes in May, pp. 99100, quoting D. T. Suzuki, Erinnerung an einen Besuch bei Martin Heidegger, in Buchner, ed., Japan und Heidegger, 16972.

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unfree, dictatorial, and incapable of communication.138 For Nishida, the negation of special privilege to any specic individual such as Heidegger or cultural group such as a purported Graeco-German primal culture, would appear to be enabled by the formlessness of God and Gods ultimate transcendence from any particular thisworldly form.139 4.4 Gods immanence in history The trans-historical character of Nishidas philosophy was well known in Japan, but it is precisely this character which came most vigorously under attack, by both Marxists and Nationalists. Partly in response to such criticisms, and evidently from his 1931 essay History onwards, Nishida increasingly demonstrated sensitivity to the socio-historical standpoint,140 and correspondingly emphasized the immanence of God in history. Indeed, Takizawas rst essay of 1933, which was highly acclaimed by Nishida himself,141 begins with the sentence: Nishida Philosophy is from beginning to end consistently a philosophy of the active self (ko iteki jiko [ ]).142 Just as Nishida himself was constantly criticized for a perceived lack of sensitivity to the socio-historical dimension,143 Nishidas stance toward Heidegger resembled the stances of Tanabe, Tetsuro Watsuji, and Kiyoshi Miki, that Heideggerian philosophy fails to sufciently deal with concrete history. Indeed, the vast majority of Nishidas explicit criticisms of Heidegger take this form, as is clear especially in Nishidas works of 1932, 1933, and 1944. Nishidas criticisms of this sort can be summarized in the following claims.

138 Karl Jaspers, from a letter he wrote in December 1945 to the de-Nazication committee at Freiburg University, reviewing Heideggers case after the war. Quoted in The Heidegger Controversy, ed. Richard Wolin (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1993), pp. 144151. Also quoted in Hiroshi Nara, p. 149 (Mikkelsens article), cf note 7 on p. 149. *Nara, Hiroshi (2004) The Structure of Detachment: The Aesthetic Vision of Kuki Shu zo (with a translation of Iki no ko zo ). Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. 139 This conclusionthat Nishidas recommendation of autonomy to Japanese scholars is derived from his idea of Godis not explicit in Nishidas own words. However, I suggest that this conclusion is well warranted because for him, clearly, (1) Gods character, which is to say, the character of Absolute Nothingness, is formless, in contrast to the formed determinations of nite human beings, and (2) selfrealized human beings attain continuity with God and thus can be said to attain a formlessness, freedom, or transcendence from worldly determinations which is analogous to the Divine formlessness. For Nishida, God is the foundational concept of religion (NKZ 11:372) and the pinnacle of learning and morality can in fact be reached only by entering the realm of religion (NKZ 1:172173).

Huh, p. 368, cf also p. 343 etc. My italics. *Huh, Woo-Sung. The philosophy of history in the later Nishida: A philosophic turn, pp. 343374. Philosophy East and West. Ed. Roger T. Ames. Vol. XL, No. 3, July (1990)
141 142 143

140

NKZ 18:473, letter #782, August 22, 1933. TKC 1:197.

Kopf, pp. 7374, 84, 95ff. Heisig, Philosophers of Nothingness (2001), p. 4. *Kopf, Gereon (2004) Between Identity and Difference: Three Ways of Reading Nishidas Nondualism. Japanese Journal of Religious Studies (Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture) 31/1:73103. *Heisig, James (2001) Philosophers of Nothingness. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.

