Nishida Kitaro

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Nishida Kitaro


Born Apr. 19, 1870, near Kanazawa; died July 7, 1945, in Kamakura. Japanese idealist philosopher. Founder of the Kyoto, or Nishida-Tanabe, school of philosophy. Professor at the University of Kyoto (1913–28).

Nishida developed his philosophical system in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s. His most important works of this period include A Self-conscious System of the Universal (1929), Determination of Nonbeing in Self-consciousness (1931), and The Fundamental Question in Philosophy (1933). Nishida sought to demonstrate the principal difference between Eastern and Western philosophy. He saw the uniqueness of Eastern culture in its inherent idea of nonbeing. Proceeding from the standpoint of Zen Buddhism, he sought to interpret nonbeing as a concept of an all-encompassing universe that, “being everything, is itself nothing,” “acts without one who acts,” and “defines without one who defines.”

Despite Nishida’s attempt to treat his philosophy as “genuinely Eastern” and as an outgrowth of Buddhist teachings, his views are essentially quite similar to Western European idealist philosophy, particularly existentialism. According to Nishida’s fundamental philosophical concept, which he called anti-intellectual, true being is attained intuitively, as the result of a particular “way of viewing things,” or a “way of perceiving oneself,” that supposedly makes it possible to overcome the opposition of the objective and the subjective.

Nishida viewed social development as a result of the interaction of the universal—nonbeing—and the particular—human individuals—the genuine relationship of which is expressed in the communication between “I” and “Thou.”


Zenshu [Complete Works], vols. 1–18. Tokyo, 1947–53.


Kozlovskii, Iu. B. “Kontseptsiia vostochnoi kul’tury Nisida Kitaro.” Vestnik istorii mirovoi kul’tury, 1961, no. 2.
Kozlovskii, Iu. B. “Rasprostranenie ekzistentsializma v Iaponii.” In Sovremennyi ekzistentsializm. Moscow, 1966.
Tosaka, Jun. Senshu, Dairokukan [Selected Works], 6th ed. Tokyo, 1948.
Koyama, Iwao. Nishida Tetsugaku [Philosophy of Nishida]. Tokyo, 1955.
Nagao, Michitaka. Nishida Tetsugaku no Kaishaku [Commentaries on the Philosophy of Nishida]. Tokyo, 1960.


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12) Kitaro Nishida, Nishida kitaro zenshu (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1988), 8:506.
In this book, Robert Carter, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Trent University in Canada, introduces the works of four major Japanese philosophers: Nishida Kitaro, Tanabe Hajime, Nishitani Keiji, and Watsuji Tetsuro.
In Chapter one, Carter addresses the thoughts of Nishida Kitaro.
Bashoteki Ronri to Shukyoteki Sekaikan (The Logic of the Place of Nothingness and the Religious World View) " in Nishida Kitaro Zenshu 11 (The Complete Works of Kitaro Nishida Vol.
3) Nishida Kitaro was a prominent Japanese philosopher and founder of what has been called the Kyoto School of philosophy based on Buddhism.
His influential writings fluidly moved from the ideas of thinkers such as Foucault--who was enormously popular in Japanese intellectual circles by 1970--to those of the Kyoto School philosopher Nishida Kitaro, whose reflections on the notions of self and place resonated profoundly for Lee, a Korean-born artist living in Japan, where frequent discrimination against Koreans served as a troubling reminder of an unresolved history of colonization.
of Nottingham, UK) describes his intellectual development, primarily through the lens of his official autobiography, examining the influence of Nishida Kitaro and Europeans such as Martin Heidegger, Blaise Pascal, and Soren Kierkegaard, as well as the shifts in his thinking in his later life, which she argues represent more continuity than discontinuity.
In Nishida Kitaro Zenshu 9 (The Complete Works of Kitaro Nishida Vol.
12) Kitaro Nishida, "Zettai Mujunteki Jikodoitsu (Absolutely Contradictory Self-identity)" in Nishida Kitaro Zenshu 9 (The Complete Works of Kitaro Nishida Vol.
places the nationalist proclamations by Japanese philosopher Nishida Kitaro (1870-1945) into historical and political context, before turning to a broad account of his philosophy of history.
This essay is an attempt to understand better the meaning of these ideas of nothingness, absolute nothingness, and sunyata as used by key Kyoto-school philosophers (specifically Nishida Kitaro, Nishitani Keiji, and Abe Masao) by focusing upon the work of Abe, a leading contemporary member of the school, and by tracing the history of the idea of sunyata from its earliest uses in Buddhism through the present-day Kyoto-school philosophers.
The logic of nothingness; a study of Nishida Kitaro.