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*Heideggers standpoint is merely predicative and expressive, lacking genuine subjectiveg and practical interest.144 *Heideggers Being provides no opportunity for the self to know itself through action,145 because Heideggers Being is fatally separated from the self.146 *Heideggerian phenomenology can only see the historical activity of selfrealization from the outside.147 *Heidegger as a phenomenologist fatally prioritizes epistemology over metaphysics, and fatally posits a trans-temporal Logos of Being grounded in a motionless Greek metaphysics.148 *Heidegger, by following Dilthey, reduces the historical world to an object of cognition and consequently fails to recognize concrete, dialectical action.149 *Heideggers philosophy only focuses on the subjectivee and temporal, and consequently lacks an objective and spatial dimension.150
NKZ 6:165, from The Self-realizational Determination of Nothingness (1932): Heideggers understanding (ryo kai []) can comprehend a sort of active determination (ko iteki gentei []), but it is an action that that has lost self-realization. His world of understanding is merely a world of possibility and cannot generate the present. It is a world of the mere predicative aspect of self-determination. NKZ 6:168, from The Self-realizational Determination of Nothingness (1932): Heideggers Being may be similar to that which precedes the opposition of subject and object (shukaku tairitsu izen no mono []), but Heideggers Being does not see the self itself factually. His understanding (ryo kai []) is an imperfect self-realization, and is merely action wherein, so to speak, expression has lost the self (jiko []). The true self is not merely what understands itself, but must know itself factually through action. NKZ 6:172173, from The Self-realizational Determination of Nothingness (1932): [T]he basis (kontei []) of knowledge [must be found] in cogito ergo sum [which means] the selfdetermination of the expressive self [and correspondingly] the self-realization of Absolute Nothingness. It is not like Heideggers Being, which merely expresses and understands (ryo kai []) the self itself, [but fails to] see (miru []) the self itself through action. I am not what is situated there (soko ni), but I am what resides here (koko ni). NKZ 6:179, from The Self-realizational Determination of Nothingness (1932): Hermeneutical phenomenology, which sees the self from Being, may be scientic, but it is not philosophical. It cannot discard the phenomenological standpointwhichsees (miru []) the standpoint of the self-realization of the active self from the outside. Heideggers standpoint, which sees the self-determinative fact of understanding [has this problem].
148 NKZ 7:79; Dilworths translation, p. 40, from Basic Problems of Philosophy: The Active World (1933). 149 NKZ 7:179180, Dilworths translation, pp. 9495, from Basic Problems of Philosophy: The Active World (1933): [M]etaphysical problems are prior to epistemological questions. The opposition between subject and object (shukaku no tairitsu []) already implies a standpoint which transcends that opposition. Thusit is necessary to return again to the standpoint of Logos and to clarify the logical structure of true Being. This in turn requires a return to Greek philosophy. Heideggers Existenz-philosophie has such a purpose. But needless to say, the reality of modern physical science cannot be grounded in terms of Greek metaphysics. That which moves and acts in time cannot be included within reality taken as trans-temporal Logos. Even though Heideggers idea of existence is historical, it is without movement or action and consequently his concept of time does not avoid being one of potential time. 150 147 146 145 144

NKZ 11:173, from Regarding the Philosophy of Descartes [] (1944): [Following recent Western philosophical trends,] our country [of Japan] became completely epistemological. Phenomenologyis unable to avoid intellectualism (chishikironteki [ ]). Even Heideggers ontology cannot transcend the standpoint of the subjectivee self. [Inquiry must

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Thus Nishida joined several Japanese voices151 in criticizing Heideggers failure to demonstrate sufcient sensitivity to the socio-historical dimension. Nishida was a in agreement with Tanabes 1933 claim that Heideggers emphasis on theor resulted in a powerlessness to genuinely establishthe foundations for a metaphysics of the nation-state.152 Nishida was in agreement with Tetsuro Watsujis 1935 claim that Heideggers emphasis on time prevented a recognition of the spatio-social dimension that is etymologically revealed in the East-Asian tradition as a betweenness (aidagara/GEN-hei [])153 constituting human beings (nin-GEN []), who not only live in the temporal (son []) but also the spatial (zai []) dimension of existence (son-zai []).154 Nishida was in agreement with Kiyoshi Miki, who after becoming disillusioned with Heidegger due to Heideggers close afliation with National Socialism, felt that Heideggerian philosophy cannot be contemporary because its notion of Dasein remains in the standpoint of individual subjective life without any social aspect, and that this tendency was maximally manifest in an escapism into the philosophy of art after Heideggers unsuccessful attempts to act as the philosophical spokesperson for the Nazi party.155 For Nishida, it could be said that all of the ways Heidegger fails to deal with the concreteness of socio-historical activity, are due to an insufcient recognition of Gods immanence in the world.

Footnote 150 continued proceed] from subjectivee to objectivee I have come to a dead end within recent subjectiviste philosophy, and I believe we face a time wherein we must rethink [philosophy] at its basis (kontei []). The historical world must not only be thoroughly temporal, but also thoroughly spatial.
151 In addition to the voices of Tanabe, Watsuji, and Miki, Takizawas colleague To ru Suzuki, himself deeply inuenced by phenomenology, criticized even the later Heideggers account of Being and beings for not being logical, objectivee, or factual (sachlich) []. Rather, for Suzuki, Heidegger is one-sided by being merely intuitive [], and thereby does not even provide an opportunity for the irreversibility [] whereby nite and individual subjective intuition is irreversibly dependent upon the logical, objective, and factual. Shibata, The World of Katsumi Takizawa: Immanuel, p. 82. * Shibata, Shu [] (2001) The World of Katsumi Takizawa: Immanuel [: ]. Tokyo: Shunju nsha [].

Williams, pp. 182183. Tanabes article on Heidegger, Philosophy of Crisis, or a Crisis of Philosophy?, appeared in a three-part series printed in the Asahi Newspaper in early Autumn of 1933. Tanabe had recently issued a similar critique of Nishidas philosophy in May, 1930, in the article, Looking Up to Nishidas Teachings.. Note that the standard reading for [] is aidagara. I have included the unconventional reading gen-hei set off by quotes, with the gen underlined and capitalized, in order to highlight its connection to ningen [].
153

152

In his 1935 work Climate, Watsuji himself follows a Heideggerian approach by etymologically explaining the philosophical roots of Japanese culture, excavating not only a temporal continuation (son []) but also a spatial locatedness (zai []) in East-Asian existence (sonzai []). The very title of Watsujis book, Climate (fu do [])literally, a compound constituted by the elemental words wind (kaze, fu - []) and earth (tsuchi, -do [])implies in its original Chinese-Japanese meaning, both the natural physical environment and the human social environment as conditioned by the surrounding natural physical environment.
155

154

Yuasa in Parkes, pp. 160, 162.

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4.5 God prevents Nihilism Evidently, for Nishida, a recognition of God prevents Nihilism. Indeed, in his private 1933 criticism of Heideggers failure to recognize what is indispensable and decisive, namely, God, Nishida explained: Heideggerfocuses only on such themes as Angst and death.156 In the same year, Nishida repeated this criticism indirectly in print, stating: In this worldwhich both nourishes and kills us, we can both be conceived of as thrown as Heidegger says, and can also be conceived of as projected (kikakuteki []). In this world, our bodies (shintai []) can be conceived of as individuals (kobutsu []) which both determine themselves and which stand in a relationship of mutual determination with the outside world (gaikai []).157 It appears that Nishida considered Heideggers view to be one-sided, focusing only on Angst, death, and thrownness, without acknowledging the well-ordered (kikakuteki []) side of human existence wherein the solidifying process of determination (gentei []) takes place. ge Tanabe, who, in his 1948 edition Nishidas view parallels the view of his prote copy of What is Metaphysics?, wrote extensive marginalia claiming that Heideggers conception of Nothing (das Nichts) is a mere negation of being and a nihilistic Nothing (nihilistisches Nichts). Parkes notes that Tanabes assessment is ironic given that Heidegger himself had protested the nihilistic misinterpretation of his work which was prevalent in Europe at the time.158 Indeed, despite the fact that Kyoto School leaders Tanabe and Nishida themselves considered Heideggers thought nihilistic, a further irony is that Heidegger himself represents modern Japanese thinkers as eschewing the nihilistic misinterpretation of Heideggerian philosophy. The Japanese interlocutor in Heideggers A Dialogue on Language equates the Heideggerian Nothing (das Nichts) with East-Asian Emptiness, stating: For this reason we in Japan understood at once your lecture What is Metaphysics?We marvel to this day how the Europeans could lapse into interpreting as nihilistic the Nothing of which you speak in the lecture. To us, emptiness is the loftiest name for what you mean to say with the word Being159 On the other hand, Karl Barth, who became Takizawas teacher as Nishida had requested, and who was himself a critic of Heidegger, was sensitive enough to
156 Takizawa repeats this statement three times, in TKC 1:441, TKC 2:5212, and Inquiring of Religion (1976), p. 87, (the last source being reprinted in Sakaguchis Katsumi Takizawa Timline p. 164).

NKZ 7:118; Dilworth, p. 60. Basic Problems of Philosophy: The Active World (1933). Nishida here refers, respectively, to Heidegggers original German Geworfenheit and Entwurf.
158 159

157

Parkes in May, p. 115, footnote 83.

Heidegger, On the Way to Language, p. 19. The original translation nothingness has been replaced in order to harmonize with the term Nothingness, selected in this study to represent Heideggers account of das Nichts.

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Heideggers real intentions in order to avoid this nihilistic misinterpretation, as Barth states: Heidegger is not and never was a Nihilist. His statement that man is the locum tenens [place holder] for Nothing can be interpreted positively160 [F]or him Nothing is not a dreadful, horrible, dark abyss but something fruitful and salutary and radiant.161 In Barths own examination of the motif of Nothingwhich he himself termed Nihility (das Nichtige)Barth wrote an extensive commentary on Heideggers thought in comparison with several other relevant philosophers, especially JeanPaul Sartre. The gist of Barths conclusion is that Heidegger, on the one hand, rightly increases awareness of the Angst and despair constituting Nihility, but on the other hand, due to an inability to discern clearly the reality of God, comes fatally close to conating this Nihility with the good which might provide hope and a solution to the problem.162 The criticisms of Barth and Nishida are evidently in agreement by explaining the reality of God as the solution to Angst and despair. Ironically, although Nishida practically levels the charge of Nihilism against Heidegger, Nishida himself framed his own thought in radically negativistic terms such as Nothingness, self-negation, and the dialectics of death. Indeed, Nishida stated that the beginning of philosophy is not Aristotles wonder, but rather the deep sorrow (hiai []) of life.163 Nevertheless, Nishidas criticism of Heidegger and his corresponding promotion of Barthian theology, which stresses the power of joy and humor, suggest that Nishida was seeking after a more positive formulation. The stress on radiant life and overowing joy which is to be found in Takizawas mature thought, can be seen as directly addressing this quest of Nishida, as Tamotsu Maeda writes: In his photographs, Nishida forms his lips into a straight line as he looks seriously into the camera. What is striking about Takizawas photographs is his smile. At the base of Nishidas philosophy is sorrow. For Takizawa, doing philosophy is to feel a blessing in the existence of things.164 On the other hand, even if Nishida never fully explored the themes of joy and lifetransformation in the midst of worldly frustrations, it is nevertheless possible to discern the trajectory of a more robust response to Nihilism in his thought. Evidently, for Nishida, on the one hand, the trans-historical and necessary character of God suggests that God is not overcome by the Angst and despair constituting the vicissitudes of worldly life, and on the other hand, Gods immanence suggests that human beings can nd solace from these causes of Nihilism and renewed
CD III 3, p. 339. *CD = Barth, Karl (1963) Church Dogmatics. English ed. of Kirchliche Dogmatik, Ed. G. W. Bromiley & T. F. Torrance. T. & T. Clark: Edinburgh.
161 162 163 164 160

CD III 3, p. 347. CD III 3, pp. 340, 345, 347. NKZ 6:26, from []. From the Katsumi Takizawa Association webpage: www.takizawakatsumi.com.

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life-direction even within this world, by recognizing the reality of God as unshifting and dependable. 4.6 The reality of God is well-attested to by Christian thinkers Nishidas colleague Kiyoshi Miki characterized Heidegger as originally Christian and considered Heideggers eschatological account of human beings as Dasein to be following the trajectory set by the Christian thinkers Augustine, Pascal, and Kierkegaard.165 Reecting back on early Christian inspirations of his work, Heidegger himself called the Bible the Book of books, and credited his discovery of hermeneutics to his theological studies, stating that Without this theological background, I should never have come upon the path of thinking.166 Nishida himself noted Heideggers debt to Christian thought, and appears to have been deeply interested in this connection. As early as 1921, in a letter to the phenomenologist Tokuryu Yamauchi, who himself would become a Heidegger scholar, Nishida appears to indicate such an interest when he wrote of Heideggers connection to the Christian thinker, Duns Scotus, stating: About Heidegger, I know that he wrote his dissertation on Duns Scotus, but I havent read it. I did take note of it because I felt that we may still learn from Duns Scotus.167 By 1933, Nishida was clearly disappointed in Heidegger for not paying proper attention to the Divinity constituting the apex of Christian thought. Nishidas disappointment is clear in his statement of the same year, that although Heideggerfocuses on such themes as Angst and deathand often relies upon Pascal and Kierkegaard, he nevertheless does not recognize what is indispensable and decisive, namely, God.168 Thus for Nishida, Heideggers failure to recognize the reality of God, was tantamount to a failure to discern the greatest contribution of Christian thought. Heidegger claimed that Our dialogue speaks out of a thinking respect of the past,169 and that the openness required for inquiry and dialogue could avoid mere noncommittal disinterest by paying heed to the doctrines of past thinkers, and always let them, too, take part in our dialogue.170 In decisive points of this dialogue with the past, much to Nishidas chagrin, it appears that Heidegger had primarily Greek and not Christian thinkers, in mind. In contrast, Nishida, even in his rst major work of 1911, explicitly engaged and afrmed Christian thinkers such as Augustine, Dionysius the Areopagite, Duns
165 166 167

Yuasa in Parkes, p. 160. Heidegger, On the Way to Language (1959), pp. 910.

NKZ 18:23940; letter #302; November 28, 1921. Quoted in Yusa p. 178, footnote 26. Heideggers dissertation: Duns Scotus Doctrine of Categories and the Theory of Meaning (cf Heideggers On the Way to Language, p. 6).
168

This From three statements made by Takizawa, found in TKC 1:441, TKC 2:5212, and Inquiring of Religion (1976), p. 87, (the last source being reprinted in Sakaguchis Katsumi Takizawa Timline p. 164). Heidegger, ibid, p. 34. Heidegger, ibid, p. 30.

169 170

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Scotus, Pascal, Eckhart, and Cusanus.171 Nishida was not alone among his Japanese associates in his fascination with Christian thought. Takizawa and Kiyoshi Miki172 were both positively stimulated by Blaise Pascal, thus following Nishida, who was particularly fascinated with Pascals account of each human being as a thinking reed (kangaeru ashi [])173 which stands in a dynamic relationship of continuity and discontinuity with God. The enthusiasm of Japanese thinkers for Kierkegaard was even greater, evidenced in studies by Miki,174 Hajime Tanabe,175 Tetsuro Watsuji,176 and even Keiji Nishitani,177 thus following Nishida, who confessed that he was being moved by Kierkegaard.178 Even Karl Barth in his early theology exhibited a deep debt to Kierkegaardian thought. For Christian thinkers such as Duns Scotus, Pascal, or Kierkegaard, the reality of Godwhich Nishida called indispensable and decisivewas at the apex of their thought, but the same could not be said for Heidegger.

5 Takizawas own criticism of Heidegger Although Nishidas negative assessment of Heidegger discouraged Nishidas student Katsumi Takizawa from considering Heideggerian philosophy in great depth, Takizawa continually revisited Heideggerian thought throughout his career.179 In particular, Takizawas debate throughout the decade of the 1960s
171 All of these theologians appear explicitly in Nishidas rst major publication in 1911, An Inquiry into the Good. 172 173 174

Yuasa in Parkes, p. 159. From Mikis 1926 []. NKZ 1:117. From An Inquiry into the Good, 1911.

Miki in MKZ 10:220228 []. *Miki, Kiyoshi (1968) The Complete Works of Kiyoshi Miki [] (abbreviated MKZ). Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten []. Tanabe in THZ 11:607617 [], note that Tanabe pays special attention to Kierkegaard also in his book Philosophy as Metanoetics [] (THZ 9).
175 176 177

Piovesana, pp. 132, 205.

NKC 8. *NKC = Nishitani, Keiji (1995) The Collected Works of Keiji Nishitani [] (abbreviated NKC). Tokyo: So bunsha [].
178 These letters of February 1940 appear in NKZ 19:100101: February 7 to Mutai, letter #1410; February 9 to Hisamatsu, letter #1411; February 12 to Yanagida, letter #1414. 179 Even before his rst meeting with Nishida in October 1933, the young Takizawa was already very familiar with Heideggerian thought. Heidegger featured prominently in Takizawas 1931 graduation thesis, and Takizawa completed an essay on Heidegger in September 1933, just before meeting with Nishida. In his rst critique of Barth in 1935 and also in his rst critique of Nishida in 1936, Takizawa engaged Heideggers philosophy. Takizawa also touched on the problem of technology, which was of great interest to the later Heidegger. In his 1974 The Tannisho and the Contemporary World, Takizawa writes that, according to modern socialism (shiminshugi []): From the beginning, human beings construct themselves as subjectsx, relating themselves together for the purpose of using other natural entities (shizen no mono []). In the end, Takizawa credits Marx as having seen most clearly the social implications of technology (p. 174; cf also Forum of Ideas [] (2002) vol. 14, Heidegger, Shinran, Katsumi Takizawa, by Tetsunari Fukui, pp. 2028). * Fukui, Tetsunari (2002) Heidegger, Shinran, Katsumi Takizawa, Shiso no Hiroba (Forum of Ideas) [], vol. 14, pp. 2028.

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with Seiichi Yagi, the student of the Heideggerian Rudolf Bultmann, brought Takizawa into vigorous interaction with Heideggers philosophy. In 1965, Takizawa even dialogued with Heidegger in person, in Germany.180 Takizawa defended Heidegger against the criticismas leveled by Tanabe, Miki, Watsuji, and Nishidathat Heideggerian philosophy is a mere individualism with no appreciation of social concerns. As early as 1933, Takizawa argued that Heideggers world of tools is inherently connected to society. Takizawa argued further that although the Heideggerian advocation to cast off the control of the world (sekai no shihai wo dassuru []) may appear to promote individualism, Heidegger intends that even the world of economics and politics should become a problem for which we have care (Grn: Besorgen, Jpn: koryo []) and concern (Grn: Fu rsorge, Jpn: hairyo []).181 On the other hand, Takizawa claimed that the origin and basis (kontei []) of the death by which we attain absolute responsibility, is not clear in Heidegger. It is this lack of clarity that easily leads to the misinterpretation that Heideggers casting off the control of the world entails individualism. Takizawa noted that Heideggers failure to give an account of the origin and basis of things may be due to Heideggers commitment to phenomenology, according to which the task of philosophy is to clarify appearances rather than to explain the origin and basis of appearances. Following Nishida, Takizawa stressed an all-encompassing standpoint, enabled by the spatial dimension of time which Heidegger did not clearly recognize, as Takizawa stated: [T]here must be a spatial determination at the basis of time which encompasses all things. To borrow Heideggers terminology, there must be a World of worlds.182 The decit in Heidegger is appropriately amended, according to Takizawa, through a full recognition of the Absolute Nothingness which is the origin and basis of all things, as Takizawa states: The absolute Fact (jijitsu []) itself, of the true Moment of absolute death and-yet life is formed for the rst time as a self-realizational determination of what Professor Nishida calls Absolute Nothingness, which means seeing the Absolute Other in the self, and seeing the self in the Absolute Other. Nishida claims that philosophy begins from the self-reection (jisei []) of prescriptive183 (to iteki []) consciousness itself.184 Although Takizawas characterization of the ultimate origin and basis of all things in Kierkegaardian terms as the true Moment evidences a Kierkegaardian inspiration shared with both Heidegger and Nishida, for Takizawa, Heidegger had
180 181 182 183

Sakaguchi, p. 148. TKC 1:324325, from Dasein and the Mission and Limitations of Philosophy in Heidegger (1933). TKC 1:328.

I translate Takizawas term here, to iteki ishiki [], as prescriptive consciousness. The term to i [] is commonly used to translate German Sollen or ought.
184

TKC 1:328.

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failed where Nishida had succeeded, to recognize this Moment as the ultimate reality of God. Takizawas critique of Heidegger was sharpened after studying in 1934 with Barth, who himself leveled an extensive critique against Heidegger. Just as Takizawa in 1933 criticized Heideggers lack of clarity regarding the origin and basis of death and time, Barth criticized Heideggers lack of clarity regarding Nihility, noting that Heidegger as early as 1929 accepted the Hegelian identication of nothing with being.185 Heidegger correspondingly altered the conventional notion of Nothing according to which ex nihilo nihil t [from nothing, nothing emerges], and introduced as substitute, a new notion of Nothing as ex nihilo ens qua ens t [from Nothing, Being emerges as Being].186 Barth claimed that the resulting ambiguity of Heideggers Nothing makes Nothing play the roles of both God and evil. In particular, according to Barth, Heideggers Nothing is a mythological fabrication introduced to stand in, rather poorly, for the functions that only God can successfully perform, as Barth states: In Heidegger Nothing is actually the pseudonym which conceals the Godhead We have seen that it is the whence and whither of transcendence, the basis and pure content of human science. We have seen that pure Being and pure Nothing are one and the same, and that ex nihilo omne ens qua ens t. God is not dead, buta substitute is provided and therefore He is suppressed In Heideggers thought, Nothing seems lacking in none of the essential features of the conventional gure of God (aseity, uniqueness, omnipotence, innity etc.)187 On the other hand, the fact that Heideggers Nothing also assumes the role of the dark side of human existence obfuscates the terrible sting of genuine Nihility, which is to say, the corruption and ruin of evil. Barth states: The Nothing of Heideggeris not real Nihility, but is comparatively innocuous as compared with it. The concept of real Nihility is in no sense ambivalent. The sickness unto death in which man is confronted by real Nihility [manifests itself rather in]relativity, inferiority, subjugation and vitiation, andin spite of its nature, it can be subordinated to the service of Being [by way of the redirective Providence of God] [If Heidegger recognized this about Nihility, he] could not have conceived of its identication with Being He would have realized that to [equate Nihility with Being] is to proclaim the demonic to be the principle of all being and existence.188 Barth concludes that despite Heideggers efforts to address from a fresh perspective the errors of the previous generation, which is to say, the errors of Modernism,
185 186 187 188

CD III, 3, p. 347. CD III, 3, p. 335. CD III, 3, pp. 343344. CD III, 3, p. 348.

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Heidegger nevertheless falls prey to these very errors by making the word of nite, fallible human beings central and by obscuring the Word of the innite, infallible God, who graciously shares light to those who are humble enough to discern it. Classifying Heidegger with Sartre and other secularist existentialists as representing a stance which absolutizes the nite human subject, Barth thus concludes: The one thing that has not been affected, let alone broken, by the upheaval of the ageand it cannot be effected by purely secular upheavalsis the selfreliant assurance of the ego cogito [i.e. the I think] as the presupposition of their whole systems. From the standpoint of the ego cogito true Nihility cannot be discerned189 Just after studying with Barth, Takizawa himself wrote a brief criticism of Heidegger in 1936, claiming similarly, in language reminiscent of Kiyoshi Mikis philosophy: In the case of the incarnation of the [divine] Logosthe Word of Godan [improper] emphasis on [human] ethos is most especially impermissible. [Such an improper emphasis] will lead to Heideggerian existentialism and a religious-human reduction of eschatology (Grn: religio s-menschliche Verku rzung der Eschatologie, Jpn: shu kyo teki ningenteki waisho ka [ ]) in the manner of Rudolf Bultmann (18841976). There is nothing more dangerous in the world than a mistaken epistemological or vague reduction.190 In 1972, Takizawa reafrmed his early criticisms of Heidegger, but noted that Heideggers so-called turn (Grn: die Kehre, Jpn: tenkai []) exempted later Heideggerian philosophy from some points of the early criticisms, particularly, the ve individualism.191 Barth, on the other charge that Heideggerian philosophy is a na hand, saw a strong continuity between the early and the later Heidegger, and took Heideggers post-turn path of older philosophy, gnosticism, and mysticism, the dimension of the Holy, and purported afrmation of Being (das Lichten des Seins), all to be mere a mere restatement of Heideggers ultimate conation of God and evil.192 Given Takizawas similar criticism of Nishida and Zenthat such standpoints entail ambiguities resulting in a conation of good with evil, as well as a conation of the Absolute with the relativeTakizawa would probably agree with Barth regarding Heideggers treatment of God and evil. Takizawa thought that the greatest contribution of Barthian theology was a recognition that contingent phenomena are irreversibly dependent upon God for existence, moral direction, and soteriological transformation. It was from this
189 190

CD III, 3, p. 346.

Takizawa, Basic Problems of Nishida Philosophy, p. 50. *(2004) Basic Problems of Nishida Philosophy []. (ed. & commentary by Takayoshi Kobayashi []). Tokyo: Kobayashi Bunko []. [First published by To ko shoin [] in 1936), published again in the Collected Works of Katsumi Takizawa, 1972.
191 192

TKC 1:333. CD III, 3, p. 348.

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standpoint of the irreversibility of the Divine-creaturely relation that Takizawa would level his own critique of Nishida in 1936. Japanese commentators of Nishida such as To ru Suzuki and D. T. Suzukis student, the Zen Buddhist monk Ryo min Akizuki, were convinced that Nishidas nal formulation of the relationship between the Absolute and contingent phenomena as an inverse-response (gyakutaio []) in 1945 was Nishidas direct response to Takizawas Barthian-inspired critique of 1936.193 Indeed, the notion of inverse-response recognizes that there are ways in which contingent phenomena are irreversibly dependent upon the Absolute. In Nishidas words after Takizawas critique, human beings are the image of God and not vice versa.194 It can be said that Takizawas afrmation of this irreversibility (fukagyakusei []) in the Divinecreaturely relationship is the telos of the trajectory constituting Nishidas 1933 criticism that Heideggerian philosophy fatally lacks God. The post-turn Heidegger himself can also be said to have sensed the impetus generating Takizawas afrmation of irreversibility, in that the later Heidegger subordinated human beings to Being, in contrast to the early Heideggers converse subordination of Being to Dasein, which is to say, to nite human existence.195

Consider the conclusions of Ryo min Akizuki, To ru Suzuki, and Tamotsu Maeda: ~Ryo min Akizuki writes in: When the Dharma Appears Clearly (1990) pp. 8889: I have formerly stated that the logic of inverse correspondence of Professor Nishidas later years can be seen as Nishidas response to Professor Takizawas critique of Nishidas monism. Akizuki, 1990, pp. 8889 *(1990). When the Dharma Appears Clearly: The Religio-Philosophical Dialogue between Buddhism and Christianity [:]. Tokyo: Seidosha []. Absolute Nothingness and Topos: Suzuki Zen and Nishida Philosophy, 1996, p. 360: Due to Mutais essay [about inverse-response], I arrived at the core of the logic of Nishida Philosophy, [which is the notion of inverse-response]. I believe this [core] was the response of Nishida himself to the simple and frank query of Takizawa as Nishidas disciple. Takizawas query, which I touched upon beforehand, was whether it is accurate to express this kind of movement of dialectical reality monistically, [as the self-determination of the dialectical universal]. (Akizuki is quoting from page 4647 of Takizawas Basic Problems of Nishida Philosophy.) *(1996) Absolute Nothingness and Topos: Suzuki Zen and Nishida Philosophy [: ]. Tokyo: Seidosha []. ~To ru Suzuki writes in his commentary on Takizawa TKC 5 in the appendix, p. 7: [T]he later Nishida Philosophy may be said to have provided an answer to Takizawas criticism. Therefore, Takizawas elucidation and inquiry in Basic Problems of Nishida Philosophyrefers to the early and middle Nishida and not the later. ~Tamotsu Maeda writes on the Takizawa Association Webpage (www.takizawakatsumi.com): it can be said that Nishida responded to the criticisms of Takizawa through his religious work Topological Logic and the Religious Worldview.
194 NKZ 19:46, letter #1281, September 21, 1938, to Katsumi Takizawa. Cf also NKZ 11:372, from Topological Logic and the Religious Worldview (1945). 195

193

Inwood, pp. 7273.

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